The Dual Pathway for Certification in Pediatrics and Anesthesiology was created in 2011 to develop leaders in caring for children with complex medical and surgical conditions. While existing dual-trained practitioners report continued practice in both pediatric anesthesiology (PA) and pediatric critical care medicine (PCCM), recent surveys of dual pathway trainees have shown that only one-quarter still currently plan to pursue training in PCCM, a change from their initial plans to complete training in both PA and PCCM. The aim of this study was to further characterize the motivations driving shifts in career trajectory during training as well as factors affecting the combined training experience.
We conducted an online mixed-methods survey of all individuals who had matriculated at 1 of the 7 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education–accredited combined pediatrics-anesthesiology residencies from 2011 to 2018. The survey consisted of a 30-item questionnaire addressing training experience, anticipated career trajectory, and respondent demographics. Descriptive statistics were used for closed-format questions. Responses to open-ended questions were systematically analyzed through inductive iterative review by 2 of the authors to elicit a set of overarching themes.
We achieved a response rate of 85% (n = 53/62) with respondents from 7 of 7 combined residency programs. When asked about career goals, the majority of respondents planned to pursue both PA and PCCM (60%, n = 32) at the start of residency. However, at the time of survey completion, the percentage of respondents who were still planning to (or had already completed) train in both PA and PCCM had decreased to 23% (n = 12). Factors such as lifestyle and length of training contributed more to career choices during/after training compared to before residency. Thematic analysis of open-ended questions regarding transition between specialties, impact of dual training, and general comments revealed 3 major themes: (1) challenges of transitioning between specialties, (2) dual training is mutually beneficial, and (3) the need for an established fellowship training pathway.
While there is continued interest in dual training in PA/PCCM for residents who enter the combined pediatrics-anesthesiology residency, factors such as duration of training and lifestyle become more important during residency and alter their career trajectories, often away from PCCM. Optimization of dual-subspecialty fellowship training will be critical to sustaining interest in dual-subspecialty training in PA/PCCM.