Factors and Behaviors Related to the Promotion of Pediatric Hospital Medicine Fellow Autonomy: A Qualitative Study of Faculty

Jennifer Maniscalco, Elizabeth Davis, Anna Card Gay, Victoria Ward, Jayne Truckenbrod, Sarah F. Denniston, Caroline E. Rassbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To identify factors that influence faculty to promote or reduce the expression of autonomy for pediatric hospital medicine (PHM) fellows and describe behaviors faculty employ to support fellow autonomy in the clinical setting. Methods: This was a multicenter, qualitative study using semistructured interviews with core faculty in PHM fellowships. Data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using a phenomenological approach. Each transcript was coded independently by 2 trained reviewers who then met to reconcile differences. Codes were identified using an iterative approach and organized into themes. Investigators engaged in peer debriefing during data collection, and member checking confirmed the results. Results: Interviews were conducted December 2016 to January 2017 with 20 faculty from 5 PHM fellowships. Most participants were female (12, 60%) and assistant (13, 65%) or associate (6, 30%) professors. Data analysis yielded 6 themes. Themes reflect the importance of faculty experience, style, and approach to balancing patient care with education in the provision of autonomy for PHM fellows. Faculty appreciation for the role of autonomy in medical education, investment in their roles as educators, and investment in PHM fellowship training are also influential factors. Finally, fellow clinical, educational, leadership, and communication skills influence the provision of autonomy. Faculty employ various levels of supervision, scaffolding techniques, and direct observation with feedback to support fellow autonomy. Professional development was considered essential for developing these skills. Conclusions: We identified 6 themes related to faculty provision of autonomy to PHM fellows, as well as strategies employed by faculty to support fellow autonomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-711
Number of pages9
JournalAcademic pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • autonomy
  • clinical fellow
  • pediatric hospital medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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