Recruitment and manpower in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus.

Publications // Yasmin Bradfield // Aug 01 2007

PubMed ID: 17689824

Author(s): Simon JW, Bradfield Y, Smith J, Ahn E, France TD. Recruitment and manpower in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus. J AAPOS. 2007 Aug;11(4):336-40. PMID 17689824

Journal: Journal Of Aapos : The Official Publication Of The American Association For Pediatric Ophthalmology And Strabismus, Volume 11, Issue 4, Aug 2007

PURPOSE Many have observed what appears to be declining interest on the part of ophthalmology graduates in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus (PO&S) as a career. Four questions might address this concern: (1) Has there been a decline in the number of fellowship positions filled in the period 2000 to 2005? (2) Why do graduates choose other career paths? (3) Assuming there has been a decrease in interest in PO&S, does it reflect dissatisfaction on the part of pediatric ophthalmologists in their field? (4) What can be done to enhance the appeal of the subspecialty?

METHODS Data from the San Francisco Matching Programs covering the years 2000 through 2005 included the numbers of ophthalmology graduates, their subspecialty choices, the number of applicants to PO&S and other subspecialty fellowships, and the number of fellowship positions offered. Supplemental surveys assessed positions filled outside the match and international fellows. Factors influencing residents’ career choices and the job satisfaction of pediatric ophthalmologists were analyzed in separate surveys.

RESULTS The number of fellowship positions in PO&S increased from 41 to 50 between 2000 and 2004. The number of graduates participating in the match has varied but remained the same (38) in 2005 as in 2000. Graduates were discouraged from PO&S by inadequate mentoring, by aversion to children, and by higher compensation in other fields. Pediatric ophthalmologists generally are highly satisfied in their careers, although financial compensation is a concern for many.

CONCLUSIONS Pediatric ophthalmologists should remain optimistic about recruitment but could enhance the appeal of PO&S by teaching more effectively and by promoting the field.