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National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Match Results

National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Match Results

As we examine where psychiatric residency recruitment is today and where it is going we should perhaps borrow a view from Wayne Gretzkey, who said, “I skate where the puck is going, not where it is.” We can use this as a metaphor for psychiatric residency recruitment by looking at the forces that affect a student’s selection of a psychiatric career rather than at what the influences have been during the past 5 years.

 

Applicants in the matching program: 2006-2011

 

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

Graduating seniors of US allopathic medical schools: active applicants in the match

16,559

16,070

15,638

15,242

15,206

15,008

Applicants marched to PGY-1 programs

Seniors of US allopathic medical schools

15,588

14,992

14,556

14,359

14,201

14,059

Students/graduates of osteopathic medical schools

1561

1444

1408

1339

1136

1024

US citizen students/graduates of international medical schools

1884

1749

1619

1541

1347

1231

Non-US citizen students/graduates of international medical schools

2721

2881

3112

3108

3180

3151

 

US seniors matched to postgraduate year 1 (PGY-1) positions by specialty: 2006-2011

Specialty

2011
No. (%)

2010
No. (%)

2009
No. (%)

2008
No. (%)

2007
No. (%)

2006
No. (%)

Anesthesiology

671 (4.3)

624 (4.2)

612 (4.2)

524 (3.6)

448 (3.2)

451 (3.2)

Emergency medicine

1268 (8.1)

1182 (7.9)

1146 (7.9)

1083 (7.5)

1027 (7.2)

944 (6.7)

Family medicine

1301 (8.3)

1169 (7.8)

1071 (7.4)

1156 (8.1)

1096 (7.7)

1123 (8.0)

Psychiatry

640 (4.1)

670 (4.5)

656 (4.5)

595 (4.1)

633 (4.5)

643 (4.6)

Analysis
This year the number of US medical school seniors matching into psychiatry fell from 670 or 4.5% in 2010 of matched participants to 640 or 4.1%. This change is within the variance we have been seeing for the last 6 years. Although the change may not have a long-term meaning, we must be concerned that it may be the first step in a trend.
Graduating seniors of US allopathic medical schools select careers for many reasons, and we need to assess the factors that lead to their selection of psychiatric careers. We frequently hear that students select psychiatric careers because psychiatry offers them an opportunity to become more engaged with their patients. But today students are often exposed to psychiatric practices and inpatient services where medication management is or may not be perceived as the primary concern and activity of the psychiatrists with whom they observe and work on their psychiatric clerkships. In order to ensure the future recruitment of US graduates to psychiatry, we need to learn more about the practice desires of the current generation of medical students.
We essentially have 3 groups of students who enter our field. The first group is interested in the psychology of individuals and wants to practice psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. The second group may be primarily interested in practicing pharmacotherapy, and the third may be most interested in neuropsychiatry and how changes in the brain affect behavior.
Obviously we have many students with overlapping interests. We must make room for all 3 groups if we are to optimally survive as a specialty. To do this, we must ensure that residency training offers meaningful experiences in each area and that there are practice opportunities for all 3 groups upon graduation from residency. A recent New York Times article presents a view that psychiatric practice is dominated by 15 minute medication management sessions.1 My concern is that, if given the choice of a 15-minute medication management psychiatric session versus a 15-minute primary care session, many students will select primary care.
Another issue to note is that unless the federal government increases the funding for residency positions with the ongoing expansion of allopathic and osteopathic medical school graduates producing a significant increase in US trained physicians by 2017, we will have few positions available for international medical graduates who are either non-US citizens or US citizens.
Reference
1. Harris G. Talk doesn’t pay, so psychiatry turns instead to drug therapy. New York Times. March 5, 2011.
 

 

 
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