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Doctors in masks

Residency graduates surveyed on pandemic’s effect on training, job search

March 1, 2022

An AAP survey of pediatric residents who graduated in 2021 showed nearly all provided care to children with COVID-19 during training. Many respondents also reported experiencing lower patient volumes but greater telehealth use than they expected due to the pandemic.

A national sample of graduating residents was asked to assess the impact of COVID-19 on their training. Ninety-seven percent of the 380 respondents reported caring for at least one child with COVID-19, and one in three cared for 30 or more children. Almost half (45%) reported they were asked to provide care to adult patients during the pandemic.

Nearly all residents (96%) reported changes to their continuity clinic experiences due to COVID-19 (see chart). Most (85%) reported experiencing lower patient volumes during clinic rotations than would have been expected at this stage of training, while 81% reported higher use of telehealth than they expected. Clinic schedule changes and suspended or canceled clinics also were reported frequently.

Most residents (91%) experienced changes to their elective or ambulatory rotations due to COVID-19: 79% reported a change in format, 51% a canceled clinic and 29% a shortened rotation.

Compared to data collected prior to the pandemic from 2019 graduating residents, 2021 graduates were twice as likely to rate their residency as very good or excellent in preparing them for telehealth (16% vs. 33%). While most 2021 graduates rated their residency as very good or excellent in preparing them for pediatric fellowship training (67%) and primary care practice (51%), the ratings given by graduating residents in 2019 were somewhat higher (73% and 58%, respectively).

In both 2021 and 2019, nearly all residents surveyed reported they had accepted a position to practice or enter fellowship training after graduation; in both years, only 2% had no position at graduation. Among residents who accepted a primary care position, 2021 graduates were more likely than 2019 graduates to report having considerable difficulty in their job search (15% vs. 3%).

The Annual Survey of Graduating Residents is a 25-year program of the AAP. Each year since 1997, a survey has been sent to a national random sample of 1,000 residents graduating from U.S. pediatric programs to measure their training experiences, career choice and job search experiences. In 2021, surveys were emailed and mailed from June to October. The response rate was 38%.

Resources

  • The AAP Section on Early Career Physicians provides training, resources and support for early career physicians who are within 10 years of their residency or fellowship training. For information, visit http://www.aap.org/soecp or contact Britt Nagy at 630-626-6064 or bnagy@aap.org.
  • For more information on the Annual Survey of Graduating Residents, visit aap.org/grs or contact Liz Gottschlich at 630-626-6627 or lgottschlich@aap.org.
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