Nelson CS, Dell'Angela K, Jellish SW, Brown IE, Skaredoff M. Residents' performance before and after night call as evaluated by an indicator of creative thought. J Am Osteopath Assoc 1995;95(10):600. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.19184.108.40.2060.
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The effects of sleep deprivation on medical personnel have received much attention. This study evaluates the effects of sleep loss on divergent-thinking (creative or innovative) processes as measured by the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT). Anesthesia residents who had approximately 30 minutes sleep while being on-call were evaluated. These physicians had similar caffeine and nicotine consumption before and after the test. The results reported here demonstrate that postcall residents had TTCT scores that were appreciably below those scores of rested residents. Postcall verbal fluency was less among the on-call group than among the rested group (94.0 ± 9.7 vs 101.8 ± 9.8) as was figural originality (89.9 ± 22.1 vs 113.3 ± 20.3). These study results suggest that sleep deprivation affects divergent, or creative, thinking. Divergent-thinking processes are usually innovative and are used during complex problem-solving tasks. Further studies are needed on the effects of sleep deprivation. This information can then be used to help improve residents' working conditions and patient care.
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