A Resource to Address the Needs of Dermatology Residents

As they build the foundation for careers in dermatology, residents require resources for professional development and opportunities to share research and didactic case reports.

By Ashish C. Bhatia, MD and Jeffrey T. S. Hsu, MD

It was not long ago that we were dermatology residents and fellows ourselves. Dermatology residency can be one of the most exciting and stressful times in the life of a budding dermatologist. This is the time to establish the foundation of knowledge and acquire and hone the clinical skills required to diagnose and treat diseases of the skin, hair, nails, and mucus membranes, while setting a course for one's professional life post-residency. Certainly opportunities exist to modify one's professional plans following residency. Our specialty features many prominent and successful colleagues whose biographies attest to the versatility of practice opportunities. Nonetheless, the skills, experience, and perspective gained during residency will be key to a successful, productive, satisfying, and enjoyable career in dermatology.

Data and anecdotal reports confirm that while dermatology residents are generally pleased with the quality of programs in the US, there are areas of need. In fact, surveys of dermatology residents in 2005 and 2006 found that more than three-quarters (77 percent in 2005 and 76 percent in 2006) of dermatologists in training scored programs at or above 7 on a 10-point rating scale.1 Residents who reported spending 30 minutes or more (beyond time in clinics and the classroom) per month with a mentor had highest levels of satisfaction with their programs.

While peer teaching, medical dermatology training, pathology slide sessions, and live patient conferences generally earned high scores from survey respondents, the areas associated with lowest levels of satisfaction were business management and dermoscopy training. Results identified discrepancies between residents' perceived importance of business management, time for independent study, and responsiveness to resident input and their actual satisfaction with these.

In efforts to support dermatology residents and help respond to unmet needs, we are launching a new department designed specifically to address topics of interest to dermatology residents. In addition to using this department as an opportunity to provide important resources to dermatology residents (such as practice planning, professional development advice, and discussions of life after residency), this new department will present opportunities for dermatology residents to present and share knowledge with their resident peers as well as Practical Dermatology's general readership.

Future installments of this column will include original submissions by dermatology residents and dermatologists with an interest in supporting residents. Dermatology residents are encouraged to submit articles, original research, and unique case reports of interest to their peers. Submissions should be accompanied by discussion that describes the relevance of the information provided to dermatologists in training as well as all dermatologists.

Practical articles addressing issues such as leadership, conflict resolution, and studying for the boards are also encouraged. Practice and patient management pearls and tips for clinical success are welcome.

We intend for the new column to become a venue by and for residents and physicians interested in education and to provide a forum to address key consideration specific to dermatology residents.

To suggest ideas, receive author guidelines, or submit content for consideration, please e-mail pwinnington@bmctoday.com


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About Practical Dermatology

Practical Dermatology is the monthly publication that provides coverage of medical care, cosmetic advancements, and practice management for clinicians in the field. With straight-forward, how-to advice from experts in various fields, we strive to enhance quality of care and improve the daily operation of dermatology practices.