Perceptions of pediatric emergency medicine fellows and program directors about research education

A D Mason, J L Biehler, M Y Linares, B Greenberg
Academic Emergency Medicine 1999, 6 (10): 1061-5

UNLABELLED: Pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) fellows who entered training after January 1995 are required to complete three years of fellowship training. Additionally, they are required to receive instruction in related basic sciences and to demonstrate research competence.

OBJECTIVES: To determine: 1) whether PEM fellows and program directors perceive their programs as providing adequate training in research principles, 2) the manner in which these principles are taught, and 3) the commitment of fellows and program directors to research and research training.

METHODS: Pediatric emergency medicine fellows who participated in the Fourth Annual PEM Fellows Conference (Miami, Florida, March 1997) were surveyed. The survey was then extended via mail to all PEM fellows and program directors in the United States and Canada.

RESULTS: A total of 159 of the 220 fellows (72%) in the United States and Canada returned completed questionnaires. Fifty-three of 70 PEM fellows (76%) who attended the conference completed questionnaires, and 106 of 167 fellows (63%) who did not attend the conference responded by mail. Fifty-three of the 63 program directors (84%) returned completed questionnaires. Of 159 responding fellows, 86 (54%), and of 53 responding program directors, 29 (58%) reported that their programs lacked adequate training in one or more of the surveyed research areas. Thirteen program directors (25%) reported no formal research training in their curricula. Programs that included formal research training were perceived to have higher overall quality than programs that failed to offer such formal training. Sixty-six of 158 responding fellows (42%) anticipated an ongoing commitment to research in their careers. One hundred fourteen of 153 responding fellows (75%) indicated that, if given the option, they would have pursued a two-year "clinical track" PEM board certification that did not include a research requirement.

CONCLUSIONS: More than half of surveyed PEM fellows and program directors perceived important deficiencies in research education within their training programs. Further research is necessary in order to evaluate the validity of these perceptions.

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