A qualitative study of trainee experiences in Family Medicine-Obstetrics fellowships

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BackgroundFamily Medicine-Obstetrics fellowships provide family physicians with advanced obstetrics training. No accreditation system exists for these fellowships, which leads to variable training. Variation of fellows' experiences is not well understood. Our objective is to understand the motivations, training, and overall experiences of fellows in Family Medicine-Obstetrics fellowships, which may inform opportunities for improvement in fellowship design and suggest how Family Medicine-Obstetrics fellowship-trained physicians are prepared to practice among other obstetrics providers postgraduation.MethodsWe conducted semistructured interviews with current and past Family Medicine-Obstetrics fellows between Spring 2014 and Winter 2015. We used a snowball sampling approach. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded following an inductive approach to content analysis.ResultsWe contacted 47 and interviewed 21 current and past Family Medicine-Obstetrics fellows from 15 programs from across the country. Fellowships varied in cohort size, length, co-occurring presence of obstetrics and gynecology training programs, and structure and curriculum. Interviewees were motivated to complete a fellowship because of inadequate obstetrics training in residency, or because of an interest in rural or urban underserved practice. Fellowship experiences were shaped by fellowship leadership, program structure and curriculum, and relationships with obstetricians. Some felt prepared to forge collaborative professional relationships with obstetricians.ConclusionsThe diversity of fellows' experiences suggests possible avenues of improvement for Family Medicine-Obstetrics fellowships. These fellowships can prepare physicians to provide obstetric services in a variety of settings, including working in multispecialty integrated maternity care systems.

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