Since 1978, the NRMP has published data demonstrating characteristics of applicants that have matched into their preferred specialty in the NRMP main residency match. This data has been published approximately every two years. There is limited information about trends within this published data for students matching into emergency medicine (EM). Our objective was to investigate and describe trends in NRMP data to include the ratio of applicants to available EM positions, USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 scores (compared to the national means), number of programs ranked, and AOA membership among US seniors matching into EM.
This was a retrospective observational review of NRMP data published between 2007 and 2016. The data was analyzed using ANOVA and Fischer’s exact to determine statistical significance.
The ratio of applicants to available EM positions remained essentially stable from 2007 to 2014, but did increase slightly in 2016. A net upward trend in overall Step 1 and Step 2 scores for EM applicants was observed. However, this did not outpace the national trend increase in Step 1 and 2 scores overall. There was no statistical difference in the mean number of programs ranked by EM applicants among the years studied (p=0.93). Among time intervals, there was a difference in the number of EM applicants with AOA membership (p=0.043) due to a drop in the number of AOA students in 2011. No sustained statistical trend was identified over the 7-year period studied.
NRMP data demonstrate trends among EM applicants that are similar to national trends in other specialties for USMLE board scores, and stability in number of programs ranked and AOA membership. EM does not appear to have become more competitive relative to other specialties or previous years in these categories.