The surgical skills laboratory residency interview: An enjoyable alternative

Travis M. Dumont, Michael A. Horgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: The authors aimed to trial an alternative interviewing strategy by inviting residency candidates to our surgical anatomy laboratory. Interviews were coincident with surgical dissection. The authors hypothesized that residency candidates hoping to match into a surgical subspecialty might enjoy this unconventional interviewing strategy, which would mimic an operating room experience. Methods: On scheduled residency interview dates, formal, unstructured interviews were held with half of the neurosurgical faculty, and unstructured surgical skills laboratory-based interviews were held with the other half of the neurosurgical faculty. Interviews in the skills laboratory featured cases and corresponding surgical dissection guided by faculty. After the interview, the residency candidates were encouraged to complete an optional survey about their interview process. The survey results were pooled for analysis. Results: Of 28 interviewed, 19 individuals responded to the survey. The survey respondents had favorable reviews of the all aspects of the interview process. When asked to report the most enjoyable part of the interview, all respondents listed the surgical skills laboratory. The average respondent scores for importance of the surgical skills laboratory interview (9.5 ± 1.1) compared with conventional interview with faculty (9.2 ± 1.0) or residents (9.1 ± 1.0) was not significantly different (p = 0.50, analysis of variance). Conclusions: The surgical skills laboratory interviews were reviewed favorably by the survey respondents. Nearly all respondents listed the surgical skills interview as the most enjoyable part of the interview experience. The authors advocate this residency interview strategy for surgical subspecialty residencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-410
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012


  • interview
  • neurosurgery
  • residency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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