Pediatric neurology trainee numbers have grown considerably in
Canada; recent research, however, has shown that the number of pediatric
neurology graduates is outpacing the need for future pediatric neurologists.
The purpose of this study was to seek the opinion of pediatric neurology
program directors and trainees regarding possible solutions for this issue.
Two focus groups were convened during the Canadian Neurological
Sciences Federation annual congress in June 2012; one consisted of current
and former program directors, and the other of current pediatric neurology
trainees. Groups were asked for their perceptions regarding child neurology
manpower issues in Canada as well as possible solutions. Focus groups were
audio-recorded and transcribed for analysis. Theme-based qualitative
analysis was used to analyze the transcripts.
Major themes emerging from both focus groups included the emphasis
on community pediatric neurology as a viable option for trainees, including
the need for community mentors; recognizing the needs of underserviced
areas; and establishing academic positions for community preceptors. The
need for career mentoring and support structures during residency training
was another major theme which arose. Program directors and trainees also
gave examples of ways to reduce the current oversupply of trainees in
Canada, including limiting the number of trainees entering programs, as well
as creating a long-term vision of child neurology in Canada.
A nationwide dialogue to discuss the supply and demand of manpower
in academic and community pediatric neurology is essential. Career guidance
options for pediatric neurology trainees across the country merit further