Motivations to Pursue Fellowships Are Gender Neutral | Lifestyle Behaviors | JAMA Surgery | JAMA Network
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July 2010

Motivations to Pursue Fellowships Are Gender Neutral

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Orlando (Dr Borman); American Board of Surgery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Mr Biester and Dr Rhodes). Dr Borman is now with the Department of Surgery, Abington Memorial Hospital, Abington, Pennsylvania.

Arch Surg. 2010;145(7):671-678. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2010.116

Objective  To determine the importance of factors in decision making by general surgery chief residents to pursue fellowships and to relate factor importance to gender and residency characteristics.

Design  Prospective, voluntary, national survey conducted April through May, 2008, in which finishing chief residents rated the importance of 12 factors in their decision making to pursue fellowships.

Setting  General surgery chief residents who applied for admission to the American Board of Surgery Qualifying Examination process.

Participants  All 1034 first-time applicants.

Main Outcome Measures  χ2 tests and 1-way analyses of variance were used to correlate gender and residency type, size, and location with summed values and scaled mean scores for ratings of the importance of 12 potential factors in fellowship decision making.

Results  The fellowship rate was 77% and correlated with residency size and location. Women were dispersed asymmetrically across residencies overall but future female fellows were distributed similarly to male ones. Survey item response rates for future fellows were 96% to 98%. Clinical mastery and specialty activities were valued most highly by more than 90% of men and women. Men placed more value on income potential and spousal influence. Lifestyle factors reached only midrange importance for both genders. Program size had more significant relationships to decision-making factors than did gender.

Conclusions  The ability to master an area of clinical practice and the clinical activities of a specialty are the most important factors for chief residents in fellowship decision making, regardless of gender. Lifestyle factors are of midrange importance. Program size is as influential as is gender.