Objectives: Pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) is more than a quarter of a century old; yet, very little is known about the career longevity of its practitioners. The purpose of our survey was to examine different aspects of career longevity in the clinical practice of PEM.
Methods: An electronic survey was mailed in November 2008 to all members of the section on pediatric emergency medicine at the American Academy of Pediatrics who were older than 50 years. The survey consisted of 10 questions concerning demographic data, years of practice, clinical load, and retirement expectations.
Results: One hundred three of the 408 mailed surveys were returned (response rate, 25.2%). The survey participants were 55.25 +/- 5.15 years old (range, 50-81 years) 70% were male, 84.5% were PEM board certified, and they had been in practice for 20.20 +/- 6.16 years (range, 3-32 years). Fifteen of the study participants had retired from clinical practice of PEM. Those clinically active work on 21.82 +/- 10.95 clinical hours per week, 50% work overnight shifts, 97% work on weekends, 94% work on holidays, and 70% work on shifts longer than 8 hours. Study participants expect to retire from clinical PEM practice at the age of 62.27 +/- 6.04 years and from practice of all aspects of medicine at the age of 66.43 +/- 5.23 years. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed are concerned about their career longevity in clinical PEM practice.
Conclusions: Most senior PEM physicians participating in our survey continue to carry a significant clinical load and are concerned about their career longevity in clinical practice of PEM.