For Love, Not Money: The Financial Implications of Surgical Fellowship Training
Surgical residents cite “increased income potential” as a motivation for pursuing fellowship training, despite little evidence supporting this perception. Thus, our goal is to quantify the financial impact of surgical fellowship training on financial career value. By using Medical Group Management Association and Association of American Medical Colleges physician income data, and accounting for resident salary, student debt, a progressive tax structure, and forgone wages associated with prolonged training, we generated a net present value (NPV) for both generalist and subspecialist surgeons. By comparing generalist and subspecialist career values, we determined that cardiovascular (ΔNPV = $698,931), pediatric ($430,964), thoracic ($239,189), bariatric ($166,493), vascular ($96,071), and transplant ($46,669) fellowships improve career value. Alternatively, trauma (−$11,374), colorectal (−$44,622), surgical oncology (−$203,021), and breast surgery (−$326,465) fellowships all reduce career value. In orthopedic surgery, spine ($505,198), trauma ($123,250), hip and joint ($60,372), and sport medicine ($56,167) fellowships improve career value, whereas shoulder and elbow (−$4,539), foot and ankle (−$173,766), hand (−$366,300), and pediatric (−$489,683) fellowships reduce career NPV. In obstetrics and gynecology, reproductive endocrinology ($352,854), and maternal and fetal medicine ($322,511) fellowships improve career value, whereas gynecology oncology (−$28,101) and urogynecology (−$206,171) fellowships reduce career value. These data indicate that the financial return of fellowship is highly variable.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of General Surgery, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
Publication date: 01 September 2016
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