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J Grad Med Educ. 2011 Jun;3(2):138-43. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-10-00099.1.

A survey of resident opinions on peer evaluation in a large internal medicine residency program.



Starting in the 1960s, studies have suggested that peer evaluation could provide unique insights into the performance of residents in training. However, reports of resident resistance to peer evaluation because of confidentiality issues and the possible impact on their working relationships raised concerns about the acceptability and utility of peer evaluation in graduate medical education. The literature suggests that peers are able to reliably assess communication, interpersonal skills, and professionalism and provide input that may differ from faculty evaluations. This study assessed the attitudes of internal medicine residents 1 year after the implementation of a peer-evaluation system.


During the 2005-2006 academic year, we conducted an anonymous survey of the 168 residents in the Internal Medicine Residency Program at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. Contingency table analysis was used to compare the response patterns of the groups.


The response rate was 61% (103/168 residents) and it did not differ by year of training. Most residents (74/103; 72%) felt that peers could provide valuable feedback. Eighty percent of residents (82/103) felt the feedback was important for their professional development and 84% (86/102) agreed that peers observe behaviors not seen by attending faculty.


The results of this study suggest that internal medicine residents provide unique assessment of their peers and provide feedback they consider important for their professional development. More importantly, the results support the role of peer evaluation in the assessment of the competencies of professionalism and interpersonal and communication skills.

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