Unraveling the medical residency selection game
SourceAdvances in Health Sciences Education, 26, 1, (2021), pp. 237-252
Article / Letter to editor
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Radboudumc Health Academy
Advances in Health Sciences Education
SubjectRadboudumc 16: Vascular damage RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
The diversity of modern society is often not represented in the medical workforce. This might be partly due to selection practices. We need to better understand decision-making processes by selection committees in order to improve selection procedures with regard to diversity. This paper reports on a qualitative study with a socio-constructivist perspective conducted in 2015 that explored how residency selection decision-making occurred within four specialties in two regions in the Netherlands. Data included transcripts of the decision-making meetings and of one-on-one interviews with committee members before and after the group decision-making meetings. Candidates struggled to portray themselves favorably as they had to balance playing by the rules and being authentic; between fitting in and standing out. Although admissions committees had a welcoming stance to diversity, their practices were unintentionally preventing them from hiring underrepresented minority (URM) candidates. While negotiating admissions is difficult for all candidates, it is presumably even more complicated for URM candidates. This seems to be having a negative influence on attaining workforce diversity. Current beliefs, which make committees mistakenly feel they are acting fairly, might actually justify biased practices. Awareness of the role of committee members in these processes is an essential first step.
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