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Med Educ. 2004 Jun;38(6):646-51.

Evaluation of interns by senior residents and faculty: is there any difference?

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  • 1Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri, USA.



Both senior residents and faculty members evaluate family practice interns (PGY-1) on the inpatient family medicine service at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The purpose of this study was to investigate the content and nature of narrative comments on a clinical evaluation sheet.


Objective 1. The authors placed the subjective comments made by faculty and senior residents in their evaluations of PGY-1 residents into 12 distinctive categories. Objective 2. Comments were coded with a positive or negative valence. Objective 3. The genders of the evaluator and learner were recorded.


All evaluations made between 1996 and 1999 were analysed. A total of 1341 individual comments were reviewed. Objective 1. Categories used most often were generic comments (20.2%), personal attributes (18%), and clinical competence (14.1%). There was no difference in category use based on the experience level of the evaluator (P = 0.17). Objective 2. The majority of the comments (81.9%) were positive in nature. Senior faculty members were significantly less likely to make negative comments than were junior faculty members or senior residents (P = 0.004). Objective 3. There were no differences in category use based on the gender of the evaluator (P = 0.13).


Objective 1. Narrative evaluation comments may be placed into 12 distinctive categories. Most comments are generic and do not help to inform learning. Objective 2. A total of 82% of comments were positive. Residents were more likely to make negative comments than senior faculty members. Objective 3. There was no demonstrable gender bias in writing negative comments.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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