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Deconstructing Surgical Education—Teacher Quality Really Matters: Implications for Attracting Medical Students to Surgical Careers

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Delineating those factors that enhance a student's surgical experience during medical school may be important to attracting “the best and the brightest” to surgery programs. Therefore, understanding the differences between an excellent and poor student evaluation from the student perspective is critical to surgical education, yet it remains ill defined. We concurrently assessed comprehensive student evaluations from a surgical clerkship over a 2-year period. The purpose of this study is to report the results of this audit. Two years of student-directed evaluations were analyzed. Nine different surgical services were evaluated. Twenty-six data points were collected, including demographic, career, objective, and subjective information. Statistical analysis was performed using descriptive, χ2, and logistic regression tests. One hundred twenty-eight students rotated over 2 years, with 113 (88%) completing the assessment (61% men, 39% women). Men were more interested in surgical careers than women (4:1,P < 0.05). Medicine (22%) and surgical sub-specialties (23%) were the most common career interests. Regression analysis demonstrated that age and gender were not predictors of outcome. The “highest rated and lowest rated” service were compared. Analysis demonstrated significant differences in three areas (operating room experience, and resident and faculty teaching.) The characteristics that separated the good teachers from the poor ones were the ability to challenge the student to think, providing useful feedback for their work, the ability to communicate ideas, and a positive attitude toward students/teaching. Student surgical evaluations underscore the role faculty and/or residents play in their education.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: From the Department of Surgery, Section of Pediatric Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 2: Departments of Surgery and Pediatrics, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, West Virginia

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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