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what to do in med. school to prepare for ped. surg fellowship?

Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by mcg09, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. mcg09

    mcg09 New Member

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    What suggestions do all of you have for preparing for a pediatric surgical fellowship? Research? What residencies/where. . . east/southeast? Sorry to be so vague with the question, but I don't know any other way to ask it. I am just curious what I might be getting myself into if I try for this one.

    fd
     
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  3. Pilot Doc

    Pilot Doc SDN Angel
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    Do well in med school and don't sing too loudly about wanting to be a peds surgeon. Your interests may change - keep your goal in mind and your options open. Do research if it interests you.

    Pick a residency that has an active, well-respected pediatric surgery division and NO peds fellows. (That way you get the peds cases). Do 2 years of research in residency.

    Apply for fellowship.
     
  4. ExtraCrispy

    ExtraCrispy Funky chicken
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    Hi mcg,

    I didn't even decide to apply for General Surgery until the summer after third year, and as such I have only learned about pediatric surgery from my advisor (who's a peds surgeon) over the past few months, so please take this with a grain of salt.

    Peds surgery is quite competitive. The demand for pediatric surgeons is lower than for adult, simply b/c the patient population is smaller (numbers-wise, not height-wise :)). As a result, there are few pediatric surgery fellowships (30 in the US), and each program takes one resident yearly, on average. Despite the low number of programs, peds surgery is attractive to many surgeons in training b/c it encompasses all body systems, involves unique pathology, and has the added perk of working with kids and guiding families through difficult perioperative challenges.

    The number of interested applicants coupled with the paucity of fellowships results in a competitive field, and according to my advisor there are a few things to keep in mind:
    (a) Although there are certainly exceptions, on the whole a university-based gen surg residency program - particularly one with a strong history of placing residents in peds fellowships, and with good pediatric surgeons on the faculty - will better your chances of acceptance to a peds fellowship than will a small community program.
    (b) Although not a designated requirement, it's very difficult to match in peds surg without taking time from residency to conduct research, usually two years.
    (c) My advisor actually recommends deciding about peds surgery EARLY, and seeking out peds surgery mentors among the faculty. The rationale is that you can always change your mind later, but it's hard to decide late during residency to apply for peds, then scramble to make the connections and do the research.
    (d) Most residents apply to all 30 fellowship programs in the US to ensure that they match. This is potentially a big negative, for myself included - I'm not sure I want to uproot my husband (and possibly kids) to travel halfway across the country for two years.

    As the field is so small, all of the pediatric surgeons from the different programs know each other. As a med student, if you're really interested, try doing a sub-I or elective in pediatric surgery, and get to know the surgeons. They can help you down the road when applying for residency, and connect you with the people to whom you should talk when assessing programs.

    Otherwise, the only thing to focus on in med school is really to just work to the best of your ability, to give yourself the most options when applying for residency. Take it in steps, and spend time thinking about what you'd really love to do! :)

    Good luck to you! :luck:
     
  5. cchoukal

    cchoukal Senior Member
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    great post. The previous poster recommended going to a residency program without a peds fellowship with the goal of getting more cases. Is this really a greater advantage than going to a program that HAS a fellowship and, therefore, maybe you'd have an "in?"
     
  6. fishmonger69

    fishmonger69 deadly with a knife
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    it depends on the pedi surgeon you ask. most academic pedi surgeons will say you only have a chance to match if you go to a program with pedi surg because they can make a call for you. most pedi surgery fellows do not match at their own program, they are traded to other programs following calls made by attendings.

    on another note, why the hell is everyone suddenly so interested in pediatric surgery? i seriously doubt the majority of people suddenly flocking to the ranks of this sub-specialty are interested in taking care of children. is it the index cases? the money? the 'prestige' of being a pedi surgeon (i think this is it)?
     
  7. Ergo

    Ergo Integrated Resident
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    Hi,

    do clinical or a simple basic science research project in med school in surgery, especially with peds surgeons. Devote several months to it full time, write a paper, present it during ACS during fourth year. That work will make it into a journal when youre actually in residency, which wil help with your cv. Peds surg is heavy into research, pick a strong GS program with peds surg division, work hard, publish more during residency, present more then apply.
    Ask people in PS to call people they know for you.
     
  8. kidney

    kidney New Member

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    as a categorical pgy-2 resident i think its pretty funny that you are still in med school and have this concern. its almost like someone in high school worrying about med school. who knows, you might not even want to be a surgeon. i agree with the earlier post, of 1) super-ultra competetive, 2) you need about 40 publications to be even considered, and 3) most pediatric surgeons cover about 5-6 hospitals so they are working very hard and have long hours. sure, its prestigious, but so are a lot of other things that are as well. maybe you want to work with kids and not just operate on them. focus on having fun in med school. once you start residency, you won't have too much free time at all.
     
  9. drpectin

    drpectin Member
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    I have to agree with kidney here. I started out in medical school totally enamored with the pediatric surgeon persona (it also didn't hurt that I spent a summer doing research with my mentor who is a pediatric surgeon). The good part was this introduced me to academic surgery (read surgery and research) to wit I am spending a second year at the NIH conducting research to build up an academic resume before applying to an academic Gen Surg program. Here my eyes were opened to the fact there are many intruiging subspecialties within Gen Surg. Surgical Oncology, Cardiac Surgery (not down and out), Plastics, Thoracic Etc... If you don't think Cardiac is going anywhere check out this paper: Surgical ventricular restoration: the RESTORE Group experience

    Bottom line is that you don't know what you want to be until you find a strong mentor at an academic program. Thats when the road starts. Right now you need to get into a strong academic surgical residency. :thumbup:
     
  10. drpectin

    drpectin Member
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  11. talk to a prediatric surgeon !!
     

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