Objective. Pediatric residency training programs need regular revision, but there is little evidence to support changes. The recent reduction in time spent in the newborn nursery may negatively affect the care of infants in pediatric practice. This survey was undertaken to assess the preparation of recent graduates of training programs with respect to newborn care in their current practice.

Methods. A nationwide survey was sent to 1997 pediatric residency graduates in May 1999. The American Medical Association Masterfile was used to identify pediatricians who met the criteria. The survey included questions about preparation and confidence in topics obtained from the Residency Review Committee guidelines for the newborn nursery. There were questions about duration of nursery experience, learning barriers, teaching preferences, current nursery responsibility, and practice location along with other information about the respondents.

Results. After 2 mailings, 801 surveys were received. Practice distribution was comparable to those who took the pediatric boards for the first time in 1997, and response was nationwide. Overall, 45% attend deliveries and 71% care for sick newborns. Respondents with only 1 month of normal newborn nursery felt this was insufficient preparation. Bedside teaching by faculty members was rated most highly. The most commonly rated areas of poor preparation were prenatal visits, perinatal infections, and management of breastfeeding issues.

Conclusions. The current structure of nursery training in many residency programs may be insufficient preparation for primary care practice. Results of this and future surveys of recent graduates provide evidence to direct changes in residency training.

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