The Impact of COVID-19 on Job Prospects and Educational Training for Pediatric Gastroenterology Fellows

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2020 Dec 30;Publish Ahead of Print. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000003037. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted graduate medical education with redistribution of trainees, altered clinical care, and decreased research. For graduating trainees, there remains concern that financial stability of health systems will affect the availability of new positions and hiring practices. This survey aims to evaluate the pandemic's impact from pediatric gastroenterology fellows' perspectives.

Methods: An anonymous survey was distributed by e-mail from June 11 to July 1, 2020 to all North American pediatric gastroenterology and advanced training fellows. The survey was tailored for the fellows' year of training including questions on education, clinical experience, research, and job outlook.

Results: Of the 434 pediatric gastroenterology fellows, 145 completed the survey. Of all respondents, negative impact was reported in 52% on clinical training, 46% research projects, and 41% procedural confidence. A majority (93%) of third-year respondents had a job contract signed at the time of the survey; however, 18% of those contracts were subsequently altered with five respondents having job contracts rescinded due to hiring freezes. Fifty-four percent of first- and second-year fellow respondents reported concern regarding finding a job with the majority being second-year fellows (78%).

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the medical system and healthcare professionals. This survey identified significant impact on job acquisition for graduating pediatric gastroenterology fellows as well as other critical components of training, which are likely applicable to other pediatric trainees. The survey results raise questions about potential strategies to improve medical education and job search success for graduating trainees.