Trends in NRMP Data from 2007-2014 for U.S. Seniors Matching into Emergency Medicine

West J Emerg Med. 2017 Jan;18(1):105-109. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2016.10.31237. Epub 2016 Nov 23.


Introduction: Since 1978, the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) has published data demonstrating characteristics of applicants who have matched into their preferred specialty in the NRMP main residency match. These data have been published approximately every two years. There is limited information about trends within these published data for students matching into emergency medicine (EM). Our objective was to investigate and describe trends in NRMP data to include the following: the ratio of applicants to available EM positions; United State Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 and Step 2 scores (compared to the national means); number of programs ranked; and Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (AOA) membership among U.S. seniors matching into EM.

Methods: This was a retrospective observational review of NRMP data published between 2007 and 2016. We analyzed the data using analysis of variance (ANOVA) or Kruskal-Wallis testing, and Fischer's exact or chi-squared testing, as appropriate to determine statistical significance.

Results: The ratio of applicants to available EM positions remained essentially stable from 2007 to 2014 but did increase slightly in 2016. We observed a net upward trend in overall Step 1 and Step 2 scores for EM applicants. However, this did not outpace the national trend increase in Step 1 and 2 scores overall. There was an increase in the mean number of programs ranked by EM applicants over the years studied from 7.8 (SD4.2) to 9.2 (SD5.0, p<0.001), driven predominantly by the cohort of U.S. students successful in the match. Among time intervals, there was a difference in the number of EM applicants with AOA membership (p=0.043) due to a drop in the number of AOA students in 2011. No sustained statistical trend in AOA membership was identified over the seven-year period studied.

Conclusion: NRMP data demonstrate trends among EM applicants that are similar to national trends in other specialties for USMLE board scores, and a modest increase in number of programs ranked. AOA membership was largely stable. EM does not appear to have become more competitive relative to other specialties or previous years in these categories.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Career Choice*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Emergency Medicine / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / trends*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States