Start Early and Stay in the Search

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Start Early and Stay in the Search

​​​In the first year of residency residents should identify their career goals and attempt to tailor their training appropriately.

​Those drawn to subspecialty training are encouraged to pursue activities that strengthen their interest such as research. It is wise to identify appropriate mentors and forge that relationship. 

​Those interested in general pediatrics will want to explore different practice types throughout their training. Shadowing in various practice locations can be insightful. Residents considering general pediatrics should explore urban practices, rural practices, academic practices, and all the variations in between. Discussing career goals with program directors can be very fruitful toward the end of the intern year. 

For those looking for general practice, the second and third years give residents time to hone in on the location and types of practice best suited to them. This is important. Various locations may have specific requirements for licensing and skill sets. For instance, an academic position may not require in-hospital coverage making documentation for procedural skills and staff privileges within a hospital less important. Those interested in rural practice may need neonatal resuscitation certification for attending deliveries in small community hospitals.

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For those interested in further subspecialty training, the second and third years require additional research followed by applying to the specialty of choice. Currently, pediatric subspecialty match​ involves the National Resident Matching Program on a​ subspecialty-by-subspecialty basis. There has been a recent move to involve all subspecialties in the match program, but some continue outside of the match. The prudent trainee will identify the application process early to avoid missing the appropriate application cycle. 


Postgraduate year (PGY)-1

  • Focus on surviving the intern year. 
  • Assess fit with possible careers during various rotations.
  • Explore career goals by establishing a mentoring relationship. 
  • Pursue electives to explore career opportunities. 
  • Decide between general versus subspecialty practice.
  • Initiate research as needed to strengthen career choices. 
  • Create CV and identify programs for fellowship, if applicable. 
  • Identify timing for various subspecialty fellowship applications (if applicable).
  • Match for fellowship programs (if applicable). 
  • Identify suitable primary care positions and send out cover letter and CV during the early part of the year. 
  • Interview during the middle portion of the year for primary care positions. 
  • Solidify primary care positions and negotiate contracts and benefits during the second half of the year. 
  • Match for fellowship programs (if applicable). 

Investigate the Hospital or Practice 

Find out as much as possible about the hospital or practice. The internet is a valuable tool in researching any practice, medical organization, or clinical setting. Most hospitals and practices will send you a packet of information prior to the interview. If they don’t, call and request one. 

Learn the structure of the organization and whether they have affiliations with other hospitals and health systems and medical schools. Ascertain the ratio of primary care physicians to specialists on staff. Think about how your skills match existing organizational requirements. Also consider how your experience and knowledge might enhance the organization. 

When you have narrowed down the search to a few practices, it is important to research the practice and staff working at that location to determine if it would be a good fit. Here are some considerations to facilitate this process:​​

  • Talk with other pediatricians about the reputation of the group being considered. Are they respected as good doctors?​
  • Look at the CVs of the partners in the practice.
  • Check out the practice’s web site. What can you learn about them from it?
  • Who is the local competition? ​​
  • Talk with the local AAP Chapter about local medical issues.
  • Call the local chamber of commerce to see what the community has to offer. 
  • Is the hospital open to new physicians or closed?
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