Emergency Medicine Residency Selection: Factors Influencing Candidate Decisions

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Background: Published information is limited regarding factors considered by emergency medicine resident candidates when selecting a residency program. Objective: To identify factors considered important by applicants when making decisions about residency programs. Methods: A self-administered survey questionnaire was mailed to all applicants who interviewed at the authors' emergency medicine residency program for the 2003–2004 match year. Results: Surveys were completed by 105 respondents (53% response rate). Factors were rank-ordered by the proportion of respondents who indicated that the factor was “very important” or “important” when selecting residency programs. The five most important factors were friendliness (95%), environment (87%), interview day (81%), academics (76%), and location (74%). Male applicants were more likely to consider the existence of a flight program important or very important (55%), compared with female applicants (33%, p < 0.05, chi-square). Older respondents (over the age of 30 years) were more likely to consider gender issues (16%, compared with 13%) and research (32%, compared with 20%) as important factors (p < 0.05, chi-square). Conclusions: Residency applicants indicated that the most important factors when selecting residency program(s) were friendliness, environment, interview day, academics, and location.