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May 1997

Pediatric Residency Training in the Normal Newborn Nursery: A National Survey

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Center for Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(5):511-514. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170420081014

Objective:  To determine how and what pediatric residency programs are teaching residents about normal newborn care in the nursery.

Design:  A mailed survey distributed in 1994.

Participants:  All 237 known pediatric residency programs in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Results:  Survey response rate was 77% (184 of 237 questionnaires were returned and completed). In 40% of the programs, neonatologists were primarily responsible or coresponsible for teaching residents about management of normal newborns. A normal newborn nursery curriculum had been developed and implemented in 56% of the programs, 30% of programs were developing one, and 13% reported no curriculum. Specific instruction about breastfeeding was not offered in 16% of programs. Circumcisions were most commonly performed by obstetricians; anesthetic use was low (overall median use, 10%) but was more common (P<.002) when circumcisions were performed by pediatricians. The hospital environment and lack of faculty time were cited as the main barriers to teaching residents about normal newborn care.

Conclusions:  Although general pediatricians spend a substantial amount of practice time on newborn care, neonatologists were responsible for this teaching in almost half of the pediatric residency programs. Many programs have not developed a curriculum. Instruction about breast-feeding was not universal. Most pediatric residents do not learn to perform circumcisions. General pediatricians should be more involved in the development, implementation, and evaluation of comprehensive newborn nursery curricula to improve training in this important aspect of general pediatric practice.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:511-514

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