The effort and outcomes of the Pediatric Surgery match process: Are we interviewing too many?

Gadepalli, S. K.; Downard, C. D.; Thatch, K. A.; Islam, S.; Azarow, K. S.; Chen, M. K.; Lillehei, C. W.; Puligandla, P. S.; Reynolds, M.; Waldhausen, J. H.; Oldham, K. T.; Langham, M. R., Jr.; Tracy, T. F., Jr.; Hirschl, R. B.

J Pediatr Surg. 2015 Jul 15

Abstract

PURPOSE: Increasing numbers of programs participating in the pediatric surgery match has resulted in economic and logistical issues for candidates, General Surgery residencies, and Pediatric Surgery training programs (PSTP). We sought to determine the ideal number of interviews conducted by programs based on resultant rank order lists (ROL) of matched candidates. METHODS: PSTPs received 4 online surveys regarding interview practices (2011-2012, 2014), and matched candidate ROL (2008-2010, 2012, 2014). Program directors (PD) also provided estimates regarding minimum candidate interview numbers necessary for an effective match (2011-2012, 2014). Kruskal-Wallis equality-of-populations rank tests compared ROL and interview numbers conducted. Quartile regression predicted ROL based on the interview numbers. Wilcoxon signed rank-sum tests compared the interview numbers to the minimal interview number using a matched pair. p Values<0.05 were significant. RESULTS: Survey response rates ranged from 85-100%. Median ROL of matched candidates (2-3.5) did not differ between programs (p=0.09) and the lowest matched ROL for any year was 10-12. Interview numbers did not affect the final candidate ROL (p=0.22). While PDs thought the minimum median interview number should be 20, the number actually conducted was significantly higher (p<0.001). CONCLUSION: These data suggest that PSTPs interview excessive numbers of candidates. Programs and applicants should evaluate mechanisms to reduce interviews to limit costs and effort associated with the match.

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