Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 472, Issue 9, pp 2859–2866 | Cite as

What Factors Influence Applicants’ Rankings of Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Programs in the National Resident Matching Program?

  • William P. HuntingtonEmail author
  • Nikkole Haines
  • Joshua C. Patt
Basic Research



In accordance with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ strategic goal of enriching our field by building a more diverse orthopaedic workforce, the specialty needs further information delineating the factors important to the applicant pool as a whole and more specifically to women and other underrepresented minority groups.


This study aims to identify (1) factors important to residency applicants selecting an orthopaedic residency program; (2) differences in factor importance for men, women, and minorities, and (3) the importance of different information sources used when making his or her rank list.


All 742 applicants who applied to the authors’ orthopaedic surgery residency program in the 2013 National Resident Matching Program were queried. The response rate was 28% (207 of 742). Respondents were asked to rank, on a 5-point Likert scale, 37 factors that may have affected their rank lists to differing degrees. Respondents also identified the importance of sources of information used to make their rank lists, factors that residency programs considered important when ranking applicants, and their level of agreement with various sex- and racial-specific statements regarding orthopaedic training.


The most important factors affecting rank lists were perceived happiness/quality of life of current residents, resident camaraderie, and impression after an away rotation. Women weighed their personal interactions and a program’s proximity to family and friends more heavily when determining a rank list. Sixty-eight percent of women eliminated residency programs from their options based on perceived sex biases versus less than 1% of men. Applicants valued information obtained from away rotations at an institution and in talking with current residents most when determining his or her rank list.


Programs should consider interpersonal factors, like quality of life and resident camaraderie as factors in attracting applicants. They also should minimize perceived biases and emphasize interactions with current residents during the application process to meet their goals of attracting an exceptional and more diverse orthopaedic workforce.


Residency Program Rank List Interpersonal Factor Current Resident Orthopaedic Resident 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Rachel Seymour PhD for contributions to the statistical analyses in this study.


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Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • William P. Huntington
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nikkole Haines
    • 1
  • Joshua C. Patt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryCarolinas Medical CenterCharlotteUSA

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