Student Duty Hours

Authorizing Body: Curriculum Committee
Author: Lynda Misra D.O., FACP, M.Ed.
Date Issued: October 1, 2015
Last Update: June 25, 2018


Gaining experience in a wide range of clinical care situations requires a significant time commitment.  At the same time, an educational experience can be maximally learned and integrated into subsequent medical care when the learner is well rested and actively engaged in the educational process.  Finally, and above all, patient safety (as well as the safety of health care providers) is optimized in an atmosphere in which providers are sufficiently rested. OUWB's Duty Hours Policy is designed to optimally balance all these considerations, in order to ensure that medical student alertness is not significantly compromised.

Scope and Applicability:

All students of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine

Standard Practice Guideline:

In the clinical education programs, OUWB medical students will abide by the duty hours restrictions applied to residents, as defined by the Accreditation Committee for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

The basic duty hours rules are as follows:

  • Maximum Hours of Work per Week: 
    Duty Hours must be limited to 80 hours per week, averaged over a 4-week period, inclusive of all in-house call activities. 
    Requests for Duty Hour exceptions will not be considered.

  • Mandatory Time Free of Duty 
    Students must be scheduled for a minimum of one day free of duty every 7 days.

  • Maximum Duty Period Length 
    Duty periods of medical students must not exceed 24 hours in duration. 

  • Minimum Time Off Between Scheduled Duty Periods 
    Medical Students should have 10 hours – and must have 8 hours – free of duty between scheduled duty periods.

  • Maximum Frequency of In-House Night Float 
    Medical Students must not be scheduled for more than 6 consecutive nights of Night Float.


  • Clinical education programs and clerkships (i.e. Clerkship Directors) should include a statement about duty hours in syllabi and at orientation.

  • Medical students are expected to monitor their own duty hours and report when duty hours are violated.

  • Students who approach and/or exceeds duty hours, the student should take the initiative to inform the course/clerkship director and supervising physicians.

  • Students are expected to report duty hours on course/clerkship evaluations.

  • The school and clerkship directors will monitor duty hours periodically, identify clinical settings in which violations are more likely to occur and make adjustments to the clinical education program.

  • The curriculum committee should review duty hours policy and violations at least once annually.


Duty hours: Duty hours are defined as all clinical and academic activities related to clinical assignments; this applies to all electives and required clerkships.  This includes all scheduled clinical time, such as inpatient and outpatient clinical care, in-house call, short call, night float and day float, transfer of patient care, and administrative activities related to patient care such as completing medical records and ordering and reviewing diagnostic tests.

Hours spent on activities that are required by the curriculum, including assembly days, block lectures, Simulation Learning Institute activities, OSCEs and SHELF exams, are all considered a part of duty hours.

Duty hours do not include reading, studying, and academic preparation time, such as time spent away from the patient care unit preparing for presentations or journal club.