Pain Medicine Fellowship Video Interviews: A COVID-19 Trend or Here to Stay?

Pain Physician. 2022 Mar;25(2):125-130.


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a shift to a video format for pain medicine fellowship interviews for the 2021-2022 academic year, which represented a major change in the fellowship interview paradigm.

Objectives: Our aim was to assess the experience of a video-only format in place of in-person interviews for Pain Medicine fellowship program directors and applicants after the 2020 fellowship interview season to determine the feasibility for continuation beyond COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Study design: Survey via Qualtrics.

Setting: Academic pain medicine programs.

Methods: A consortium of program directors converged to discuss methods for determining the effectiveness and future direction of the video format for pain medicine fellowship interviews. Two surveys were formulated, one targeting pain medicine fellowship program directors and the other for candidates interviewing for the year 2021-2022.

Results: For applicants, 55 out of 170 responded for a response rate of 32.3%, and for program directors, 38 out of 95 responded for a response rate of 40%. Of the applicants, 45.7% stated that they would prefer video interviews, whereas 27.3% of program directors preferred video interviews. Savings of time and money were the most common reason for preferring video interviews.

Limitations: The number of pain fellowship applicants invited was limited to those who interviewed at a subset of pain fellowships, which may not have been representative of all pain fellow applicants.

Conclusions: The video format for pain medicine fellowship interviews was viewed positively by both candidates and program directors. We suspect that the video format alone or as a part of a hybrid model will become a routine method for the interview process in the future, given its time and cost benefits.

Keywords: pain medicine fellowship; tele-interview; virtual interview; Video format interview.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Fellowships and Scholarships*
  • Humans
  • Pain
  • Pandemics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires