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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Who moved my fellow: changes to Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education fellowships in pediatric surgery and what may be yet to come

Samuel M Alaish, Alejandro V Garcia
Current Opinion in Pediatrics 2019 April 1
30939511

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Over the past 15 years, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has significantly altered the regulatory framework governing fellowship training in pediatric surgery. The daily experiences of pediatric surgical trainees have been impacted by these changes, but training program directors and faculty have not developed a consistent approach to managing this shift. This review highlights the changes, which have occurred, analyzes the current state of fellowship training, and proposes potential strategies for management.

RECENT FINDINGS: The implementation of work hour restrictions, increased supervision requirements, the milestone evaluation program and most recently, enforcement of required critical care experience, have caused significant changes in the curriculum. Pediatric surgical trainees record more total cases, and more minimally invasive surgical (MIS) cases, in particular, than ever before. A subset of this increase may result from trainees performing cases previously assigned to general surgery residents. Teaching cases performed by fellows have decreased. Although the relationship between these shifts in training experience and the didactic curriculum is not clear, we also note that the Pediatric Surgery Certifying Examination failure rate has increased, approaching 20% in recent years.

SUMMARY: It is unclear whether the changes in Pediatric Surgery training programs have been effective, or (conversely) have led to unintended consequences. Paradigm shifts in our training model may be required to address the changes in surgical education and skill acquisition, so that well tolerated, competent and skillful pediatric surgeons continue to enter the workforce.

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