Number, nature & impact of incoming telephone calls on residents and their work during evening shifts

Mwl van Geffen*, K M van der Waaij, P M Stassen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Internal medicine residents are frequently interrupted by phone calls, which may compromise workflow, work quality and job satisfaction.

AIM: This study investigates the number, nature and impact of calls on residents and their work during evening shifts in the emergency department and ward.

METHODS: This prospective observational study compares measurements from direct observations with subjective data from questionnaires.

RESULTS: Residents received 26 resp. 30 (median) calls per shift in the emergency department and ward, with duration of 50 resp. 80 seconds. Residents perceived high burden and impact on quality of work and job satisfaction.

DISCUSSION & CONCLUSION: Frequent interruptions by phone calls were observed, which resulted in high burden. Our study raises the urgency for finding solutions and provides insights necessary for possible interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-11
Number of pages7
JournalAcute Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telephone

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