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Part-time Residency in Pediatrics: Description of Current Practice

Alison V Holmes, MD, MS 1, Rebecca R Socolar, MD, MPH 3 and William L Cull, PhD 2. 1 Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, United States; 2 Division of Health Policy Research, American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, Illinois, United States and 3 Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States.

Background: Part-time residency training may be of interest to many. Prior studies of part-time residency have involved only individual training programs.

Objective: To determine current utilization of part-time pediatric residency nationally, and to identify reasons for pursuing training on a part-time basis.

Design/Methods: Data were obtained by: 1) a survey regarding part-time residency mailed to all accredited pediatric residency programs, 2) the AMA-FREIDA database, and 3) the AAP PL-3 survey, 2003.

Results: Of the 195 accredited pediatric residency programs surveyed, 161 responded (83%); 18 of these programs had at least one part-time resident during academic years 2000 to 2003. Nationally, 43 of 6737 residents represented in the survey (0.6%), have had some of their training on a part-time basis. Large programs (> 45 residents) were more likely than smaller programs (< 27 residents) to have had part-time residents (16% vs. 4%). All programs prorated salaries in proportion to percent time, 10 (71%) continued full benefits for part-time residents and 15 (88%) used a reduced call schedule. While there were multiple reasons given for part-time status, including travel (16%), research (14%), advanced degrees (9%), personal illness (9%), and family illness (5%), 67% cited childcare as at least one reason. Length of residency was extended by an average of 15 months (4 to 36 months).

Analysis of AMA-FREIDA showed that 45 of 195 (23%) programs advertise part-time slots. Larger programs (> 45 residents) were more likely to advertise such offers (34% vs. 14%). The AAP PL-3 survey concurred with the program survey in that 0.6% of residents surveyed completed some of their training part-time. 19% claimed there would be no difficulty in arranging a part-time position.

Conclusions: While numerous programs advertise part-time positions, few residents actually held such positions over a three year period. There is variability in how benefits and call schedules are managed. Part-time positions are chosen for multiple reasons, but the most common reason is to care for children. Pediatric residency programs can use this information to meet resident needs.

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