Original Publication
Open Access

Career Development Program for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellows

Published: October 3, 2013 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9567

Included in this publication:

  • CD Session Evaluation.docx
  • CDP Interview Question Bank.docx
  • CDP Slides for Session 1.pptx
  • Career Development Program for Pediatric Hematology Oncology Fellows Curriculum Description.docx
  • Career Development Project Tools.doc
  • Instructor Notes for CDP Session 1.docx
  • Instructor Notes for CDP Session 4.docx
  • Instructor Notes for CDP Sessions 2 and 3.docx

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Background: Data suggest that the majority of practicing pediatric oncologists experienced moderate or higher levels of burnout. Data also demonstrate that identifying professional goals, choosing the most fitting type of practice, and achieving work-life balance help physicians to reduce burnout and improve job satisfaction. Little is known about how fellows are coached in these career choices since a wide variety of career pathways exist for PHO specialists.

Objective: To develop a pilot educational program for 1st year PHO fellows to elucidate various career pathways and help fellows align their values with their planned career choice.

Methods: First year fellows from six institutions participated in a pilot program. Program leaders from each institution met online and via conference calls prior to and during implementation of the program. All participants completed a pre-program personal values exercise prior to attending the same didactic lecture (at home institution by program leader) on scholarship and career pathways. Participants then interviewed faculty from a variety of institutions representing six career pathways. The program concluded with participants completing a self-reflection essay and developing a career plan. The program was evaluated by an assessment of knowledge about career pathways (pre and post) and a satisfaction survey. Twenty-one 2nd year fellows served as controls for knowledge.

Results: Seventeen first year fellows completed the program. Thirteen indicated that the program helped them decide what career path they would like to pursue. Completing the values exercise and interviewing faculty were rated as the most helpful components of the program. There were no differences in knowledge about career paths between participants (pre and post assessment) and controls.

Conclusion: Currently, few if any institutions employ a formal career selection exercise for their fellows. This pilot program may be used as a model to expose fellows to different career paths and options for scholarly activities during fellowship.

This is the first report describing results of a structured career training program for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellows. We found that while fellows were knowledgeable about the different career paths available, they reported that interviews with physician representatives from various career paths and reflection on personal values were very valuable. We also found that the most common factor influencing fellows’ choice for scholarly activity was availability of opportunities and mentorship.

While there is a wealth of literature discussing the importance and impact of mentorship at various levels of a physician career, but there are few reports addressing career management during subspecialty training.

The strength of this innovative program is that it engaged fellows in reflection, active exploration of six identified career paths and encouraged alignment of values with career goals. We predicted that detailed review and discussion about scholarship would permit fellows to choose scholarly activity that better aligned with their intended career choice. This did not happen however likely due to identified lack of available opportunities. Many of the subjects indicated a career choice of clinical investigator or clinician but most fellows conducted research in a basic laboratory. None of the subjects chose nontraditional areas of scholarship such as health services, quality improvement, or bioethics. This may point to a potential gap in mentorship in these areas and identifies the importance of developing and recruiting faculty with expertise in the areas of nontraditional scholarship in academic settings. We also found that while both subjects and controls were knowledgeable about career paths, subjects found that the program clarified career expectations and helped them to develop a strategy for career development. Our aim is to show that participating in the exercise of identifying goals and values early in training and choosing a career path that better aligns these values and goals will improve job satisfaction for our future pediatric hematologists/oncologists. Our hope is that this will reduce future career burn out by setting realistic expectations. A future follow up study of this cohort of fellows will be necessary to explore this.

This program can be adopted by any training program and is not specifically tailored to pediatric hematology oncology fellows.

Educational Objectives

  1. By the end of the program pediatric hematology/oncology fellows should be able to analyze own values, strengths, weaknesses and preferences.
  2. By the end of the program pediatric hematology/oncology fellows should be able to analyze each potential career path for compatible and incompatible elements and discuss verbally and in writing.
  3. By the end of the program pediatric hematology/oncology fellows should be able to develop a career plan.
  4. By the end of the program pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellows should be able to choose a scholarly activity that better matches their values and career path.

Author Information

  • Rima Jubran, MD, MPH, MACM: Children's Hospital Los Angeles
  • Patrick Leavey: UT Southwestern
  • A. Ritchey: University of Pittsburgh
  • Jean Tersak: University of Pittsburgh
  • Caroline Hastings: Children's Hospital Oakland
  • Michael Brionnes: Children's Health Care of Atlanta
  • Evan Shereck: Oregon Health Sciences University
  • Julie Nyquist: University of Southern California
  • Dixie Fisher: University of Southern California

None to report.

None to report.

Prior Presentations
Jubran RF, Leavey P, Ritchey AK, Tersak JM, Hastings C, Briones M, Shereck E, Fisher D. Career Development Program for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellows: A Pilot.Poster presented at: The American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Annual Meeting; April 2013; Miami, FL.


Jubran R, Leavey P, Ritchey A, et al. Career development program for pediatric hematology/oncology fellows. MedEdPORTAL. 2013;9:9567. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9567