Hospitals' communication during residency matching may put stress on OB-GYN doctors-in-training

June 26, 2012

Many hospitals offer residency programs for doctors in training, allowing them to complete the education needed to become practicing physicians. Hospitals find those residents using National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) rules, but a new study finds wide variation in the interpretation of those rules.

The NRMP rules are intended to minimize pressure on residency candidates, says lead author Diana S. Curran, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., residency program director for the U-M Department of . But her study, published in the Journal of Graduate Medical Education, found that the rules may instead be leading to stress for both OB-GYN residents and program directors.

The results suggest that programs may be communicating their match intentions, especially to favored candidates. Curran and her co-authors surveyed OB-GYN residency program directors across the United States in an .

The majority of (76.6%) reported that their programs initiated contact with residency candidates after interviewing them either all of the time (28.7%), most of the time (21.3%) or sometimes (26.6%). Only 23.4% reported never initiating post-interview contact with candidates.

Eighty-four percent of the program directors reported that candidates asked about their ranking status after the interview, with 1.1% reporting that they informed the candidate about his/her chance and 16.0% reporting that they provide a vague answer to candidate inquiries. Sixty-percent of programs informed inquiring candidates that their rank could not be revealed, however 51.5% also reported that highly desirable candidates might be contacted to inform them they were ranked to match.

"Our program here at the University of Michigan has a policy of minimal to no communication with candidates after their interview day to avoid any potential impropriety or placing undue pressure on candidates to state their intentions. We instituted a practice change to inform candidates on their interview day to not expect a call or e-mail from us, but the candidates' feedback suggested that perhaps other programs were communicating more frequently with candidates during the pre-rank period. This study seems to support that," says Curran, who also is assistant professor of OB-GYN at U-M.

Curran says U-M has minimal, if any, post-interview contact with candidates, which is the University's interpretation of NRMP rules.

"Our experience is that both candidates and faculty are not always sure what the rules permit," says Curran. "Many of the responding program directors believe that candidates and programs attempt to guess what the other is trying to communicate and that game playing is part of the routine. We asked program directors to comment during the survey, and they showed frustration with the post-interview, pre-Match process."

Curran and her co-authors say adherence to NRMP rules are crucial in the very stressful match process. OB-GYN residency programs are competing for a large pool of highly qualified candidates: in 2009 the number of match candidates exceeded the number of existing positions in the specialty by 611 residents.

"We hope this study spurs discussion between OB-GYN program directors, the NRMP, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and medical schools is to help restore trust in the original purpose of the NRMP: to protect candidates from inappropriate pressure," says Curran.

Explore further: Survey finds surgical interns concerned about training duty-hour restrictions

More information: Journal of Graduate Medical Education. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.4300/JGME-D-11-00114.1

Related Stories

Survey finds surgical interns concerned about training duty-hour restrictions

June 18, 2012
A survey of surgical interns suggests many of them believe that new duty-hour restrictions will decrease continuity with patients, coordination of care and time spent operating, as well as reduce their acquisition of medical ...

Recommended for you

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

Best of Last Year – The top Medical Xpress articles of 2016

December 23, 2016
(Medical Xpress)—It was a big year for research involving overall health issues, starting with a team led by researchers at the UNC School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health who unearthed more evidence that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.