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Am J Surg. 2009 Feb;197(2):252-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2008.01.025. Epub 2008 Aug 22.

Spaced education improves the feedback that surgical residents give to medical students: a randomized trial.

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Department of Surgery, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Surgery residents teach medical students; feedback is one critical teaching skill. We investigated whether feedback given by surgery residents to students could be improved through an online spaced education program.


Surgery residents were randomized to receive either a weekly spaced education e-mail during a 9-month period containing teaching bullets on how to provide effective feedback, or no intervention. Medical students rated the frequency and quality of feedback they received from the residents.


Students reported 45% (67 of 149) of the spaced education residents gave frequent feedback, compared with 31% (55 of 175) of control residents (relative risk [RR], 1.43; P = .016). Students reported resident feedback was "helpful in their learning" in 92% (132 of 143) of their evaluations of spaced education residents, compared with 82% (132 of 161) of their evaluations of control residents (RR, 1.13; P = .01).


Educational programs using feedback bullets e-mailed weekly can significantly improve the frequency and quality of feedback that surgical residents provide medical students.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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