Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University professors recently published research showing that U.S. medical students typically apply to more than 40 residency programs in their last year of medical school, despite a high likelihood of employment.
“There’s been this inexorable
intensification of the residency selection process such that it’s basically
taken over the fourth year of medical school,” Brown Professor of
Pediatrics Dr. Phil Gruppuso, a former associate dean for medical education, said.
“It so dominates student time and energy during the fourth year that it’s
become very difficult to do any curriculum planning.”
According to the study, published by
Gruppuso and Dr. Eli Adashi in Academic Medicine, medical students in the U.S.
averaged 45.7 applications for residency programs in 2015, with that figure
rising even higher for competitive specialties.
While rates or acceptance to
residency programs have fallen since the mid 1970s, the study contends that
the drop reflects growing numbers of foreign applicants and applicants who are
not medical students. M.D. graduates in the U.S. receive 1.5 offers on average, and their likelihood to be matched to their top choice of programs has landed between 50 and 60 percent consistently since 1997.
“At the end of the day, if you are a U.S.
medical school graduate, you are virtually assured of getting a job,” Gruppuso
said. “There’s an irrationality about it that is different than when most
people are looking for a job and are running the risk of not finding one.”
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