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J Grad Med Educ. 2017 Oct;9(5):577-585. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-17-00126.1.

Gender Differences in Attending Physicians' Feedback to Residents: A Qualitative Analysis.

Abstract

BACKGROUND :

Prior research has shown a gender gap in the evaluations of emergency medicine (EM) residents' competency on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) milestones, yet the practical implications of this are not fully understood.

OBJECTIVE :

To better understand the gender gap in evaluations, we examined qualitative differences in the feedback that male and female residents received from attending physicians.

METHODS :

This study used a longitudinal qualitative content analysis of narrative comments by attending physicians during real-time direct observation milestone evaluations of residents. Comments were collected over 2 years from 1 ACGME-accredited EM training program.

RESULTS :

In total, 1317 direct observation evaluations with comments from 67 faculty members were collected for 47 postgraduate year 3 EM residents. Analysis of the comments revealed that the ideal EM resident possesses many stereotypically masculine traits. Additionally, examination of a subset of the residents (those with 15 or more comments, n = 35) showed that when male residents struggled, they received consistent feedback from different attending physicians regarding aspects of their performance that needed work. In contrast, when female residents struggled, they received discordant feedback from different attending physicians, particularly regarding issues of autonomy and assertiveness.

CONCLUSIONS :

Our study revealed qualitative differences in the kind of feedback that male and female EM residents received from attending physicians. The findings suggest that attending physicians should endeavor to provide male and female residents with consistent feedback and guard against gender bias in their perceptions of residents' capabilities.

PMID:
29075375
PMCID:
PMC5646913
[Available on 2018-10-01]
DOI:
10.4300/JGME-D-17-00126.1

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest: Drs O'Connor and Dayal co-developed InstantEval, which was used to collect the evaluation data in this study, and have a financial interest in this product. Dr Arora receives honoraria from the American Board of Internal Medicine. A prior version of this study was presented at the Sociologists for Women in Society Winter Meeting, Albuquerque, New Mexico, February 9–12, 2017.

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