Should We Hire Our Current Fellow? Hiring Trends and Preferences in Spine Surgery

Jonathan F. Dalton, Mitchell S. Fourman, Stephen Chen, Landon M. Cluts, Joon Y. Lee, Jeremy D. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective:To provide insight into hiring trends/preferences in Academic Orthopaedic Spine Surgery after fellowship training.Methods:Fellowship directors (FDs) listed by the North American Spine Society were surveyed regarding new faculty hiring preferences. Surveys were analyzed/stratified by response using the Kruskal-Wallis with Dunn multiple comparisons test, the Fisher exact test, and the Mann-Whitney U test for univariate comparisons.Results:Thirty-two of 52 (61.5%) FDs responded. 32.3% of graduated fellows pursued academic medicine, which was preferred by FDs (3.59 ± 0.67; 1 to 5 scale). From 2015 to 2020, of the 2.25 ± 1.46 faculty members hired per program, 45.8% were former residents/fellows. Top listed hiring qualities were "strong recommendation from a trusted colleague"(84.4%), "prior personal experience, as a resident/fellow"(78.1%), and "amicable personality"(53.1%). Twelve (38%) answered "no", six (19%) "yes", and 14 (44%) "other", regarding if hiring former residents/fellows benefits the field of spine surgery. "Other"answers endorsing in-house hiring most commonly mentioned consistency/stability (28.6%) while those opposed most commonly mentioned lack of diversity of training/novel techniques (42.9%). When considering programmatic size, while the stated perception of FDs regarding in-house hiring at larger (>2 fellows) versus smaller (1 to 2 fellows) programs was equivalent, the mean percentage of in-house hires at larger programs (67.8% ± 35.8%) was significantly greater than that of smaller programs (33.3% ± 44.8%, P = 0.04).Conclusions:In-house hiring in spine surgery appears to occur more commonly than perceived by program leadership, particularly at larger fellowship programs. Further study of hiring preferences and their impact on the field of spine surgery is warranted.Study Design:Prospective Survey Study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E207-E215
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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