Systematic review of vascular surgery recruitment strategies for medical students and general surgery residents

Rebecca N. Treffalls, Qi Yan, John A. Treffalls, Wesley T. Clothier, Mark G. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Recruitment into the vascular surgery specialty is an imperative as the specialty faces significant demographic changes. Due to the changing dynamics in vascular surgery training pathways, we sought to review current literature on recruitment strategies and their effectiveness with medical students and general surgery residents. Methods: A systematic search, following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, was performed by searching MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) databases for studies on vascular surgery recruitment methods for medical students and general surgery residents from inception of databases to December 31, 2021. Reports in English discussing recruitment strategies were included. Reports lacking recruitment method data and those with insufficient data were excluded. Results: Ten reports met inclusion criteria and studied a total of 688 participants. Seven reports (70%) employed simulation, didactic, or online courses. The remaining 30% of studies included data on mentorship, research, or other interventions. Most of the studies (50%) reported data for medical students (MS1-MS4). Interventions specific to residents or both students and residents comprised the other 50% of studies. Simulation and didactic courses increased interest in vascular surgery by a median of 50% (interquartile range, 38%-64%) for both medical students and residents. Importantly, without reinforcement, interest was seen to decrease over time. Conclusions: Recruitment interventions are useful in increasing student interest in vascular surgery. Early exposure to simulated vascular surgery procedures and mentorship are cited as common reasons for entering the field. Further studies on recruitment strategies focused on long-term outcomes are required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)837-843.e4
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Fellowship
  • Recruitment
  • Residency
  • Surgical education
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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