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Participation in Therapeutic Camp: a Valuable Experience for Medical Trainees

Marley E Burns, Nicole M Fenton, Karina S Javalkar, Sarah E Cohen, Cara J Haberman, Maria E Ferris


Purpose: The benefits of therapeutic camp for children with chronic conditions have been clearly delineated. However, medical trainees’ experiences at therapeutic camp have yet to be explored. This study characterizes pediatric fellows who have participated in therapeutic camp at any point in their training and assesses the impact of the camp experience.

Procedures:  An anonymous 13-question online survey about therapeutic camps was deployed to medical trainees. Basic demographic and training information was collected, as well as details of the trainees’ therapeutic camp experience. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted using a mixed-methods approach.

Findings:  A total of 382 pediatric subspecialty trainees participated in this study. While the majority of respondents had never participated in therapeutic camp (261, 68.3%), 97.5% of those who had participated reported a positive experience. Trainees described camp as a time of medical growth (22.9%), a rewarding experience (19.8%), and a means of appreciating children with chronic conditions in a normal atmosphere (11.5%). Many trainees also reported that the experience had an effect on their subspecialty choice; specifically, those who participated in a therapeutic camp were significantly more likely to select a chronic illness subspecialty (X2=.92, p=.05).

Conclusions: Medical trainees benefit from the therapeutic camp experience. More opportunities should be offered to allow trainees this exposure.


pediatric training, therapeutic camp, chronic medical condition, chronic illness, career planning

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