#KeyLIMEPodcast 174: Feedback – A Perpetual Conundrum

KeyLIME guest host Deb Simpson discusses a very relevant topic in today’s society: the gender gap in feedback residents receive from their attending physicians. Listen in here (or on iTunes!)

KeyLIME Session 174:

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Mueller AS, Jenkins TM, Osborne M, Dayal A, O’Connor DM, Arora VM. Gender Differences in Attending Physicians’ Feedback to Residents: A Qualitative Analysis. J Grad Med Educ. 2017 Oct;9(5):577-585.

Reviewer: Deb Simpson (KeyLIME LIVE at the CGEA 2018)


Like the #MeToo, #TimesUp, #HeforShe movements and studies that continue to highlight lack of women in senior faculty and leadership roles in academic medicine, this research shows a gender gap in the evaluations of emergency medicine residents’ competency on ACGME milestones.


This is a qualitative analysis of the gender gaps in evaluation. It examines the differences in feedback that both sexes receive from their attending physicians.

Key Points on Method

Longitudinal qualitative content analysis of narrative comments by attending physicians during real time observations milestone evaluations.

Key Outcomes

Analysis revealed that the ideal EM resident possesses many stereotypically masculine traits. Male residents who struggled tended to receive consistent feedback from different attending physicians regarding aspects of their performance that needed work. Female residents who struggled received discordant feedback from different attending physicians, particularly regarding issues of autonomy and assertiveness.


Key Conclusions

The authors conclude…

Attending physicians should endeavor to provide consistent feedback and guard against gender bias in the perceptions of residents’ capabilities.

Spare Keys – other take home points for clinician educators

Complex work studies are starting to pop up in medicine – we should look for common threads and contributions from sociology, psychology, education re. culture, implicit bias, learning. We need systematic reviews and vocabulary. It’s easy to find flaws, yet hard to control complex human variables with interactions between the person (multiple variables – gender just one and biases), teachers (multiple variables – gender, role, biases) and context.

Type of Paper

Narrative commentary

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