Radiation Oncology Residency Selection: A Targeted Assessment of Factor Importance Among Fourth-Year Medical Students
International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics (Impact Factor: 4.26). 03/2014; 88(4):967–968. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2013.12.020
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ABSTRACT: Purpose The National Residency Matching Program Match is a very unique process in which applicants and programs are coupled to each other based on a ranking system. Although several studies have assessed features plastic surgery programs look for in applicants, no study in the present plastic surgery literature identifies which residency characteristics are most important to plastic surgery applicants. Therefore, we sought to perform a multi-institutional assessment as to which factors plastic surgery residency applicants consider most important when applying for residency. Methods A validated and anonymous questionnaire containing 37 items regarding various program characteristics was e-mailed to 226 applicants to New York University, Albany, University of Michigan, and University of Southern California plastic surgery residency programs. Applicants were asked to rate each feature on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most important. The 37 variables were ranked by the sum of the responses. The median rating and interquartile range as well as the mean for each factor was then calculated. A Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to compare medians in rank order. Results A total of 137 completed questionnaires were returned, yielding a 61% response rate. The characteristics candidates considered most important were impressions during the interview, experiences during away rotations, importance placed on resident training/support/mentoring by faculty, personal experiences with residents, and the amount of time spent in general surgery. The characteristics candidates considered least important were second-look experiences, compensation/benefits, program reputation from Internet forums, accessibility of program coordinator, opportunity for laboratory research, and fellowship positions available at the program. Conclusions Applicants value personal contact and time spent in general surgery when selecting residency programs. As the number of integrated programs continues to grow, programs will benefit from learning what factors their applicants value most.
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ABSTRACT: Purpose: Radiation oncology curriculum development is challenging because of limited numbers of trainees at any single institution. The goal of this project is to implement and evaluate a standardized medical student clerkship curriculum following the multi-institutional cooperative group research model. Methods: During the 2013 academic year, a standardized curriculum was implemented at 11 academic medical centers consisting of three 1-hour lectures and a hands-on radiation treatment planning workshop. After the curriculum, students completed anonymous evaluations using Likert-type scales (1 = "not at all" to 5 = "extremely") and free responses. Evaluations asked students to rate their comfort, before and after the curriculum, with radiation oncology as a specialty, knowledge of radiotherapy planning methods, and ability to function as a radiation oncology resident. Nonparametric statistical tests were used in the analysis. Results: Eighty-eight students at 11 academic medical centers completed the curriculum de novo, with a 72.7% (64 of 88) survey response rate. Fifty-seven students (89.1%) reported intent to pursue radiation oncology as their specialty. Median (interquartile range) student ratings of the importance of curricular content were as follows: overview, 4 (4-5); radiation biology/physics, 5 (4-5); practical aspects/emergencies, 5 (4-5); and planning workshop, 4 (4-5). Students reported that the curriculum helped them better understand radiation oncology as a specialty (5 [4-5]), increased specialty decision comfort (4 [3-5]), and would help the transition to radiation oncology residency (4 [4-5]). Students rated their specialty decision comfort significantly higher after completing the curriculum (4 [4-5] versus 5 [5-5]; P < .001). Conclusions: A national standardized curriculum was successfully implemented at 11 academic medical centers, providing proof of principle that curriculum development can follow the multi-institutional cooperative group research model.
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