Programs selection criteria for neurological surgery applicants in the United States: a national survey for neurological surgery program directors

Kenan Al Khalili, Nohra Chalouhi, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, L Fernando Gonzalez, Robert M Starke, Robert Rosenwasser, Pascal Jabbour
World Neurosurgery 2014, 81 (3-4): 473-477.e2

OBJECTIVES: To determine the criteria used by neurosurgery resident selection committees in different programs and to assess the process of selection.

METHODS: A questionnaire based on the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) guidelines was mailed to all 100 neurosurgery residency program directors in August 2011. Items included related to selection process, factors affecting decision, and degree of satisfaction by the process. Responses were recorded by the use of 4- and 3-point Likert scales of importance. Mean values were used to create rank orders of selection criteria. Multivariate analysis was conducted to determine predictors of long-term satisfaction with resident selection.

RESULTS: The overall response rate was 46%. In the selection process the most important factors (>3.0) were the interview process (mean ± SD = 3.80 ± 0.65), United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE I) (3.58 ± 0.54), and letters of recommendations (3.56 ± 0.54). High satisfaction with selected residents was recorded in 60.86% of program directors. In multivariate analysis, predictors of long-term satisfaction with resident selection included less emphasis on letters of recommendation (P = 0.037) and greater weight on applicant extramural activity (P = 0.038).

CONCLUSION: Interview process, USMLE I, and letters of recommendations were the most important factors affecting residents selection. Most of the program directors are satisfied by this process and applicants pool as it reflects somehow their performance during residency.

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