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Orthopedic Surgery Resident: Factors Influencing their Choice

Due to a rapidly changing health care system and a growing transparency in the age of outcome reporting, orthopedic surgery resident seem to have quite a list to consider when determining which fellowship to pursue.

An institutional review board-approved link to an online survey was emailed to orthopedic surgery trainees across the United States, 14 fellowship influences were assessed using a Likert scale in the demographics collected. A total of 360 responses were received where 85.5% were male and 14.5% were female. Answers were received from every region of the United States and from every postgraduate year.

Choice of subspecialty did influence the relevance of various factors, intellectual stimulation and a strong mentor were the most influential factors in the decision to pursue a given fellowship – it is important to understand the motives behind young orthopedic surgeons’ career aspirations.

Nowadays, orthopedic surgery fellowships are a common aspect of the current training paradigm. More than 90% of orthopedic surgery residents will pursue a fellowship, which has proven a profound impact on future orthopedic surgeons and will influence practice characteristics for the remainder of their career.

For an orthopedic surgery resident, deciding if he should invest in another year of training into becoming a subspecialist is of great importance. There are many reasons, including market pressure, pursuit of academic goals, refinement of surgical and clinical skills, desire for a higher recompense, lifestyle considerations and employer requirements, for the percentage increasing of orthopedic surgeons completing fellowships.

Fellowships are a means to an end for trainees in search of employment and successful career.

The surgical and clinical practice vary between specialities and the career of an adult reconstruction surgeon is different from that of a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.


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