The Pursuit of Otolaryngology Subspecialty Fellowships

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ObjectivesTo examine otolaryngology resident interest in subspecialty fellowship training and factors affecting interest over time and over the course of residency trainingStudy DesignCross-sectional study of anonymous online survey data.SettingResidents and fellows registered as members-in-training through the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.Subjects and MethodsData regarding fellowship interest and influencing factors, including demographics, were extracted from the Section for Residents and Fellows Annual Survey response database from 2008 to 2014.ResultsOver 6 years, there were 2422 resident and fellow responses to the survey. Senior residents showed a statistically significant decrease in fellowship interest compared with junior residents, with 79% of those in postgraduate year (PGY) 1, 73% in PGY-2 and PGY-3, and 64% in PGY-4 and PGY-5 planning to pursue subspecialty training (P < .0001). Educational debt, age, and intended practice setting significantly predicted interest in fellowship training. Sex was not predictive. The most important factors cited by residents in choosing a subspecialty were consistently type of surgical cases and nature of clinical problems.ConclusionsIn this study, interest in pursuing fellowship training decreased with increased residency training. This decision is multifactorial in nature and also influenced by age, educational debt, and intended practice setting.

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