The Pursuit of Otolaryngology Subspecialty Fellowships

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Abstract

Objectives

To examine otolaryngology resident interest in subspecialty fellowship training and factors affecting interest over time and over the course of residency training

Study Design

Cross-sectional study of anonymous online survey data.

Setting

Residents and fellows registered as members-in-training through the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.

Subjects and Methods

Data 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.

Results

Over 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.

Conclusions

In 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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