Factors in Residency Decision Making for Female Neurosurgery Applicants

Sarah E. McNutt, Madison L. Goss, David R. Hallan, Jesse E. Bible

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Neurosurgery remains a specialty with one of the largest gender gaps in the United States. Neurosurgery residency programs are highly motivated to attract the best female candidates in an effort to improve their program diversity, but no studies currently exist that examine the factors of highest importance to female applicants for neurosurgery residency selection. The purpose of this study was to determine factors that female neurosurgery residents used when selecting their residency. Methods: A 2-part survey was sent to female neurosurgical residents by e-mails collected from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons directory and residency program websites. The survey asked participants to score 17 characteristics of residency programs in terms of importance and then asked them to rank their top 5 most influential factors when selecting a neurosurgery residency. Results: The most important factors included variety/number of cases, camaraderie and happiness of current residents, early surgical/clinical experience, and academic reputation. The least important factors included gender diversity of faculty and residents, number of female residents, number of female faculty, and attitudes toward maternity leave. Conclusions: Efforts to increase female applicants in neurosurgery residency programs should focus on highlighting some more universal, non–gender-related factors, such as happiness and camaraderie among residents and anticipated clinical experiences, as opposed to showcasing features that would seemingly appeal to female applicants, such as maternity leave and number of current female faculty or residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e105-e111
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Aug 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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