Guiding Fellows to Independent Practice: Current Trends in Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellow Supervision

Maybelle Kou, Aline Baghdassarian, Kajal Khanna, Nazreen Jamal, Michele Carney, Daniel M. Fein, In Kim, Melissa L. Langhan, Jerri A. Rose, Noel S. Zuckerbraun, Cindy G. Roskind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Recent studies highlight the importance of physician readiness to practice beyond graduate training. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education mandates that pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) fellows be prepared for independent practice by allowing "progressive responsibility for patient care."Prior unpublished surveys of program directors (PDs) indicate variability in approaches to provide opportunities for more independent practice during fellowship training. Objectives The aims of the study were to describe practices within PEM fellowship programs allowing fellows to work without direct supervision and to identify any barriers to independent practice in training. Design/Methods An anonymous electronic survey of PEM fellowship PDs was performed. Survey items were developed using an iterative modified Delphi process and pilot tested. Close-ended survey responses and demographic variables were summarized with descriptive statistics. Responses to open-ended survey items were reviewed and categorized by theme. Results Seventy two of 84 PDs (88%) responded to the survey; however, not all surveys were completed. Of the 68 responses to whether fellows could work without direct supervision (as defined by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education) during some part of their training, 31 (45.6%) reported that fellows did have this opportunity. In most programs, clinical independence was conditional on specific measures including the number of clinical hours completed, milestone achievement, and approval by the clinical competency committee. Reported barriers to fellow practice without direct oversight included both regulatory and economic constraints. Conclusions Current training practices that provide PEM fellows with conditional clinical independence are variable. Future work should aim to determine best practices of entrustment, identify ideal transition points, and mitigate barriers to graduated responsibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-520
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Emergency Care
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • autonomy
  • direct supervision
  • fellowship
  • graduated responsibility
  • independent practice
  • patient safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine


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