Applications to cardiothoracic surgery training programs have declined. Anecdotal evidence suggests limited job availability for residents completing cardiothoracic training, which may contribute to this decline. This survey sought to document the experience of current, graduating residents. In June 2003, the Thoracic Surgery Residents Association surveyed residents completing accredited cardiothoracic training or additional subspecialization, utilizing a web-based survey hosted by CTSNet. Resident participation was voluntary and anonymous. Of the estimated 140 graduates, 89 responded. The majority were male (91.0%, n = 81), married (80.0%, n = 71), and had children (61.0%, n = 54). Average age was 36.2 years old, and mean educational debt was less than $50K. Of the 89 respondents, 77 initially sought jobs and 12 sought additional training. For residents seeking jobs, 19.5% (n = 15) received no offers and 13 of these ultimately pursued additional training. Acquired jobs were in private (53.0%, n = 34) or academic practice (47.0%, n = 30), with 73.4% (n = 47) involving general thoracic surgery. Most would again choose cardiothoracic surgery as a career (75.5%, n = 67), and 62.0% (n = 55) would again submit the same match list. However, 87.0% (n = 77) believed that the number of trainees should be decreased, 81.0% (n = 72) believed that reimbursement for cardiothoracic surgery is inadequate, and 77.5% (n = 69) believed that excessively low reimbursement will result in restricted access or decreased quality for patients. Most cardiothoracic residents were successful in finding employment after training. A substantial percentage, however, pursued additional training due to lack of job opportunities. Although most finishing residents were satisfied with training and career choice, significant concerns exist regarding job opportunities and compensation. These conditions may lead to difficulty in recruitment to the specialty.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine