Defining Service and Education in Pediatrics

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Program directors (PDs) and trainees are often queried regarding the balance of service and education during pediatric residency training. We aimed to use qualitative methods to learn how pediatric residents and PDs define service and education and to identify activities that exemplify these concepts. Focus groups of pediatric residents and PDs were performed and the data qualitatively analyzed. Thematic analysis revealed 4 themes from focus group data: (1) misalignment of the perceived definition of service; (2) agreement about the definition of education; (3) overlapping perceptions of the value of service to training; and (4) additional suggestions for improved integration of education and service. Pediatric residents hold positive definitions of service and believe that service adds value to their education. Importantly, the discovery of heterogeneous definitions of service between pediatric residents and PDs warrants further investigation and may have ramifications for Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and those responsible for residency curricula.

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