Residency program factors affecting ACVS board examination pass rates from 2017 to 2021: A survey of ACVS small animal surgery residency programs

Aleisha E Michael, Shiori Arai, Wanda J Gordon-Evans
Vet Surg. 2024 May 10. doi: 10.1111/vsu.14100.

Objective: To identify small animal surgery (SAS) residency program factors associated with board examination pass rates for the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) board certification examinations.

Study design: Online survey.

Sample population: Program directors of ACVS-registered SAS residency programs.

Methods: An online survey was distributed to eligible 2021 ACVS SAS residency program directors. Respondents provided program information and Phase I and Phase II board examination pass rate data from 2017 to 2021. Programs were grouped based on overall combined board examination pass rates as "excellent" (≥90%) versus "adequate" (<90%). Data were analyzed using recursive partitioning.

Results: Responses from 36 ACVS SAS residency programs (18 private practice [PP], 18 academic programs [AP]) were included. Pass rates were considered "excellent" for 17/36 programs (11/17 AP, 6/17 PP). The strongest indicator of "excellent" programs was most mentors participating in rounds >75% of the time. Of those, the second indicator of "excellent" programs was a soft tissue caseload of <7 surgeries/resident/week. If the soft tissue caseload was >7 surgeries/resident/week, a high orthopedic caseload (>9 surgeries/resident/week) was indicative of "excellent" programs. If most mentors were not participating in rounds >75% of the time, APs were more likely to be "excellent."

Conclusion: SAS APs may have higher ACVS board examination pass rates. Mentor involvement, caseload, and residency practice type may influence board examination pass rates.

Clinical impact: ACVS SAS residency programs' board examination pass rates may improve by optimizing mentor involvement and caseload regardless of practice type.