Attrition in otolaryngology residency

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 Nov;145(5):753-4. doi: 10.1177/0194599811414495. Epub 2011 Jul 11.


Attrition is a disruptive problem in residency training programs. Resident attrition has been more thoroughly investigated and reported in other medical fields with limited data specific to otolaryngology. Using a Web-based survey of otolaryngology residency program directors, information regarding a 5-year cohort of residents was collected. The survey response rate was 61% (59 of 97 programs), representing 779 of 1239 training positions (63%). Forty-two percent of responding programs (25 of 59) lost a total of 47 residents (range, 1-7; mode 1). The overall attrition rate was 6% for the 5-year cohort (47 of 779) or 1.2% annually. Involuntary attrition affected 6 residents. Eighteen residents voluntarily left for other medical programs. Four left medicine entirely. The remaining 19 residents' career paths were not described. Attrition within otolaryngology occurs with less frequency than general surgery and is likely comparable to other surgical subspecialties.

MeSH terms

  • Career Choice
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Otolaryngology / education*
  • Student Dropouts / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States