Success in the Pediatric Surgery Match: a survey of the 2010 applicant pool

J Pediatr Surg. 2011 May;46(5):957-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2011.02.030.


Background/purpose: Traditionally, basic science research and publication record have led to a successful Pediatric Surgery Match. With changing applicant research backgrounds, we evaluated if these or other factors still apply.

Methods: A SurveyMonkey questionnaire was distributed to 57 applicants with known contact information. We assessed demographic/financial data, application details and match results, research experience, publications, presence of a pediatric surgery fellowship at their home program, and applicant ranking criteria.

Results: Forty-three (75%) responses were received. Twenty-five candidates matched, 12 (48%) to 1 of their first 3 choices. The median number of programs applied to was similar for matched and unmatched candidates (30), but matched candidates attended more interviews (21 vs 14.5; P = .03). Matched applicants had more publications (9.5 vs 5.1; P = .03), although research experience was similar to unmatched candidates. Research focus for matched vs total applicants included basic science (5 vs 12), clinical (4 vs 6), and both (11 vs 16). Five candidates matched without research experience. Ten (40%) applicants matched to institutions where they completed residency/research/fellowship training. Twelve (49%) applicants matched from programs without a fellowship program.

Conclusion: A strong publication record remains important, although clinical research is being valued more. Candidates from nonfellowship programs can be successful. This information may be useful to mentor future applicants and lays the foundation for a critical evaluation of the match process.

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Authorship
  • Biomedical Research
  • Canada
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Data Collection
  • Fellowships and Scholarships
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / economics
  • Internship and Residency / organization & administration*
  • Internship and Residency / statistics & numerical data
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Personnel Selection
  • Specialties, Surgical / education*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires