Virtual Interviews During COVID-19 Pandemic: A Survey of Applicants to Fellowships in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery

Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg. 2021 Sep 1;27(9):e626-e629. doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000001031.


Objectives: The objective was to assess female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery (FPMRS) fellowship applicants' perspectives on the effectiveness of the virtual interview format for creating their rank lists.

Methods: This was an anonymous internet-based survey study of applicants to the FPMRS fellowships in the United States, conducted from July 21, 2020, to August 5, 2020. A 34-item questionnaire queried applicants on satisfaction with interviews, comfort with creating a rank list and time, and financial cost of interviews. Applicants were invited to complete the survey via standardized emails distributed via the REDCap secure database.

Results: Forty-two (56.7%) of 74 applicants completed the survey. The majority of respondents were somewhat satisfied or very satisfied (92.9%) with the virtual interview process and felt comfortable ranking the programs (83.3%). A total of 9.8% of respondents found virtual interviews somewhat or much better than in-person interviews with regards to being informative and helpful, whereas 61% found them to be about the same. A majority (75.6%) found virtual interviews somewhat or much less stressful compared with in-person interviews. The majority (97.5%) spent less than $2,000 during the application process compared with more than $4,000 (87.8%) that they had anticipated spending if the interviews were in person.

Conclusions: Our data revealed that FPMRS applicants overall had a positive experience with the virtual interview platform and felt comfortable creating a rank list of programs based on those interviews.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fellowships and Scholarships*
  • Gynecology / education
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic*
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Urology / education
  • Videoconferencing*