Resident Selection Beyond the United States Medical Licensing Examination

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The resident application process has matured over the decades to become an efficient system. An unforeseen consequence of this efficiency is the massive number of applications that each orthopaedic surgery residency program must sort through to arrive at a manageable rank list. The most widely used filter in today’s application cycle is an applicant’s performance on the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1. Although no evidence exists to prove that this examination is predictive of any of the potentially defining characteristics of a successful resident, orthopaedic surgery programs historically have had few alternative options. A growing body of literature suggests that a more focused investigation of an applicant’s inherent personality traits, as evidenced by his or her past accomplishments, as well as a structured use of questionnaires as part of the application process may improve the ability of orthopaedic surgery residency programs to predict who will be a successful resident.

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