Defining the Applicant Pool for Postgraduate Year-2 Categorical General Surgery Positions

Weston Stover, Sujata Gill, Kim Schenarts, A. Alfred Chahine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: In the spring of 2010, a categorical general surgery postgraduate year (PGY)-2 position became available at our academic medical center secondary to attrition of a PGY-1 resident. We sought to study the unique characteristics of applicants to that position and to describe the selection process with hopes to stimulate additional studies about the unique challenges of recruiting applicants into advanced standing positions. Design: Applications were received via e-mail and reviewed to characterize the applicant pool. An Excel spreadsheet was used to organize data. Characteristics assessed included United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) scores, Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates status, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society status, sex, academic performance, number of case logs, volunteer and job experience, leadership roles, research experience including submissions, and advanced degrees. These characteristics were compared to those of the PGY-1 applicants through the Match that year. Setting: Academic medical center. Participants: Applicants for a categorical general surgery PGY-2 position in 2010. Results: A total of 129 applicants provided the requested documents. There were 104 males, 25 females, no Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society candidates, and 82 international candidates. Of all, 46 candidates experienced academic difficulties. Quantitative averages include USMLE 1: 214.17, USMLE 2: 215.74, American Board of Surgery In Training Examination (ABSITE) percentile = 51.96, ABSITE 2 = 46.00, grand total case log: 192.10. Advanced degrees included 2 MBAs, 6 MPHs, and 7 nonphysiology MSs. The selection process to fill the position started on 3/25/2010 when the announcement was published and ended on 5/11/2010 when the offer of acceptance was sent. The selected applicant integrated well with the peers and just graduated from our residency as one of the leaders of the graduating class. Conclusions: Although the attrition rate in general surgery remains high, there is a dearth of literature about how best to replace residents. The hardship of replacing residents highlights the importance of studying this group to improve the recruitment process and the quality of replacement residents. The selection process was time consuming and presented its own challenges given the lack of a computerized system for screening. It lasted nearly 7 weeks requiring faculty time commitment to mine through application data/e-mails, correspond with applicants, conduct interviews, and ultimately select an applicant for the position. This is the first study to investigate the applicant pool to advanced standing positions in general surgery and we present it as a pilot study to stimulate further research efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)870-876
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Patient Care
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
  • Professionalism
  • Systems-Based Practice
  • advanced standing positions
  • attrition
  • general surgery
  • match
  • replacement residents
  • selection process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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