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Question about pediatric specialties and job opportunities

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madison1

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I'm a 4th year medical student planning on going into pediatrics. I have realized that I really enjoy being in the hospital so I think I would ultimately like to work as a hospitalist or specialize. I was wondering how much flexibility there is when finding a job after fellowship. I know that you are more limited on location on the pediatric side compared to the adult side just due to the fact that there are fewer children's hospitals, but just wondering how restricted I would be? Are most people able to end up in their desired location or should you not have that expectation? Also, since most pediatric specialists work in academics, is research a requirement? I found I am not particularly passionate about doing research, so I figure I may need to start looking into other areas if this is the case. Thank you for reading and for your help!
 

Stitch

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Hard to answer the question because it's really quite different for each subspecialty and because it's difficult to predict what the market will be like in 6-7 years when you'd be done with fellowship. There are private practice models for some peds subspeciaties, but some sort of academic center is still more common. Even among the academic centers there's a great deal of variability in terms of research and requirements. For now, it's worth focusing on general peds, and learning as much as possible. Find out what you gravitate towards/are interestetd in and go from there.
 

SurfingDoctor

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    Also, since most pediatric specialists work in academics, is research a requirement? I found I am not particularly passionate about doing research, so I figure I may need to start looking into other areas if this is the case. Thank you for reading and for your help!

    Academics does not mean research. In fact, a minority of academic physicians actually do research. If you were to look among pediatricians in academic centers who were hired as "physician-scientists" or "clinician-scientists", without really knowing the number precisely, I would wager the number is around 20%, maybe less. If you talk about the true marker of successful physician-scientist, those who have obtained tenure, that would probably be more like 10% (very institute dependent). However, academics does not necessarily mean research, it means contribution to the field of medicine beyond patient care. This can be through a series of extra-mural endeavors, namely through education (and I mean education policy, not teaching medical students and residents what IV fluids are), quality improvement or administration on the system level, and health policy. Obviously clinical, basic and translational research fit within academics, however few pediatricians and subspecialist fill this role for multiple reasons (funding, inadequate training timing, poor institutional investment, etc.). Again, really academics means is that you contribute to the field as a whole (and usually find financial support through that contribution that allows you to focus on that instead of seeing patients). Additionally, a new trend is appearing in academic centers, that of a clinician-specialist or master-clinician. They have limited teaching or administrative responsibilities and really just see patients. Academic medical centers know they need to see patients to generate revenue, and physicians in this role fulfill that purpose. The upside is that they generally can do some teaching (students, residents, and fellows) and have a reduced workload compared to private practice, but they get paid less in comparison. Long story short, there are lots of roles in academic centers that have nothing to do with research. The caveat is that outside the clinician-specialist role, you have to publish papers to get promoted, and thus you need a niche to focus your publications on.
     
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