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Orthopedics. 2017 Sep 1;40(5):e820-e824. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20170619-01. Epub 2017 Jun 30.

Factors Influencing Orthopedic Surgery Residents' Choice of Subspecialty Fellowship.


In the setting of increasing student debt, a rapidly changing health care system, and growing transparency in the age of outcome reporting, residents have many factors to consider when determining which fellowship to pursue. An institutional review board-approved link to an online survey was emailed to orthopedic surgery trainees across the United States. Demographics were collected, and 14 fellowship influences were assessed using a Likert scale. A total of 360 responses were received. Of the respondents, 85.5% (n=308) were male and 14.5% (n=52) were female. Responses were received from every region of the United States and from every postgraduate year. Respondents represented the gamut of relationship status and indebtedness. Respondents were interested in all of the current major subspecialties. Pursuit of an intellectually stimulating subspecialty had the highest average Likert score (3.38), followed by variety of cases (3.26). The lowest scores were for residency program with a strong tradition of placing into a particular subspecialty (2.08) and potential to conduct research in that subspecialty (2.09). Marital status, number of children, and level of debt did not significantly affect the importance of factors in selecting a fellowship. Choice of subspecialty did influence the level of importance of various factors. Intellectual stimulation and a strong mentor were the most influential factors in the decision to pursue a given fellowship. Because fellowship is now the norm, it is important to understand the motives behind young orthopedic surgeons' career aspirations. [Orthopedics. 2017; 40(5):e820-e824.].

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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