Integrated Vascular Surgery Residency (IVSR) is among the most competitive specialties, but little is known about the applicant perspective. The COVID-19 outbreak impacted the 2021 IVSR match due to travel restrictions. We sought to better understand pre-pandemic applicant recruitment strategies, logistics of away rotations, and the residency interview process to identify areas for improvement in the application process.An anonymous survey was sent to matched students in 2020, inquiring about motivations for pursuing VS, logistic of away rotations and interviews, and factors influencing students' rank lists.Seventy of the 73 matched students completed the survey (95.9% response rate). The median age was 27 (25-41), 32.9% were female, 91.4% were US medical students, and 77.1% were from institutions with a VS training program. Factors most strongly influencing the decision to choose VS as a career were interest in open vascular procedures, endovascular procedures, perceived job satisfaction, emerging technologies, and influence of a mentor. The prospect of the job market, future salary, and competitiveness of the application process had the least impact. Of the matched students, 82.9% completed an away rotation (median 2; range 1-4), with 51.7% of students paying a total cost of more than $2500. Fifty percent of students matched either at their home institution or where they had performed an away rotation. Students reported application submissions to a median of 50 programs (range 1-70) and interviewed at 17 (range 1-28), with 40% of students paying a total of more than $4000 for interview costs. The most significant factors affecting students' rank lists included: program culture, open aortic surgical volume, geography, and complex endovascular procedure volume. Tours of facilities, resident salary, and male/female distribution had the least importance.Successfully matched applicants in 2020 prioritized operative case volume and program collegiality when ranking programs. Despite their high cost, away rotations played an important role in the Match, suggesting that time spent at potential institutions allowed ideal assessment of factors for students. The high average number of away rotations and in-person interviews performed in 2019-2020 was limited for the 2021 Match due to COVID-19 restrictions. Programs will have to continue developing creative alternatives or additions to away rotations and the application processes to assure continued success in future post-pandemic Match cycles.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jvs.2021.05.014
View details for PubMedID 34023431