CAMDEN, NJ – In a quest to narrow a vast pool of otolaryngology residency applicants, one program has decided to take a novel approach. Bill Cappleman, an otologist at Rutgers University, has decided to begin measuring interpupillary distance of applicants.
Said Cappleman, “Essentially all applicants to otolaryngology are the same these days. They all have stellar Step 1 scores, tons of research, and glowing recommendations. Something has to set them apart. Those guys at Kaiser tried testing applicants with soap carving but that didn’t work.”
For Cappleman, efficiency in the operating room is an integral part of his practice and is important when considering new applicants and he is always looking for ways to increase that efficiency.
“For years, precious seconds have been wasted when the resident messes around with the microscope, trying to adjust it for his eyes. Then, one resident came along who had the same 70 millimeter interpupillary distance as me, and it was a revelation! I requested him for all of my cases. I realized that if all residents were like him, I could save at least two to three minutes per case.”
The resident in question later quit residency for what he termed “a lack of variety” but Cappleman is undeterred. He plans a prospective trial of residents to compare OR case length based on interpupillary distance.
Other faculty members at Rutgers are supportive of Cappleman’s efforts and hope to expand physical parameters for which to screen based on his research. Other potential targets to be examined include screening in applicants of the same height to eliminate the need for standing stools in the OR, and screening out left-handed surgeons, because in the words of their rhinologist, “Have you ever tried to train a left-handed person to do endoscopic surgery? It’s impossible!”