As fall brings a chill to the air and changing leaves, it also marks the unofficial beginning of another season—that of residency interviews. Like so much this year, the residency interview process is going virtual. Organizations such as the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Canadian Resident Matching Service have even issued statements encouraging or mandating virtual-only interviews during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interview season has always been a challenging, stressful, and often costly period for medical students as they navigate travel to interviews seeking the right fit. It’s also a challenging time for programs as they ramp up their efforts and devote a great deal of time and resources to recruitment. This year, however, the shift to a virtual experience has required both interviewees and programs to adapt and get creative.
Once again, the Journal of Graduate Medical Education (JGME) has seen its authors rise to the challenge by sharing their ideas, plans, and initial experiences so that applicants and programs can learn and plan more effectively. The journal’s October and December issues will continue to include a special COVID-19 section, which will feature a number of articles on virtual interviews, including special articles from the editors and others around the country who are innovating in ways that could continue even after in-person visits become possible again.
The October 2020 issue features the beginning of a three-part special article series called “Reimaging Residency Selection.” “Part 1, A Practical Guide to Recruitment in the Post-COVID-19 Era” looks at ways that programs can approach this virtual process intentionally, rather than adapting old methods to an online platform, and even challenges programs to use this time to rethink recruitment going forward. “Part 2, A Practical Guide to Interviewing in the Post-COVID-19 Era,” addresses the interviews themselves and offers practical advice to both interviewers and interviewees. Other submitted perspective articles examine ideas for improving programs’ online presence for the virtual interview season, particularly on websites and social media. They also propose improvements for the videoconference itself, from lighting to camera positioning, as well as strategies for everyone involved to prepare ahead of time.
Looking ahead to the December issue, the special series will continue with “Part 3, A Practical Guide to Ranking Applicants in the Post-COVID-19 Era.” JGME’s ongoing podcast, Hot Topics in MedEd, will preview two upcoming articles in a conversation between authors Quentin Youmans, MD, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Rebecca McAteer, MD, of Phelps-Northwell Family Medicine Residency Program, who discuss the virtual interview and how it can innovate to mitigate bias. Their articles will appear online early, so look out for them here.
JGME also continues its open call for papers on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The call challenges authors to look at how to increase the diversity of our graduate medical education (GME) learning environments, what organizational systems are in place (or can be put into place), and what interventions have been successful in cultivating more diversity in GME. Topics can address recruitment, selection, onboarding, curriculum, teaching, learning, assessment, clinical learning environment, and faculty development. Articles will be featured in upcoming issues.
As challenging and difficult as these past several months have been, they have also presented unique opportunities for innovation and change. With submissions coming in at double the pre-COVID-19 rate, it is clear that research and new ideas are out there. As the only journal devoted to GME, JGME is in a unique position to seek out and share articles of the highest quality and share them with the GME community. We look forward to continuing this ongoing conversation with you.
Visit www.jgme.org for more on and from the journal.
Guest blogger Kevin Gladish is an editorial associate on the staff of the Journal of Graduate Medical Education and a program associate with the ACGME Field Activities staff in the Department of Accreditation, Recognition, and Field Activities. He’s been at the ACGME for three and a half years, and is also a “live lit” performer, writer, and storyteller.