▶ Explore a potential relationship between undergraduate or postgraduate exposure in paediatrics and an increased likelihood of ranking paediatrics first at time of application to specialty training.
▶ Explore the reasons why applicants may rank paediatrics first.
▶ To understand what other specialities foundation doctors would rank after their first choice in paediatrics.
▶ To gain an understanding of the most attractive and least attractive aspects of paediatrics as a career and the perceived requirements for application to paediatric specialty training as viewed by foundation doctors.
A short questionnaire was distributed at a national paediatric careers open day for foundation doctors. The questions asked about:
▶ Undergraduate and postgraduate exposure to paediatrics.
▶ Participants ‘ranking’ of choices for entry into specialty training.
▶ Reasons for first ranked choice.
▶ Factors that make a career in paediatrics attractive or less attractive.
▶ Perceived requirements for successful application in to paediatrics.
Results 113 completed forms were returned, a response rate of 75% (31% FY1, 69% FY2, 34% completed a previous rotation in paediatrics). 110/111 foundation doctors ranked Paediatrics as first choice specialty. The most popular specialities after Paediatrics were Core Medical Training and General Practice. There was a high likelihood paediatrics would remain first choice. One third of trainees who had previous foundation experience cited this as a specific reason for ranking paediatrics first. Reasons for first choice included appeal of general paediatrics, the offer of sub-specialities, interest, diversity and variety in paediatrics. The most attractive features of a career in paediatrics included the options of working less than full-time, working with children and within a supportive team. Unattractive features included working hours, on-calls and night shifts. Respondents felt that in addition to showing commitment to paediatrics, they required previous experience in the specialty if they were to be successful at application.
Conclusion Trainees cited previous experience at foundation level as an important factor when deciding ranking of specialities. It is important to consider the factors related to recruitment into paediatrics for work-force planning in the future. The advantage of a coupled programme and a need to increase the number of rotations at foundation level demonstrate how recruitment in to paediatrics can be influenced.