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AEM Educ Train. 2018 Mar 30;2(2):162-168. doi: 10.1002/aet2.10096. eCollection 2018 Apr.

The Intersection of Gender and Resuscitation Leadership Experience in Emergency Medicine Residents: A Qualitative Study.

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Department of Emergency Medicine Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center Boston MA.
Department of Emergency Medicine Alpert Medical School of Brown University Rhode Island Hospital Providence RI.
Department of Surgery Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center Boston MA.



The objective was to examine emergency medicine (EM) residents' perceptions of gender as it intersects with resuscitation team dynamics and the experience of acquiring resuscitation leadership skills.


This was an exploratory, qualitative study using grounded theory and a purposive sample of postgraduate year (PGY) 2-4 EM residents who function as resuscitation team leaders in two urban EM programs. One-on-one interviews were conducted by a single experienced researcher. Audiotaped interviews were transcribed and deidentified by two research assistants. A research team composed of a PhD educational researcher, a research nurse, an MPH research assistant, and an EM resident reviewed the transcripts and coded and analyzed data using MAXQDA v12. Themes and coding schema were discussed until consensus was reached. We used member checking to assess the accuracy of our report and to confirm that the interpretations were fair and representative.


Theme saturation was reached after interviewing 16 participants: 10 males and 6 females. The three major themes related to gender that emerged included leadership style, gender inequality, and relationship building. Both male and female residents reported that a directive style was more effective when functioning in the resuscitation leadership role. Female residents more often expressed discomfort with a directive style of leadership, preferring a more communicative and collaborative style. Both female and male residents identified several challenges as disproportionately affecting female residents, including negotiating interactions with nurses more and "earning the respect" of the team members.


Residents acknowledged that additional challenges exist for female residents in becoming resuscitation team leaders. Increasing awareness in residency program leadership is key to affecting change to ensure all residents are trained in a similar manner, while also addressing gender-specific needs of residents where appropriate. We present suggestions for addressing these barriers and incorporating discussion of leadership styles into residency training.

[Available on 2019-03-30]

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