Showcasing a General Surgery Residency Program During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sarah Lund, Taleen MacArthur, Jonie Keune, Teresa Enger, Jorys Martinez-Jorge, Travis McKenzie, Megan Nelson, Angela Olson, Florencia Que, John Stulak, Mariela Rivera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: The virtual interview season has challenged general surgery residency programs to recruit applicants through the loss of visiting clerkships, tours, and time with residents. Webinars, increased informal resident and faculty sessions, and live-narrated video tours are potential solutions. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of these elements in virtually showcasing a residency program during the virtual interview season. DESIGN/SETTING: Prospective applicants to one general surgery residency program (Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota) were invited to attend six webinars: Program Overview, Simulation Education, Diversity, Resident Life, Mingle with Residents, and Last-Minute Q&A. An anonymous survey was sent to all registered participants of the webinars. Interviewees participated in a preinterview social hour with resident and faculty and a live-narrated video tour of our facilities during their interview. A second anonymous survey was sent to all interviewees. PARTICIPANTS: Webinars – 33% of 159 unique registrants surveyed participated. Interviews – 46% of 109 interviewees surveyed participated. RESULTS: Average satisfaction with the webinars was 9.4/10. Overall, 98% of attendees felt that the webinars gave them a “feel” for the program. Attendees found the Last-Minute Q&A webinar and Program Overview to be most useful. For resident-led webinars, 100% of attendees felt that themed break-out rooms were effective. Average satisfaction with the interviews was 4.4/5. Interviewees rated access to faculty and residents highly (4.4/5 and 4.5/5, respectively). 98% of interviewees found the live-narrated video tour helpful. CONCLUSIONS: A webinar curriculum can be effective in virtual residency recruitment, as prospective applicants developed a good understanding of the resident program after participating. Further, live-narrated video tours and purposefully incorporating several avenues for informal conversations with residents and faculty can successfully address applicant concerns about virtual interviews.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e28-e34
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • COVID-19
  • general surgery
  • interviews
  • postgraduate training
  • virtual

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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