Do Individual Attendings' Post-rotation Performance Ratings Detect Residents' Clinical Performance Deficiencies?

Cathy J. Schwind, Reed G. Williams, Margaret L. Boehler, Gary L. Dunnington

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

41 Scopus citations


Purpose. To determine whether attending physicians' post-rotation performance ratings and written comments detect surgery residents' clinical performance deficits. Method. Residents' performance records from 1997-2002 in the Department of Surgery, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, were reviewed to determine the percentage of times end-of-rotation performance ratings and/or comments detected deficiencies leading to negative end-of-year progress decisions. Results. Thirteen of 1,986 individual post-rotation ratings (0.7%) nominally noted a deficit. Post-rotation ratings of "good" or below were predictive of negative end-of-year progress decisions. Eighteen percent of residents determined to have some deficiency requiring remediation received no post-rotation performance ratings indicating that deficiency. Written comments on post-rotation evaluation forms detected deficits more accurately than did numeric ratings. Physicians detected technical skills performance deficits more frequently than applied knowledge and professional behavior deficits. More physicians' post-rotation numeric ratings contradicted performance deficits than supported them. More written comments supported deficits than contradicted them in the technical skills area. In the applied knowledge and professional behavior areas, more written comments contradicted deficits than supported them. Conclusions. A large percentage of performance deficiencies only became apparent when the attending physicians discussed performance at the annual evaluation meetings. Annual evaluation meetings may (1) make patterns of residents' behavior apparent that were not previously apparent to individual physicians, (2) provide evidence that strengthens the individual attending's pre-existing convictions about residents' performance deficiencies, or (3) lead to erroneous conclusions. The authors believe deficiencies were real and that their findings can be explained by a combination of reasons one and two.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-457
Number of pages5
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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