Objective: To evaluate the preparedness of pediatric residents entering accredited neonatal-perinatal medicine (NPM) fellowships in the United States.
Study design: A multi-domain, validated survey was distributed to Program Directors (PDs) of US NPM fellowship programs. The 47-item survey explored 5 domains: professionalism, independent practice, psychomotor ability, clinical evaluation, and academia. A systematic, qualitative analysis on free-text comments was also performed.
Results: Sixty-one PDs completed the survey, for a response rate of 62% (61/98). For entering fellows, PDs assessed performance in professionalism positively, including 76% as communicating effectively with parents and 90% treating residents/house-staff with respect. In contrast, most PDs rated performance in psychomotor abilities negatively, including 59% and 79% as deficient in bag-and-mask ventilation and neonatal endotracheal intubation, respectively. Although 62% of PDs assessed entering fellows positively for genuine interest in academic projects, fewer than 10% responded positively that entering fellows understood research protocol design, basic statistics, or were capable of writing a cohesive manuscript well. Thematic clustering of qualitative data revealed deficits in psychomotor ability and academia/scholarship.
Conclusions: On the basis of the perspective of front line educators, graduating pediatric residents are underprepared for subspecialty fellowship training in NPM. To provide the best preparation for pediatric graduates who pursue advanced training, changes to residency education to address deficiencies in these important competencies are warranted.