Practice of pediatric critical care medicine: Results of the Future of Pediatric Education II Survey of Sections Project*

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ObjectiveTo summarize the demographics and practice patterns of the current pediatric critical care workforce and to identify the key workforce issues that may affect the delivery of pediatric critical care services in the future.DesignA questionnaire designed to analyze current pediatric critical care workforce demographics and future workforce trends.SubjectsPediatric critical care physicians from the United States were identified from the American Academy of Pediatrics Critical Care Section, from a list of physicians certified in pediatric critical care medicine (PCCM) by the American Board of Pediatrics, and from a list of pediatrician members of the Society for Critical Care Medicine.InterventionsNone.MeasurementsPCCM physicians were polled regarding board certification, practice characteristics, professional activities, referral patterns, patient profiles, competition, job satisfaction, and projected retirement age.Main ResultsA total of 805 PCCM physicians completed the survey. When grouped by age, 40% of the responding PCCM physicians were younger than 40 yrs, 49% were 40 to 49 yrs old, and only 11% were 50 yrs of age or older. The younger group had a higher percentage of female pediatricians than the older groups. For all age groups, the largest proportion of time was devoted to direct patient care time in pediatric critical care. This was especially true for the youngest age group that had the largest amount of patient care time devoted to critical care (43%). Time devoted to research was also significantly higher for the younger age group, although very few respondents reported that they have >50% of their time protected for research. For all age groups, those reporting increases in referral volume and referral complexity over the previous 12 months far outnumbered those reporting decreases. The majority of respondents reported being satisfied with their career choice. In general, respondents were more likely to report that too many rather than too few PCCM physicians were currently being trained. Approximately one third of respondents (34%) planned on leaving the field of critical care medicine before retiring from medicine completely.ConclusionsPCCM physicians were increasingly women and working for >65 hrs/wk, with a good level of job satisfaction. Competition from a variety of sources seems to affect the work of PCCM physicians. The relatively small percentage of time devoted to research, however, is a finding of great concern.

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