Training Gaps for Pediatric Residents Planning a Career in Primary Care: A Qualitative and Quantitative Study

Journal of graduate medical education 09/2011; 3(3):309-14. DOI: 10.4300/JGME-D-10-00151.1
Source: PubMed


Resident training in pediatrics currently entails similar training for all residents in a fragmented curriculum with relatively little attention to the career plans of individual residents.
To explore strengths and gaps in training for residents planning a career in primary care pediatrics and to present strategies for addressing the gaps.
Surveys were sent to all graduates of the University of Colorado Denver Pediatric Residency Program (2003-2006) 3 years after completion of training. Respondents were asked to evaluate aspects of their training, using a 5-point Likert scale and evaluating each item ranging from "not at all well prepared" to "extremely well prepared" for their future career. In addition, focus groups were conducted with practitioners in 8 pediatric practices in Colorado. Sessions were transcribed and hand coded by 2 independent coders.
Survey data identified training in behavior and development (mean score, 3.72), quality improvement and patient safety strategies (mean, 3.57), and practice management (mean, 2.46) as the weakest aspects of training. Focus groups identified deficiencies in training in mental health, practice management, behavioral medicine, and orthopedics. Deficiencies noted in curriculum structure were lack of residents' long-term continuity of relationships with patients; the need for additional training in knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for primary care (perhaps even a fourth year of training); and a training structure that facilitates greater resident autonomy to foster development of clinical capability and self-confidence.
Important gaps were identified in the primary care training of pediatric residents. These data support the need to develop more career-focused training.

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