Stakeholder Perspectives on Standardizing the Residency Application and Interview Processes

J Surg Educ. 2020 Nov 13;S1931-7204(20)30423-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2020.11.002. Online ahead of print.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine stakeholder perspectives on recommended standards for the obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) residency application and interview processes proposed for the 2019 to 2020 application cycle. The authors aimed to assess the acceptance and perception of key stakeholders on the feasibility of implementing the standards as well as the effect of these changes on applicant anxiety.

Design and setting: The authors electronically distributed an anonymous survey in February 2020 to OBGYN residency applicants, clerkship directors, student affairs deans, program directors, and program managers. Participants received a 15-item survey, with questions assessing the importance and adoption of the guidelines, as well as their effect on perceived applicants' anxiety. Responses were measured on a 5-item Likert scale. Multiple regression analysis was used to explore which residency factors were associated with compliance with the standards. IRB exemption was granted by the University of Michigan.

Participants: A total of 1358 participants completed the survey for an overall response rate of 39.26%. Response rates were 36.04% for applicants (904/2508), 46.67% for CDs (105/225), 34.84% for members of GSAs (34/155), 59.43% for program directors (167/281), and 51.03% for program managers (148/290).

Results: The overall response rate was 39.26% (1358/3459) with 36.04% of applicants (904/2508), 46.67% of clerkship directors (105/225), 34.84% of student affairs deans (34/155), 59.43% of program directors (167/281), and 51.03% of program managers (148/290). The recommendations were perceived as important by all stakeholders. More than 90% of program directors reported compliance with some or all of the recommendations and more than 90% of all applicants, clerkship directors and student affairs deans reported that the standards reduced applicant anxiety. All stakeholders rated each guideline to be important to extremely important.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates the feasibility and acceptance of universal standards for the residency application process in the field of OBGYN. The vast majority of stakeholders surveyed supported the initiative and participated in the guidelines. Applicant respondents perceived the guidelines to be important and to decrease anxiety surrounding the application and interview timelines. These findings are important for other specialties when considering similar interventions.

Keywords: graduate medical education; interviews; residency applications; residency selection; standard timeline.