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Pediatrics. 2009 Jan;123 Suppl 1:S44-9. doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-1578K.

Recently trained pediatric subspecialists: perspectives on training and scope of practice.

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  • 1Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0456, USA.



Little is known regarding the factors influencing the decision to pursue pediatric subspecialty fellowship training and the timing of when such a decision is made. In addition, there is no information regarding whether the general pediatrics training received in residency is perceived as valuable by subspecialists. This study was conducted to characterize the strengths and weaknesses of residency and fellowship training from the perspective of recently trained pediatric subspecialists and to assess their current and future career goals and intended scope of practice.


A random sample of 550 subspecialists whose initial application for pediatric subspecialty certification occurred between 2002 and 2003 (4-5 years out of training) and 550 subspecialists who applied for board certification between 2005 and 2006 (1-2 years out of training) received a structured questionnaire by mail. The survey focused on decision-making in selection of residency and fellowship programs, strength of residency training in preparation for clinical care provision, and scope of current practice.


The overall response rate was 77%. More than half (54%) of the recently trained subspecialists would have shortened either their pediatric residency or fellowship training if given the opportunity, and 7% were unsure. More than one third of the respondents made the decision to pursue subspecialty training before the start of residency (36% [n = 198]), whereas approximately half of them made this decision during the first (19% [n = 106]) or second (27% [n = 150]) year of residency.


Many subspecialists would have been interested in modifications to their pediatric residency and fellowship training programs, which may reflect changing patterns of professional activities or the preferences of a younger generation of subspecialists. Given that a substantial proportion of subspecialists decide to pursue subspecialty training before or early in residency, greater flexibility in configuring some residency experiences to meet their career goals would be feasible.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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