The Effectiveness of Pediatric Residency Education in Preparing Graduates to Manage Neurological and Neurobehavioral Issues in Practice

Grant, Elizabeth MD; Macnab, Andrew MD, FRCPCH; Wambera, Katherine MD, FRCPC

Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31803080c8
Resident' Education

Purpose: Pediatricians are required to manage a variety of neurodevelopmental conditions. In this study, the authors surveyed self-assessment of competency by recent graduates of the University of British Columbia (UBC) pediatric residency training program in various areas of pediatric neurology, from acute care to behavioral assessments.

Method: Forty-six questionnaires were mailed or e-mailed between October 2002 and September 2004 to UBC pediatrics program graduates of 1998–2004. The 29-item questionnaire consisted of 26 questions on a six-point scale and asked respondents to rate their ability to manage specific neurological and developmental symptoms and conditions. Also, three open-ended questions asked respondents which topics required less emphasis or more emphasis and which were appropriate for continuing medical education (CME). Descriptive statistical analyses were performed.

Results: A total of 39 questionnaires (85% response rate) were completed and returned. The results indicate that 74% of pediatric graduates feel that more of the neurology portion of residency training should be spent on general pediatric behavioral and neurological conditions (e.g., attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or developmental delay) and would choose to attend CME on these areas, and 28% of respondents would preferto receive less training on complex neurological problems that are managed at a subspecialty level (e.g., chronic refractory seizures).

Conclusions: Pediatric residents need sufficient, specific training to enable them to competently investigate and manage the neurobehavioral complaints and conditions commonly encountered by general pediatricians in both their office and hospital practice.

Author Information

Dr. Grant is a pediatric resident, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Vancouver, Canada.

Dr. Macnab is Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Vancouver, Canada.

Dr. Wambera is a pediatric neurologist, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Neurology, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Vancouver, Canada.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Grant, Department of Pediatrics, Rm 2D19, BC Children's Hospital, 4480 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6H 3V4; fax: (604) 875-2890; e-mail: (

Editor's Note: A Commentary on this Research Report appears on page 219.

© 2007 Association of American Medical Colleges