Factors Influencing Fellowship Selection, Career Trajectory, and Academic Productivity among Plastic Surgeons


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Abstract

Background:Several factors influence the career trajectory of graduating plastic surgeons, and the authors’ study sought to capture characteristics of plastic surgery trainees as they relate to outcomes, including fellowship selection, career choice, and academic productivity.Methods:Anonymous online survey data were obtained from members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Correlative analysis was performed implementing the Pearson chi-square test, the Mann-Whitney test, and the Kendall tau-b correlation to determine significant correlations defined by values of p < 0.05.Results:Of 4543 survey invitations sent, a total of 624 plastic surgeons (13.7 percent) completed the study. Greater numbers of publications on entering residency (p < 0.05) and on graduating from residency (p < 0.0001), stronger perceived mentorship during residency (p < 0.01), graduating from an integrated program (p < 0.01), and fellowship training (p < 0.001) were all correlated with a future career in academia. In addition, fellowship training and number of publications during and before residency were correlated with eventual academic productivity (p < 0.05). Lastly, individual tendency to prioritize economics (p < 0.01) or geographic location (p < 0.05) was associated with eventual private practice, whereas prioritization of research (p < 0.01) and culture of training institute (p < 0.001) predicted academic careers.Conclusions:Graduating plastic surgery residents from integrated programs, with greater numbers of publications, stronger mentor relationships, and fellowship training were more likely to become academic surgeons. Among this academic cohort, fellowship training and greater numbers of publications before and during residency were significantly correlated with increased academic productivity as an attending surgeon.

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