Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you use monthly surveys? It would be easier to report the data weekly.

We need to continue with monthly surveys because we are comparing data to historical data collected with monthly surveys. Many residents report keeping track of their hours separately so that it is easier for them to complete monthly surveys.

Do you want sleep per day or sleep per week in the table on page 1 of the monthly survey?

We understand that your sleep may differ from day to day. Therefore we are asking for the sleep you obtained in the week. Please do your best to estimate the total sleep you obtained in that week.

The monthly survey is too long.

We know that you are very busy and appreciate your taking the time to answer these questions on work hours and health and safety outcomes on a monthly basis. We are constantly striving to improve the format of our survey so that it will be more efficient and require less time for you to complete.

How should I answer if my rotations are not monthly?

We realize that everyone has different rotation schedules and that they do not necessarily conform to a monthly schedule. We have therefore left the monthly survey open ended in asking for information on 4 unspecified weeks each month in order for you to provide information in a way that makes the most sense for you. Each month, it might be a little bit different, and we obviously miss some data for months that are longer than 4 weeks.

Many of you have vastly different schedules for each of the weeks of the month or you may be on vacation for a portion of the month. On questions that require averages, please do your best to average the data for the entire month.

I am doing a clinical research fellowship this year. Because I do not spend time with patients in a clinical setting, I don’t think I can contribute to your study.

You are an important part of our study population and your data are valuable even if you are not currently working clinical rotations.

I have two weeks of vacation this month. Is it still important for me to answer this month’s questionnaire?

Please complete the surveys each month, regardless of your work schedule. We need participation from individuals with a wide range of work schedules to conduct a thorough investigation of work hours and their impact on health and safety. Therefore, even if you are only taking classes, doing research or are on vacation, your participation is vital.

Do you want sleep per day or sleep per week in the table on the 1st page of the monthly survey?

We understand that your sleep may differ from day to day. Therefore we are asking for the total sleep you obtained in the week. Please do your best to estimate the total sleep you obtained in that week.

I don't have “proof” or an official report of my crash, because no damage was done to vehicles or people. I'm sorry if this means that the crash does not meet your criteria.

We are not looking for a particular type of crash. We are trying to obtain documentation on all types of crashes. If the crash is serious, please send us documentation in the form of an auto repair bill, a police report or record of an emergency room visit. If the crash is minor, perhaps send a picture of the dent in your bumper. If you have no outside documentation of the crash, please provide us with a detailed description of the crash.

What do you consider occupational exposures?

Occupational exposures in the survey refer to incidents that have the potential to cause direct harm to an individual. In the healthcare setting, the most common events are blood and body fluid exposures from needlesticks and sharps. Other incidents such as unprotected exposure to respiratory pathogens (e.g. Tuberculosis), and the development of new latex allergy would also be considered occupation related. While there is a certain amount of risk each time someone does surgery or cares for a patient with TB, we are limiting the definition of exposure to incidents where no protection is worn or the available protection is breeched such as a needle through a gloved hand. We encourage you to use your institution’s occupational health service anytime there is concern of exposure.

What do you mean by “significant” medical errors?

Medical errors are a frequent topic of feedback. In the survey we ask about "significant" medical errors that occur during patient care. In this context, "significant" refers to errors that lead to patient injury (e.g., an order for 100 fold overdose of a narcotic leading to respiratory arrest) or that had the potential to cause injury before being intercepted (e.g. prepping a patient for a thoracentesis on the wrong side before being corrected by attending). Mistakes are quite common in medical training and we appreciate your efforts to report these serious errors. The information you provide is kept confidential.

Are the answers I provide to you kept confidential?

We realize that confidentiality is very important and have taken steps to ensure the privacy of all the data collected. We use subject code numbers in place of your name in our database so that the information you enter remains confidential. When you send or fax documentation to us about a motor vehicle crash or occupational injury, it is stored in a locked file cabinet in a locked office. Additionally, we have been issued a Certificate of Confidentiality from the Centers for Disease Control that protects us from having to share these data with others, even if subpoenaed under a court of law.

Will any data collected about me in the survey be shared with my hospital?

No identifiable data collected through this survey will be shared with the hospital or any other non-study personnel.

Why doesn’t my auto-signin link work anymore?

To help with data security, the code in your link will expire periodically. If you have problems please email us at

What is the goal of the Web-Based Study of Resident Physicians?

Resident physicians work some of the most demanding schedules known. On our web-based study, we will collect information about the different schedules that residents work, how much sleep they get, what fatigue countermeasures they use, and how their health and safety may be impacted.
The baseline questionnaire also includes a sleep disorders screening questionnaire which will identify those individuals that are at high risk of having a sleep disorder. Because sleep disorders may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and motor vehicle crashes, our goal is to notify those at high risk so that may be evaluated and treated thereby improving the health and safety of residents.

Who is funding this research?

The research is funded by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

How will this study be conducted and what do I have to do if I want to participate?

The study surveys are completed online. A link to the online surveys will be sent directly to you via the email address that you use to register on our site.

Do I have to participate in the study?

No — participation in the study is totally voluntary.

What data will be collected during the study?

The study asks questions about your work schedule, health, sleep patterns, accidents, errors, injuries and quality of life.