Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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From a COMSEP survey!

Advising Medical Students for the Match: A National Survey of Pediatric Clerkship Directors. Ryan MS et al. Academic Pediatrics. 2015; 15: 374-379.

Reviewed by Erin Pete Devon

What was the study question?
What are the experiences of Pediatrics Clerkship Directors (CDs) in their role as advisors for medical students applying to a Pediatrics residency?

How was the study done?
The authors submitted multiple-choice questions to the COMSEP annual survey. The questions pertained to CDs’ role as an advisor and their role in the pediatric intern selection process, their confidence in performing their advisory roles, what resources informed their practices, and what perspectives are given to advisees regarding application competiveness. The study also investigated how CD perspectives compare with the perspectives of Pediatrics residency program directors. Potential participants were emailed and participation was voluntary.

What were the results?
Most clerkship director respondents (68%) have a formal role in advising and more than half (58%) also have a role in the intern selection process. CDs with a formal role in advising were not more confident in their ability to advise students. Also, there was a high reliance on subjective resources to advise medical students. “Red flags” were perceived to have a significant effect on an advisees’ ability to successfully match. In ranking factors perceived to affect the match, CDs and PDs ranked the same factors in the top (applicant’s performance in interviews) and bottom (second look/visit) spots, but PDs and CDs differed in ranking their perceived importance of leadership experiences.

What are the implications of these findings?

  1. Discuss whether there should be a separate medical student advisory group and intern selection group.
  2. Review the NRMP-PD data to help advise your applicants.
  3. Consider that while a well-rounded applicant is very important, participation of extracurricular activities should not be at the expense of their “academic transcript.”
  4. COMSEP and the APPD could play a role in the development of an advising “toolbox” for Pediatrics education.

Editor’s note: One of the greatest things about this study is that its data were collected in the annual COMSEP survey! Consider submitting your own questions!! (SLB).

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