Drifting from the truth.
“Generally available National Residency Match Program (NRMP) data suggests that, during the past decade, regardless of a belief with the radiation oncology community, trends in the quality of residents accepted for training have been drifting slightly downward.” Let’s take a look at that NRMP data, analyzed in this study for residents who matched into radiation oncology from 2007 to 2018. Things like USMLE Step 1 and 2 scores, research output, advanced degrees, and Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) membership were used to quantify resident “quality.” Over that decade, the words “drift” and “downward” don’t really do a good job of describing what happened. Step 1 and 2 scores for matched students rose from 235 → 247 and 237→ 253, respectively, persistently well above average. Mean numbers of abstracts, presentations, and publications more than doubled from 6.3→ 15.6. Finally, the proportion of students in AOA went from 24 → 35%, or double the average for all other specialties. In other words, the NRMP metrics of those matching into rad onc are consistently significantly better than those of the general pool of matched students. TBL: A decade of NRMP data shows that the quality of residents accepted into radiation oncology has been drifting slightly upward. | Chowdhary, Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2020