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1.  The Utility of Letters of Recommendation in Predicting Resident Success: Can the ACGME Competencies Help? 
Background
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) core competencies are used to assess resident performance, and recently similar competencies have become an accepted framework for evaluating medical student achievements as well. However, the utility of incorporating the competencies into the resident application has not yet been assessed.
Purpose
The objective of this study was to examine letters of recommendation (LORs) to identify ACGME competency–based themes that might help distinguish the least successful from the most successful residents.
Methods
Residents entering a university-based residency program from 1994 to 2004 were retrospectively evaluated by faculty and ranked in 4 groups according to perceived level of success. Applications from residents in the highest and lowest groups were abstracted. LORs were qualitatively reviewed and analyzed for 9 themes (6 ACGME core competencies and 3 additional performance measures). The mean number of times each theme was mentioned was calculated for each student. Groups were compared using the χ2 test and the Student t test.
Results
Seventy-five residents were eligible for analysis, and 29 residents were ranked in the highest and lowest groups. Baseline demographics and number of LORs did not differ between the two groups. Successful residents had statistically significantly more comments about excellence in the competency areas of patient care, medical knowledge, and interpersonal and communication skills.
Conclusion
LORs can provide useful clues to differentiate between students who are likely to become the least versus the most successful residency program graduates. Greater usage of the ACGME core competencies within LORs may be beneficial.
doi:10.4300/JGME-D-11-00010.1
PMCID: PMC3179231  PMID: 22942969
2.  Can Medical School Performance Predict Residency Performance? Resident Selection and Predictors of Successful Performance in Obstetrics and Gynecology 
Background
During the evaluation process, Residency Admissions Committees typically gather data on objective and subjective measures of a medical student's performance through the Electronic Residency Application Service, including medical school grades, standardized test scores, research achievements, nonacademic accomplishments, letters of recommendation, the dean's letter, and personal statements. Using these data to identify which medical students are likely to become successful residents in an academic residency program in obstetrics and gynecology is difficult and to date, not well studied.
Objective
To determine whether objective information in medical students' applications can help predict resident success.
Method
We performed a retrospective cohort study of all residents who matched into the Johns Hopkins University residency program in obstetrics and gynecology between 1994 and 2004 and entered the program through the National Resident Matching Program as a postgraduate year-1 resident. Residents were independently evaluated by faculty and ranked in 4 groups according to perceived level of success. Applications from residents in the highest and lowest group were abstracted. Groups were compared using the Fisher exact test and the Student t test.
Results
Seventy-five residents met inclusion criteria and 29 residents were ranked in the highest and lowest quartiles (15 in highest, 14 in lowest). Univariate analysis identified no variables as consistent predictors of resident success.
Conclusion
In a program designed to train academic obstetrician-gynecologists, objective data from medical students' applications did not correlate with successful resident performance in our obstetrics-gynecology residency program. We need to continue our search for evaluation criteria that can accurately and reliably select the medical students that are best fit for our specialty.
doi:10.4300/JGME-D-09-00101.1
PMCID: PMC2951767  PMID: 21976076

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