Resident Selection: An Orthopaedic Program Director Survey


As the competitiveness of orthopaedic surgery residency increases, we sought to determine whether program and Program Director (PD) characteristics influence candidate selection. This novel 19-question survey reviews PDs’ opinions and practices in resident selection. Response rate was 31% (63/203). Performance during orthopaedic rotations, United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) scores, and clerkship honors were the top three ranked criteria, with USMLE scores used to screen candidates for interviews (70%) and rotations (43%). PDs practicing < 10 years felt USMLE scores reflect resident quality, while those practicing >10 years felt they reflect ability to pass the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery exam. Most (81%) accept applicants with low scores. PDs > 66 years old emphasized academic honors and Dean’s letters, PDs 46–55 emphasized conscientiousness, and PDs practicing >21 years emphasized dexterity. PD demographics such as age, time in practice, and geographic location affect how they approach candidate selection. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 31(1):042– 047, 2022)

Key words: resident selection, orthopaedic resident selection, program director survey, residency application, USMLE Step 1, grit

Alexis B. Sandler, BA; John P. Scanaliato, MD; Dawn M. LaPorte, MD; Leon Nesti, MD, PhD; and John C. Dunn, MD