April 15, 2024

Columbus Post

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Generation clash in hospital – “42 hour week – you miss work” – news

Generation clash in hospital – “42 hour week – you miss work” – news

Many young doctors criticize the heavy workload. This leads to conflicts with the older generation.

Othmar Schöb is Professor of Visceral and Thoracic Surgery at the Hirschlanden Clinic – an excellent doctor. The 61-year-old works an 80-hour week and is one of the first at the hospital at 6am. He criticizes the younger generation's demand for a 42+4 hour week. “This is definitely not enough for our industry,” he says in the “Rundschau”.

This is what young doctors are demanding

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The Swiss Association of Assistant and Senior Physicians calls for 42+4 hours per week. This means: weekly target working hours for junior doctors is an average of 42 hours of service related to patient care. In addition, they are entitled to at least four hours of structured additional training per week, which also counts as working hours.

Schaap firmly believes that an elite athlete who wants to make it big also trains more than an amateur athlete. Currently junior doctors have 50 hours a week. Schoep thinks that's not enough. Even if young doctors want to work more, they have to be sent home more often.

“Experience doesn't come with riding a bike”

He gets support from an old college friend. Martin Meuli (68) was the director of surgery at the Zurich Children's Hospital. He says patients deserve better treatment. But to be truly comfortable, a surgeon needs a lot of experience in the operating room: “This experience doesn't come from walking or biking,” Meuli says.

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But the younger generation sees it differently: Laura Biondi (26) started working as an assistant doctor in surgery at Durgao Hospital two months ago. Your generation wants and needs to combine family and work: “Part-time work and work-life balance being an issue is the reality of today's generation. You have to find solutions or we will eventually run out of young people.

A third of students are considering a career change

Biondi is not alone in this assessment. According to a survey, a third of medical students are already considering a career change after their first practical experience. The reason: overtime, stress, unobserved rest periods and excessive administrative work.

The heavy workload at the hospital has become too much for her: two years ago, Rebecca Vermeer (32) started as an assistant doctor in the province of Ticino. Her days were long and the responsibility enormous: she was responsible for 12 critically ill patients in extreme cases. She left after five weeks. She was horrified by her superior's reaction at the time: “If I imagine a 42-hour week, I miss my job, and then they say I'm in the wrong place.”


Rebecca Vermeer (32) decided to quit her job as a physician assistant after five weeks.


According to NZZ survey Almost 40 per cent of junior doctors work more than 11 hours a day – an hour more than legally required. In the same survey, 80 percent said they made mistakes due to overwork or fatigue.

The great surgeon Othmar Schöb finally calls it a day after a 14-hour day. He had to convince his family again that he would come home later. In return, he can bring good news to the last patient's family. His ninth operation on this working day also went well.