Working night shifts can help supplement a lack of acute experience for junior doctors, say Sarah Cregan and colleagues
Since the implementation of the European Working Time Directive in the United Kingdom, NHS working patterns have changed considerably.1 Foundation doctors today may find themselves struggling to gain enough exposure to clinical practice as they are relatively protected by specific shift patterns.2 This may preclude them from taking part in out of hours emergency work, but it does at least guarantee them opportunities to attend protected teaching sessions.
The hospital at night team has become a familiar sight within many hospitals, although often the foundation doctor may not be present. This change occurred as a result of the original hospital at night pilot studies, which coincided with the directive's recommendations.3 It is perhaps not surprising then that when foundation doctors go on to become specialty trainees who are then exposed to night time work for the first time they feel inadequately equipped to handle emergency situations. This is compounded by