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Evaluation of Virtual Vitreoretinal Surgery Fellowship Interview and Match Experience

Posted on 2023-03-19 - 00:07

Purpose: To evaluate applicants’ and programs’ experiences during the 2019 and 2020 fellowship application seasons. Methods: An anonymous survey of vitreoretinal surgery fellowship program directors (PDs) (n = 21) and applicants from the 2019 traditional (n = 24) and 2020 virtual (n = 17) match cycles (before and during COVID-19 pandemic, respectively) was conducted. The questions assessed demographics, interview experiences, and overall interview costs. Statistical significance was determined using unpaired and paired 2-sided t tests for applicants and PDs, respectively (P < .05). Results: In 2020, 17.6% of applicants and 15.8% of PDs strongly agreed that they were able to convey themselves well during the interview compared with 50% and 73.7%, respectively, in 2019 (P = .002 and P < .001, respectively). In 2020, 5.9% of applicants and 10.5% of PDs strongly agreed that they gained a good understanding of their counterpart compared with 41.7% and 47.4%, respectively, in 2019 (P < .001 and P = .01, respectively). Regarding cost, 83.3% of applicants and 21.1% of programs spent more than $2000 in 2019, whereas 17.6% of applicants and no program did so in 2020. Conclusions: Although virtual interviews allowed fellowship recruitment to continue during the pandemic, both applicants and PDs expressed uncertainty regarding their abilities to portray themselves and gauge those with whom they interviewed. The benefits of virtual interviews, including decreased cost, increased efficiency, and convenience, must be weighed against these factors.

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