Maternal-fetal medicine program director experience of exclusive virtual interviewing during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic

Janine S. Rhoades, Patrick S. Ramsey, Torri D. Metz, Adam K. Lewkowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic necessitated an abrupt transition to exclusive virtual interviewing for maternal-fetal medicine fellowship programs. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to assess the maternal-fetal medicine fellowship program directors’ approaches to exclusive virtual interviews and to obtain program director feedback on the virtual interview experience to guide future interview cycles. STUDY DESIGN: A novel cross-sectional online survey was distributed through the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine to program directors after the completion of the interview season, but before the results of the National Resident Matching Program on October 14, 2020. Survey data were collected anonymously and managed using secure Research Electronic Data Capture electronic data capture tools. RESULTS: Overall 71 of 89 program directors (80%) responded. All respondents completed their 2020 interviews 100% virtually. Nearly half of program directors (33 of 68, 49%) interviewed more candidates in 2020 than in 2019. Of those who interviewed more candidates in 2020, the mean number of additional candidates per fellowship position was 5.8 (standard deviation, ±3.8). Almost all program directors reported no (35 of 71, 49%) or minimal (34 of 71, 48%) negative impact of technical difficulties on their virtual interview processes. Most programs structured their interview to a half day (4 hours) or less for the candidates. Many programs were able to adapt their supplemental interview materials and events for the candidates into a virtual format, including a virtual social event hosted by 31 of 71 programs (44%). The virtual social event was most commonly casual and led by current fellows. Ultimately, all program directors reported that the virtual interview experience was as expected or better than expected. However, most program directors felt less able to provide candidates with a comprehensive and accurate representation of their program on a virtual platform compared with their previous in-person experiences (46 of 71 [65%] reported minimally, moderately, or significantly less than in-person). In addition, most program directors felt their ability to get to know candidates and assess their “fit” with the program was less than previous in-person years (44 of 71 [62%] reported minimally, moderately, or significantly less than in-person). In a hypothetical future year without any public health concerns, there were 23 of 71 respondents (32%) who prefer exclusive in-person interviews, 24 of 71 (34%) who prefer exclusive virtual interviews, and 24 of 71 (34%) who prefer a hybrid of virtual and in-person interviews. CONCLUSION: The virtual interview experience was better than expected for most program directors. However, most program directors felt less able to present their programs and assess the candidates on a virtual platform compared with previous in-person experiences. Despite this, most program directors are interested in at least a component of virtual interviewing in future years. Future efforts are needed to refine the virtual interview process to optimize the experience for program directors and candidates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100344
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics & gynecology MFM
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2021

Keywords

  • COVID
  • COVID-19
  • fellowship
  • fellowship interviews
  • graduate medical education
  • maternal-fetal medicine
  • program directors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • virtual interviews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Medicine(all)

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