AAPS, American Association of Plastic Surgeons
AAPS, American Association of Plastic Surgeons
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89th Annual Meeting Abstracts

An evaluation of fundamental resident selection factors by AAPS surgeons
Fan Liang, BA1, Robert Goldwyn, MD2, James W. May, Jr., MD3, Stuart Lipsitz, PhD4, Lifei Guo, MD, PhD4.
1Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA, 2Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA, 3Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA, 4Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

The purpose of this study is to assess which plastic surgery residency applicant qualities are deemed important by members of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons (AAPS). We hope that insights from this study will provide a quantitative metric by which evaluation criteria are prioritized during resident selection.
The authors distributed a survey to all members of AAPS and asked responders to rate the importance of various resident metrics, including traditional measures of competency, routinely valued personal characteristics, and generally avoided personal flaws. Demographic information collected in the survey included gender, years in practice, training background, nature of practice, interaction with residents, involvement in interviewing residents, if retired from operating, and whether the responder had served as a program director. Survey outcomes were analyzed across different demographic groups using Fisher’s Exact Test (FE) for discrete variables, Mantel-Haenszel Trend (MHT) test for interval variables, and Column Trend Exact (CTE) test for ordinal variables.
Of the 580 AAPS members who were surveyed, 295 returned completed surveys (51% response rate). Of the competency metrics evaluated, letters of recommendation from known sources stand out, followed by high intelligence, good dexterity, good spatial sense, medical school clerkship grades, and USMLE test scores. Interestingly, research productivity was low on the list, and ranked only slightly above artistic talent and letters of recommendation from unknown sources. Character evaluations identified honesty as a trait of paramount importance, followed by hard work, commitment to patients, being a team player, maturity, compassion, and personality revealed during the interview. The emphasis on honesty was corroborated in the assessment of negative applicant characteristics, whereby dishonesty was the most despised character flaw, followed by laziness, arrogance and narcissism. Further analysis of the survey results revealed significant differences across demographic groups, which indicated potential responder bias. Of particular relevance, academic surgeons and program directors valued letters from known sources more so than non-academicians or non- program directors (FE p= 0.005 and 0.009 respectively). While overall regard for research productivity ranked low on competency assessment, surgeons who frequently interview residents, as well as current program directors, regard research more highly than other surgeons (FE p= 0.043, p= 0.030, respectively). Character evaluations indicate that currently practicing surgeons, academicians, and program directors value hard work more so than others (FE p= 0.028, 0.018, 0.042, respectively). Program directors, in particular, place more emphasis on commitment to patients and maturity, and are less tolerant of narcissism (FE p= 0.009, 0.004, 0.002, respectively). Lastly, surgeons who either work with or interview residents frequently, particularly program directors and those in academic practices, look more favorably upon applicants who are strong team players (FE, all four p <0.05). However, this regard for being a team player weakens as a surgeon’s career progresses (MHT p= 0.006). CONCLUSION:
We have examined various resident applicant metrics that are deemed important by AAPS members and analyzed how different demographic groups view those metrics. We hope this will provide a framework to establish a comprehensive and fair system of selecting plastic surgery residency trainees.


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