Decisions in the Dark: An Educational Intervention to Promote Reflection and Feedback on Night Float Rotations

J Gen Intern Med. 2020 Nov;35(11):3363-3367. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-05913-z. Epub 2020 Sep 1.


Background: Night float rotations, where residents admit patients to the hospital, are opportunities for practice-based learning. However, night float residents receive little feedback on their diagnostic and management reasoning, which limits learning.

Aim: Improve night float residents' practice-based learning skills through feedback solicitation and chart review with guided reflection.

Setting/participants: Second- and third-year internal medicine residents on a 1-month night float rotation between January and August 2017.

Program description: Residents performed chart review of a subset of patients they admitted during a night float rotation and completed reflection worksheets detailing patients' clinical courses. Residents solicited feedback regarding their initial management from day team attending physicians and senior residents.

Program evaluation: Sixty-eight of 82 (83%) eligible residents participated in this intervention. We evaluated 248 reflection worksheets using content analysis. Major themes that emerged from chart review included residents' identification of future clinical practice changes, evolution of differential diagnoses, recognition of clinical reasoning gaps, and evaluation of resident-provider interactions.

Discussion: Structured reflection and feedback during night float rotations is an opportunity to improve practice-based learning through lessons on disease progression, clinical reasoning, and communication.

Keywords: feedback; night float; reflection; residency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Medical Staff, Hospital
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling
  • Work Schedule Tolerance*