December 2018 Research Rounds

The Overnight Experience: A Deeper Look at Fatigue in the Medical Workplace

Dr. Ali Walzak

Ali Walzak

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Date: Wednesday, December 12, 2018*
*Please note this session is one week earlier than the usual timing of Rounds

Time: 12:00pm to 1:30pm (feel free to bring a bagged lunch)


  • DHCC 2267
  • IRC 305
  • RJH CA 120
  • NHSC 9-374
  • KGH 250



Given the 24/7 nature of medical care, and by extension, medical training, trainees and medical practitioners have long found ways to accept and possibly counter fatigue in the face of gruelling working conditions. For postgraduate trainees, duty work hour restrictions have been implemented in many regions across North America in an effort to reduce fatigue-related error; however, recent and conflicting data has suggested that limiting consecutive work hours may not actually impact resident wellness or patient safety in the ways once thought. Local data from studying Emergency Room physicians and nurses demonstrated that fatigue levels affected their EEG waveforms, however, whether that translates to detrimental patient outcomes remains unknown. Since efforts to reduce fatigue are both cost prohibitive and not feasible within the current training system, perhaps we can shift towards teaching strategies on how to manage fatigue in the clinical setting. One potential platform for this could be utilizing simulation to allow students and residents to practice critical thinking and judgment, while fatigued, in a safe environment.


Dr. Walzak currently practices as a General Internist in Victoria, where she attends on the Clinical Teaching Unit (CTU) and participates in outpatient care. Through her role as Director of the CTU and of the Clinical Skills Program at the Island Medical Program, she is involved in both undergraduate and post-graduate education. After completing a Masters of Science in Health Professions Education at the Massachusetts General Hospital, her research has focused on how to improve the transition between medical school and residency, specifically as it relates to being on-call.


The University of British Columbia Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME) to provide study credits for continuing medical education for physicians. This event is an Accredited Group Learning Activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and approved by UBC CPD. You may claim a maximum of 1.5 (x 10 sessions) hours (credits are automatically calculated). This Group Learning program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by UBC CPD for up to 1.5 (x 10 sessions) Mainpro+ credits. Each physician should claim only those credits he/she actually spent in the activity.

Accredited by UBC CPD