Retrospective Study on the Effect of the Timing of Exposure on Confidence Level in Applying to Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Programs.

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American journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation


ABSTRACT: Residency specialty choice, a complex decision-making process, is often influenced by confidence level built upon knowledge, experience, and fit with the specialty. Despite the need for physiatrists with population growth, especially people with disability and older patients, limited growth in the number of residency positions and delayed exposure to the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation potentially contribute to a lack of confidence in pursuing physical medicine and rehabilitation. Early introduction to a specialty has been shown to impact specialty selection. Thus, this study aims to explore the impact of timing of exposure to physiatry on the confidence level of physical medicine and rehabilitation residents in their specialty choice. A survey for current physical medicine and rehabilitation residents was developed and distributed to residency program directors with a request to forward it to all residents. The response rate was low at 13%; however, the results provide a window into the experience of today's medical and premedical students. Interestingly, of the 175 respondents, a similar number reported first exposure to physiatry during third year and before medical school. In addition, earlier exposure was associated with higher confidence levels in specialty choice, the most powerful factor being the exposure to the specialty before starting medical school or during the preclinical years in medical school. These findings highlight opportunities to improve the physiatry workforce by providing earlier exposure to the specialty, even before medical school. Based on the results of the survey and ongoing discussions among medical students, residents, and faculty leaders, the authors review current recruitment efforts and new ideas.




7 Suppl 1

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