Radiation Oncology Resident Quality by National Resident Matching Program Metrics From 2007 to 2018
Published on Feb 1, 2021in International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics5.859
· DOI :10.1016/J.IJROBP.2020.08.062
PURPOSE To quantify how the quality of US medical students accepted to radiation oncology (RO) training programs, as defined by National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) metrics, has changed over time. METHODS AND MATERIALS We examined NRMP data of senior US medical students matched into RO training programs from 2007 to 2018. Metrics include United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) Step 1 and 2-Clinical Knowledge scores, research output, percentage with PhD, and percentage in Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA), among others. Linear regression analysis assessed the statistical significance of changes in available metrics of matched RO residents over time. The Student t test and χ2 test compared quality metrics between matched students in RO versus all other specialties. RESULTS From 2007 to 2018, the mean USMLE Step 1 and 2-Clinical Knowledge for RO residents significantly increased from 235 to 247 (1.0 point/year; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.70-1.52; P = .002) and from 237 to 253 (1.3 points/year; 95% CI, 1.27-1.62; P <.001), respectively. The mean number of research experiences and abstracts/presentations/publications increased from 3.7 to 6.1 (0.2/year; 95% CI, 0.12-0.29; P = .003) and from 6.3 to 15.6 (0.78/year; 95% CI, 0.60-1.04; P <.001), respectively. The percentage of RO residents inducted into AOA increased from 24.2% to 35.2%, whereas those with a PhD remained stable (∼21%). Matched RO residents had statistically superior metrics versus all other specialties for USMLE Step 1 scores (mean +13.5 points; 95% CI, 7.26-19.67; P <.001), research experience (mean +2.04; 95% CI, 1.11-2.97; P <.001), abstracts/presentations/publications (mean +6.80; 95% CI, 3.38-10.22; P = .001), percentage with a PhD (22.2% vs 4.1%; P <.001), and percentage in AOA (29.5% vs 15.8%; P <.001). CONCLUSIONS RO resident quality, defined by routinely reported NRMP metrics, increased from 2007 to 2018. Furthermore, RO resident quality is significantly higher than in all other specialties combined for most metrics. Whether the recent decline in medical student interest in RO will correlate with reduced NRMP quality metrics is unknown.