Recruiting strategies for potential 0+5 vascular residency applicants.
BACKGROUND: The 0+5 integrated vascular residency training pathway was established in 2006 to allow for trainee-focused training culminating in vascular surgery certification only. An early concern was whether enough medical students could be recruited directly into a vascular internship without the exposure that a general surgery residency provides. We hypothesized that programs that send a large percentage of their general surgical graduates to vascular fellowships have models that can be adapted to medical student recruitment. METHODS: Opinions and practices were sought from program directors through survey and from trainees taking the Vascular Surgery In-Training Examination. RESULTS: Eight programs were identified that sent 20% or more of their residents to vascular fellowships over the past 5 years (projecting a mean of 1.6 residents entering vascular fellowships in 2011). Almost all such programs have a formal mentoring system in place that match mentors to residents by interest, and almost all send residents to academic meetings before their senior year. Seventy-five percent of such programs have formal vascular lecture exposure to the first and second year medical student classes, offer clinical shadowing experiences, and have time on the vascular service during the MS3 clerkship; 83% offer a third- or fourth-year elective in vascular surgery. Vascular Surgery In-Training Examination responses were collected from 156 fellows and 13 "0+5" residents. Although fellows had initially been attracted to vascular surgery by the technical aspects of the field learned during residency (43%), the most important factor initially attracting medical students was an interested mentor (46%). However, the most important factor for both residents and students in making a final decision was the technical aspects of the field (66% and 63%, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Although residents are automatically exposed to the field during residency, students can only be exposed to vascular surgery if a conscious effort is made by interested educators. Programs that send a high proportion of students and residents into vascular surgery tend to have planned exposure at the MS1 and MS2 levels, formal clinical rotations in place at the MS3 and MS4 levels, and pay personal attention to those who display interest. A guide is presented to help specifically plan these steps. Successful recruiting of students into a 0+5 integrated training program requires specific planning and action.
Illig, KA; Kalata, E; Reed, A; Glass, C; Gillespie, DL
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