To match or not: factors influencing resident choice of graduate medical education program.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the factors that influence applicants' decisions to select a graduate medical education training program. Programs may improve their recruitment by better understanding that process. METHODS: Following the Match for the years 2008 though 2010, an electronic survey was sent to 664 applicants to 15 Duke University graduate medical education programs. Those individuals were ranked high enough to match to Duke University but chose to match at another institution. We used quantitative and qualitative analyses to explore factors influencing candidates' decisions and to identify program and institutional improvements to better attract top candidates. RESULTS: Response rate was 63% (417/664). The quantitative analysis identified factors that were "very important" to applicants (current resident satisfaction, relationship between faculty and residents, collegiality of current residents, quantity and quality of faculty content/mentoring, faculty teaching expertise, diversity of patients and types of procedures, and location), and those that were "not important" to applicants (child care or education opportunities for children, salary, United States Medical Licensing Examination requirements, part-time training options, favorable environment for minorities or women). There were statistically significant differences among specialties. Qualitative analysis identified 3 themes as most influential in their choice: location, program relationships, and the interview experience. CONCLUSION: The collection of 3 years of data across specialties identified factors that are important to applicants' choice of a training program. Some factors can be addressed quickly and with little effort, such as the format of the interview day. Others require programs and institutions to revisit their mission, priorities, and training culture to improve relationships between residents and faculty. Programs may wish to be more tactical in selecting the residents and faculty who meet with applicants and be more focused in planning how the interview time is used.
Nagler, A; Andolsek, K; Schlueter, J; Weinerth, J
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