ABSTRACT: Self-evaluation: how well do surgery residents judge performance on a rotation?
Surgical trainees are evaluated based on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education 6 core competencies. The ability for a learner to recognize strengths and weaknesses in these areas allows for critical self-improvement.
Surgery residents rotating on a pediatric surgery rotation for 1 academic year were asked at an exit interview to provide a self-evaluation within the 6 core competencies on a Likert scale from 1 to 5. Self-evaluation scores were compared with a final group consensus attending evaluation. Further analyses included comparing residents as follows: less than R3 (junior residents) versus R3 (senior residents) residents, general surgery versus non-general surgery residents, university versus community residents, residents in the first half of the academic year versus residents in the second half, and top one third- and lowest one third-performing residents. Statistical analysis was performed using Student t tests with significance at P < .05.
A total of 45 surgical residents (29 junior residents and 16 senior residents) gave overall self-evaluation scores that were lower than attending evaluations (3.4 vs 3.8, P = .0002). This underscoring occurred for most core competencies, especially medical knowledge, operative skills, and practice-based learning but not professionalism or communication. When sorting residents by variables, there was significant underscoring by senior residents, general surgery residents, and highest one third-performing residents compared with junior residents, non-general surgery residents, and lowest one third-performing residents. There were no differences between self-evaluations and attending evaluations when comparing university with community residents and residents in the first half of the academic year with residents in the second half of the academic year.
Residents appear to have a more critical self-analysis than attending surgeons, with senior residents, general surgery residents, and highest one third-performing residents being the most critical of their own performance. Poorly performing residents appeared to lack insight into their abilities. This method of self-evaluation helps trainees reflect on their performance and highlights trainees who lack self-awareness and need counseling for improvement.