Background: Fewer residents are choosing a career in pediatric radiology, which is contributing to an ongoing shortage of pediatric radiologists. Objective: To identify potential causes of reduced interest in pediatric radiology as a career given a projected worsening of a nationwide shortage of pediatric radiologists. Materials and methods: An online questionnaire using previously published questions was approved and distributed by the Program Directors in Diagnostic Radiology to diagnostic radiology residents on behalf of the Society for Pediatric Radiology (SPR). Descriptive statistics including means with standard error and independent t-tests were used to compare mean scores between survey years. Results: Nearly all of the 353 respondents (90.9%) planned on pursuing a fellowship. The majority (57.7%) identified their fellowship subspecialty before the 3rd year of residency with only 5.7% selecting pediatric radiology. Overall, 18.2% of survey respondents favored academic practice compared to 40% in the pediatric radiology subgroup. Fellowship choices were most strongly based on area of strong personal interest, marketability and area of strong personal knowledge, while the pediatric radiology subgroup emphasized area of strong personal interest, increased interaction with other physicians and enjoyable residency rotations. The pediatric radiology subgroup believed their impact on patient care was more significant than other subspecialties. Pediatric radiology job opportunities were thought to be more limited, geographically confining, and to have lower salaries than other subspecialties. More flexible job opportunities and higher demand were identified as factors needing to change before a resident would consider a pediatric radiology career. Conclusion: The influence on fellowship selection is multifactorial. By emphasizing the favorable job market and marketability of pediatric radiology in all practice types/geographic locations, correcting perceived salary gaps and stressing the impact on patient care as early as medical school, the number of residents choosing a career in pediatric radiology may grow.
- Influencing factors
- Pediatric radiology