Do Mentors Matter in Graduating Pediatrics Residents' Career Choices?



      Little is known about the association between mentorship and career choice during residency in pediatrics. This study examines graduating residents with mentors who provide career advice and the relationship between having a mentor who is a subspecialist and having a subspecialty practice goal.


      National, random samples of 1000 graduating pediatrics residents were surveyed each year from 2006 to 2012; 4197 (61%) responded. Responses were pooled across years to examine mentor specialty and career goal at time of residency graduation. Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine relationships between mentor specialty and career goal at the time of graduation.


      Most (87%) residents reported having a mentor who provided career advice during residency; the proportion linearly increased from 83% in 2006 to 87% in 2012; P < .05. Forty-five percent of those with mentors had a mentor who was a subspecialist; 55% had a generalist as a mentor. Overall, 45% of residents had a subspecialty career goal at time of graduation. After controlling for career goal at the start of residency and resident characteristics, residents with a subspecialist mentor were more likely to have a subspecialty career goal at time of graduation (adjusted odds ratio = 5.25; 95% confidence interval, 4.41–6.25). Residents who were male, without children, without debt, not married, not minority, and from larger residency programs were also more likely to have a subspecialty career goal at the time of graduation from residency.


      Almost 9 in 10 pediatric residents have a mentor who provides career advice. Although multiple factors shape decisions about careers, mentor specialty is one factor that might encourage residents to pursue fellowship training.


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