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Travis Redd, Akshay Thomas, Thomas S Hwang; Improving the Transition to Ophthalmology Residency: A Survey of First-Year Ophthalmology Residents. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):5578. doi: https://doi.org/.
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The transition from internship to residency is a highly stressful period for ophthalmologists in training. This study quantifies the impact of this process and identifies ways to ease the transition.
A 20-question electronic survey was sent to all directors of accredited ophthalmology residency programs in the US for distribution to their 1st year trainees. Statistical analysis included frequency tables and comparative testing using χ2 and t-tests.
91 1st year residents responded, with an unknown denominator (minimum response rate 20%). 63% identified the transition to ophthalmologic training as more stressful than internship. Residents did little advance preparation for ophthalmology residency, and 50% regretted this. Comparative testing showed that independent preparation (p 0.002) and doing an ophthalmology rotation during internship (p 0.04) significantly reduced stress, and that those doing a transitional year were significantly more likely to do either (p 0.008). During orientation to ophthalmology residency, trainees identified hands-on exam sessions as most helpful, and didactic sessions as least helpful. Comparative testing showed that orientations dedicating more time to exam skills (p 0.005) and relationship-building (p 0.04) were associated with significantly lower stress, while residents who felt inadequately oriented to logistics (p 0.01) and had relatively shorter buddy-call systems (p 0.02) were significantly more stressed.
This survey identified the transition to ophthalmology residency as a highly stressful period. Key findings include: 1) Time spent preparing for ophthalmology residency is crucial to easing this transition. 2) A transitional PGY-1 year affords more opportunity to prepare for ophthalmology residency than preliminary medicine or surgery. 3) Orientations which provide more hands-on experience, relationship-building, and familiarity with logistics reduce stress among new residents, whereas longer orientations and didactic teaching do not. 4) Longer buddy-call systems produce significantly lower stress. These results can inform better independent preparation on the part of trainees and development of more effective orientation programs among ophthalmology residencies.
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