Is there a need for an independent fellowship advisor for postgraduate training? Analysis of 906 surveys from 85 countries.
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Background: Many physicians seek a fellowship after completing their residency to gain expertise, learn different techniques and philosophies, and grow their network. One obstacle for fellows is finding reliable feedback from previous fellows regarding a specific fellowship and contacting that person for further advice. In addition, for both doctors and institutions alike, obtaining (government) working permits and financing the fellowship is challenging. The purpose of this study was to survey doctors and researchers from different medical fields to identify the need for an online fellowship advisor.
Methods: A website and an online survey were created. The survey was sent personally to the first author’s contacts worldwide by email.
Results: Five months after the project initiation, there were 8’918 visits (7’435 different users) to the landing website from 129 countries, mainly USA (27%), Switzerland (21%), Egypt (5%), and India (5%). Nine hundred six surveys from participants from 85 countries were completed: Among them Switzerland (20%), Egypt (8%), India (8%) as well as United Kingdom (6%). The main specialties were orthopedics & traumatology (60%), surgery (10%), and internal medicine (5%). The participants stated, they were potential (36%) or previous (32%) fellows or individuals/institutions who would like to offer a fellowship (17%). There was an interest in having a fellowship database (69%), connecting to other fellows (65%), giving/receiving feedback about a fellowship (50%), and receiving financial support (36%).
Conclusions: The results of the first survey suggest that there is great interest in an online fellowship advisor for international fellowships, including a database, a platform for fellows to connect to each other with the ability to give and receive feedback about a fellowship. Receiving financial support is of interest to one-third of the participants.
Keywords: Mentoring; Education; Coaching; Fellowships; Career; Practice.
Level of Evidence: 4
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