Relatively little is known about interest in pediatric pulmonology among pediatric residents. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to determine at this institution: 1) the level of pediatric resident interest in pursuing a pulmonary fellowship, 2) potential factors involved in development of such interest, 3) whether the presence of a pulmonary fellowship program affects such interest.
A questionnaire was distributed to all 52 pediatric residents at this institution in 1992 and to all 59 pediatric residents and 14 combined internal medicine/pediatrics residents in 2002, following development of a pulmonary fellowship program.
Response rates were 79% in 1992 and 86% in 2002. Eight of the 43 responders in 1992 (19%) had considered doing a pulmonary fellowship compared to 7 of 63 (11%) in 2002. The highest ranked factors given by the residents who had considered a fellowship included wanting to continue one's education after residency, enjoying caring for pulmonary patients, and liking pulmonary physiology and the pulmonary faculty. Major factors listed by residents who had not considered a pulmonary fellowship included not enjoying the tracheostomy/ventilator population and chronic pulmonary patients in general, and a desire to enter general pediatrics or another fellowship. Most residents during both survey periods believed that they would be in non-academic or academic general pediatrics in 5 years. Only 1 of the 106 responding residents (~1%) anticipated becoming a pediatric pulmonologist.
Although many pediatric residents consider enrolling in a pulmonary fellowship (~10–20% here), few (~1% here) will actually pursue a career in pediatric pulmonology. The presence of a pulmonary fellowship program did not significantly alter resident interest, though other confounding factors may be involved.
Keywords: Academic medicine, career paths, fellowship training, subspecialty practice.