The results of the 2015 National Residency Match Program were announced on March 20. For family medicine, the glass was either half empty or half full, depending on your point of view.
On the plus side, 84 more family medicine positions were offered compared to 2014 (3216 vs 3132) and 60 more positions were filled, for a total of 3060 new family medicine residents in 2015.1 This was far more than matched in gloomy 2009, when only 2555 residents chose family medicine. On the negative side of the balance sheet, there will be 233 fewer family medicine residents this year than matched at the peak of medical student interest in family medicine in 1998.
I’m a glass half full kind of guy, so I am delighted that the trend of increased medical student interest in family medicine continues. According to Merritt Hawkins, a national recruitment firm, family medicine has been the top recruited specialty for several years. The firm reports that starting salaries for family physicians increased by nearly 12% from 2010/11 to 2013/14, which was a higher rate than that of most other specialties.2 So there is reason to be optimistic about the future of our specialty.
However, to be card-carrying family physicians, our new residents must take the American Board of Family Medicine certification exam, and not all pass on their first attempt. A 2013 study of family medicine residency graduates found that only 86% of graduates passed the board exam on their first try.3
We can help. In addition to the evidence-based reviews published in The Journal of Family Practice (JFP), we have launched a new feature called Residents’ Rapid Review (RRR) to provide an additional resource for residents.
RRR is a monthly 5-question evidence-based quiz prepared by primary care faculty, including current and former residency program directors. After residents click on their answer, the system lets them know whether they’re right and provides the correct answer with an explanation and references. Monthly notifications are sent out to all jfponline.com registered users alerting them that a new quiz is available. (Not a registered user on the site? Sign up at jfponline.com/residents_reg.)
Getting ready for the recertification exam? The RRR quizzes can help you, too. Check out the latest quiz, today!