Background and objective Both family medicine applicants and programs dedicate significant resources to the interview process, a time for both parties to make an impression on the other in an attempt to find their best match. Despite the importance of this process, little research has been completed to ensure the process efficiently addresses applicant preferences on interview day and the surrounding process. This study aimed to determine the factors influencing the family medicine applicant preferences regarding the pre-interview, interview, and post-interview ranking process. Methods The study method was a cross-sectional electronic survey utilizing anonymous questionnaires that assessed demographics, pre-interview, interview, post-interview ranking preference, and applicants' experiences applying to a community-based family medicine residency program after their interview for the 2020 application cycle. Results Out of the 106 family medicine applicants, 48 responded; 52.08% were males, 52.5% were married, 58.33% applicants were from the osteopathic medical school, 33.33% were from the allopathic Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) non accredited medical school/international medical graduates (IMG's), and 8.33% were from the allopathic LCME accredited medical schools. Free hotel accommodation was not offered from half of the programs to 27.8% of the applicants in the 2020 match cycle (pre-pandemic). Respondents favored electronic means of scheduling interviews with a positive experience with the online self-scheduling Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) calendar. A significantly higher proportion of IMGs applied to a higher number of family medicine programs followed by the osteopathic applicants. There was no statistical difference found between osteopathic and allopathic applicants for the number of programs they got invited to; however, the difference was significant for osteopathic and allopathic LCME accredited applicants who interviewed and ranked programs in the range of 11-20 (62.96%, p=0.0013 and 66.67%, p=0.0018, respectively). The respondents' most important experiences were interviewing the program director, faculty members, and tour the hospital facility. When ranking programs, these family medicine applicants considered the strength of program training, the quality of current residents, and the program's geographic location as the top three most significant factors, with mean importance ratings of 5.08, 5.02, and 4.35, respectively. Applicants also considered how the current residents perceive the program director, prior teaching experience, and program diversity with mean importance ratings of 3.42, 2.89, and 2.09, respectively. Conclusion Although applicants' preferences for family medicine residency programs are similar to generally reported by The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) surveys, some key differences do exist. The program leadership should consider these preferences from the candidates' perspective for a successful match in family medicine residency on both sides.
Keywords: community hospital; family medicine residency program; img; lcme-accredited; osteopathic schools; residency interview; residency match.
Copyright © 2020, Waheed et al.