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Samuel Beckstead, Michael Wilkinson, Ingrid Scott; Surgical Aptitude Testing Among Ophthalmology Residency Applicants: Perspectives of Residency Program Directors. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):5512.
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Mastery of surgical aptitude milestones are required to graduate from residency and become board certified in ophthalmology. Current ophthalmology resident application metrics have come under scrutiny as they do not directly assess surgical aptitude. This study investigates perspectives of ophthalmology residency program directors regarding surgical aptitude testing of ophthalmology residency applicants.
An anonymous survey on the secure REDCap web-based platform was emailed to the program director of each ophthalmology residency program accredited by the American Council for Graduate Medical Education in Spring 2018. Weekly reminders were emailed for 3 weeks. Participants had the option to decline answering any question. All data were stored and analyzed utilizing the REDCap platform.
Sixty-three of the 115 program directors (PDs) completed the survey (54.8%). PDs had an average of 15.4 years of practice experience, and 7.2 years of being a program director. PD subspecialty varied (Figure 1). Surgical aptitude testing is currently used during residency interviews at the program of only one PD. Fifty-five PDs (55/63; 87%) believe the current ophthalmology residency application process does not screen for surgical aptitude sufficiently in order to predict applicants’ ability to meet surgical requirements for graduation. Perceived barriers to addressing this deficiency include lack of valid surgical aptitude testing methods (31/55; 56.4%), legal concerns (21/55; 38.2%), and lack of logistical feasibility of such testing (19/55; 34.5%). The majority (35/63; 55.6%) of PDs favor including surgical aptitude testing as part of the residency application process if proven valid methods were available to do so. Many PDs would be willing to participate in future validation studies of surgical aptitude testing methods among residency applicants (32/63, 50.8%).
While most ophthalmology residency PDs believe the current residency application process does not adequately evaluate applicants’ surgical aptitude, surgical aptitude testing during interviews is rarely employed, largely due to a perceived lack of valid surgical aptitude testing methods available, legal concerns, and lack of feasibility. There is PD support for validation studies of surgical aptitude testing methods among residency applicants.
This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.
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