A Look at Pathology Match Data, and Lifestyle Reports

Session 52

This week, we’re diving into the match data and cover Pathology. Interestingly, Pathology is a small field that seems to be losing interest among graduating U.S. seniors according to the data.

I’m digging into the results of the NRMP Residency Match Data 2017. As you’re going through the process, you can understand what this data is telling you and what you should know to help you better plot a path.

[02:40] General Overview

Table 1 shows the match summary. Let me clarify first that the U.S. Seniors for the NRMP match data means U.S. students in an allopathic/MD program who are still in school. So a student could have graduated from an allopathic program and now applying to residency. Maybe they didn’t get in the first time or took a gap year for some reason.

Caribbean students and international medical grads, foreign and U.S. citizen international medical grads are not counted as U.S. Seniors. DO students are not counted as U.S. Seniors.

Back to the data, there are 159 programs in Pathology with 601 spots. It’s a very small specialty. Just to give you a comparison, Anesthesiology has 1,202 positions with 124 programs. So it has less programs but double the spots. This said, Anesthesiology has much bigger residency programs than Pathology.

Unfilled programs for Pathology is 33. It ranks up there with a lot of other programs that go unfilled. It’s interesting to know why this is.

U.S. Seniors who applied are 232 out of 601 spots. Let’s say out of 150+ medical schools in total, only one and a half students per medical school are applying to Pathology. So it’s not a lot of senior medical students are applying to Pathology.

There are 876 total applicants for those 601 spots. Even though there were more applicants than positions, they still went unfilled. Out of the students who filled Pathology, only 36% were U.S. Seniors and 91% of all the spots were filled. Pathology does not have PGY-2 positions and it doesn’t have any physician positions here.

[06:25] Matches by Specialty and Applicant Type and Trends

Table 2 of the NRMP Match Data 2017 shows the matches by specialty and the applicant types.

Out of 601 spots in Pathology, only 545 were filled. This data is only pre-SOAP.  Let’s see if they filled the programs after the SOAP.

Out of the 545 filled, there were 216 U.S. Seniors who were accepted. There were 25 U.S. graduates, 32 osteopathic students, no Canadians, 57 U.S. international medical graduates, 215 non-U.S. citizen international medical graduates, and 56 unfilled spots.

Table 3 shows how many spots are available each year from 2012 through 2017. Every year, it goes up by 2.1% or 2.2%. So it’s a slow steady rise in the number of spots available.

Table 8 shows us the number of positions offered and the percent filled by U.S. Seniors and all applicants from 2013 to 2017. There was a dip from 2015 to 2016. The number of U.S. Seniors that filled those spots went from 45.1% in 2013 to 42.9% in 2014, then 46.6% in 2015 and down to 42.8% in 2016, and further down to 35.9% in 2017. There’s been a pretty sharp decline of U.S. Seniors filling up those spots.

Table 9 shows the number of all applicants that matched by specialty from 2013 to 2017. 2% of all students that matched, matched into Pathology. Anesthesiology is 4.1%, Emergency Medicine is 7.4%, Family Medicine is 11.6%, and Internal Medicine is 25.6%. Orthopedic Surgery is 2.6%. It’s the only one that’s close to compare Pathology with. Neurology is 1.7% and Medicine-Pediatrics is 1.3%.

[10:42] U.S. Seniors, Osteopathic Students, Foreign-Trained Physicians

Table 10 shows U.S. Seniors that matched by specialty. 1.2% of U.S. Seniors matched into Pathology. This is less than last year of 1.5% and less than a year before at 1.7%.

Table 11 shows osteopathic students that matched. 2.1% of all osteopathic students matched into Pathology in 2016. While it was only 1.1% in 2017. There were 51 in 2016 and 42 this year, 2017. It was 44 in 2015 (1.9%) and 51 (2.4%) in 2014, and 2.4% in 2013. So it’s going down dramatically over the years.

Table 12 shows the foreign-trained physicians that matched by Specialty. There were 272 foreign-trained physicians who matched into a PGY-1 spot for Pathology. It went up to 4.1% in 2017 from 3.3% in 2016. But the number of U.S. trained physicians is going down.

[12:20] Unmatched U.S. Seniors and Independent Applicants Who Ranked Pathology as Their Only Choice

Figure 6 shows the percentage of unmatched U.S. Seniors and Independent applicants who ranked their specialty as their only choice.

Pathology is high up on the list for total unmatched applicants at 23.3%. That’s because there’s a large contingent of non U.S.citizen foreign medical graduates applying to pathology. Hence, the large percentage of unmatched total applicants. 33.5% of those are unmatched independent applicants, which are anybody other than U.S. Seniors. Only 5% unmatched U.S. Seniors.

Looking back at Table 1, there are a lot of spots for a little number of U.S. Seniors applying and yet 5% of them still were unmatched.

There could be a number of reasons why they didn’t match. It could be that they didn’t apply to enough programs. Or it could be their board scores were terrible. It could be that they didn’t have enough research experience. It could be that they didn’t have enough exposure to Pathology when asked why they wanted to be a pathologist.

That’s what residency is all about. So you can ask yourself whether you can work with this person for 80 hours a week for the next four or five years.

[14:40] SOAP

There were 31 Pathology programs that participated in the SOAP for 54 positions. If you look at Table 1, there were 56 positions that went unfilled. So two positions magically disappeared.

After the SOAP, there were only 22 programs that went filled and 45 spots were filled as shown in Table 18 of the NRMP Match Data. So even after the SOAP, there were 9 positions still available. In 2016, there were 14 programs for 24 spots and all of those spots were filled.

[15:55] Charting the Outcomes 2016

Let’s go to the Charting the Outcomes for U.S. Allopathic Seniors 2016.

Looking at Table PTH-1, the mean number of contiguous ranks means how many students ranked before leaving a blank spot in their rank list.

Those who matched had 9.9 contiguous ranks. Those who did not match only had 5.1. This shows that you have to rank enough programs if you want to match. If you’re restricted by geography or some other reason, you need to be aware there’s a good chance you won’t match because of that.

The mean USMLE Step 1 score is 233 for those who matched and 210 for those who didn’t. There’s a very low Step score for those who didn’t match versus those who did. Mean Step 2 score is 243 for those who matched and 225 for those who didn’t. The mean number of research experiences is 2.8 for those who matched and 2.4 for those who didn’t.

Mean number of abstracts, presentations, and publications is 5.9 for those that matched and 7.6 for those that didn’t. Maybe they spent too much time writing abstracts and not enough time studying for the boards.

Percentage of AOA members is 13.3% for those that matched and 0% for those who went unmatched.

The percentage who graduated from one of the 40 U.S. medical schools with the highest NIH funding is 37.6% for those that matched and 12.5% for those who went unmatched.

Those who have PhD degrees have 22.4% for those that matched and only 20% for those that did not match.

[19:20] Medscape Lifestyle and Compensation Reports 2017

In the Medscape Lifestyle Report for 2017, Slide 2 shows the physicians who are the most burned out. Pathology is near the bottom at 43%. Psychiatry and mental health are the lowest at 42%.

Slide 3 shows how severe is the burnout and Pathology is near the top at 4.4. It’s a random 1-7 scale and all of them are between 3.9 and 4.6.

Slide 18 shows which physicians are the happiest at work and outside of work. Pathology is pretty low for at work at 36% and 66% outside of work.

In the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2017, Slide 4 shows the average annual physician compensation. Pathology is in the middle of the pack at $293K a year. Pediatrics is the lowest at 202K and Orthopedics is the highest at 489K.

Slide 5 shows who’s up and who’s down year over year. Pathology is higher up at 10% increase along with Orthopedics. Pediatrics is the only one that went down year over year.

Pathologists feel fairly compensated at 62% as shown in Slide 18. Emergency Medicine is the highest at 68%. Slide 38 shows only 76% of pathologists said they would choose medicine again. 83% is the highest with Rheumatology and the lowest is Neurology at 71%. And for those who would choose the same specialty (Slide 39), Pathology is at 85%.

Links:

NRMP Match Data 2017

Charting the Outcomes for U.S. Allopathic Seniors 2016

Medscape Lifestyle Report 2017

Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2017

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