The impact of a night float system on operative experience in neurosurgery residency

Tyler T. Lazaro, Kalman A. Katlowitz, Patrick J. Karas, Visish M. Srinivasan, Ellen Walls, Gina Collier, Shaan M. Raza, Daniel J. Curry, Alexander E. Ropper, Alfonso Fuentes, Shankar P. Gopinath, Ganesh Rao, Akash J. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE Since the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) implemented duty-hour restrictions in 2003, many residency programs have adopted a night float system to comply with time constraints. However, some surgical subspecialities have been concerned that use of a night float system deprives residents of operative experience. In this study, the authors describe their training program’s transition to a night float system and its impact on resident operative experience. METHODS The authors conducted a single-program study of resident surgical case volume before and after implementing the night float system at 3 of their 5 hospitals from 2014 to 2020. The authors obtained surgical case numbers from the ACGME case log database. RESULTS Junior residents received a concentrated educational experience, whereas senior residents saw a significant decrease from 112 calls/year to 17. Logged cases significantly increased after implementation of the night float system (8846 vs 10,547, p = 0.04), whereas cases at non–night float hospitals remained the same. This increase was concurrent with an increase in hospital cases. This difference was mainly driven by senior resident cases (p = 0.010), as junior and chief residents did not show significant differences in logged cases (p > 0.40). Lead resident cases increased significantly after implementation of the night float system (6852 vs 8860, p = 0.04). When normalized for increased hospital cases, resident case increases were not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS Transitioning to a night float call system at the authors’ institution increased overall resident operative cases, particularly for lead resident surgeons. Based on the results of this study, the authors recommend the use of a night float call system to consolidate night calls, which increases junior resident–level educational opportunities and senior resident cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1123
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • education
  • neurosurgery residency
  • night float

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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