This year’s figure is the highest number of medical students to choose psychiatry residency training programs in recent history. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of medical school seniors choosing psychiatry grew from 483 to 640. This number fell to 616 in 2012, but has steadily climbed since then.
The Match, in which the choices of graduating medical students are “matched” with those of residency programs, is typically watched as an indicator of workforce size and makeup in the various medical specialties for the coming year.
Psychiatry offered 1,495 first-year positions—111 more than in 2016—and filled all but four. The overall fill rate was 99.7%, and 61.7% were filled by U.S. seniors. Since 2012, the number of psychiatry positions has increased 378, or 34%, and the number of positions filled by U.S. allopathic seniors has increased by 307, according to NRMP.
This year’s high reflects many factors, including a larger pool of students entering the match and a trend in which students are applying to more than one specialty and many more training programs than in the past, a response to the perception of heightened competition. Psychiatry has increasingly become an option for students as a hedge against increased competitiveness in other fields.
Nonetheless, the field remains attractive in its own right.
“Psychiatry continues to place value on the importance of the doctor-patient relationship,” said APA Director of Education Tristan Gorrindo, M.D. “That trend isn’t true for many other specialties. And as we have more clinical applications for neuroscience, psychiatry’s profile has been enhanced as the medical profession that treats mind, brain, and body. The combination of exciting new frontiers in neuroscience and psychiatry’s traditional focus on the person behind the disease make our profession a compelling one. APA welcomes new trainees to the profession and invites residents to explore membership in the APA.”
For more information, see the Psychiatric News article “Match Madness: Educators Call Frenzy of Applications Bad for GME.”