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Surgery 101

Welcome to Surgery 101, a series of podcasts produced with the help of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. The podcasts are intended to serve as brief introductions or reviews of surgical topics for medical students. We've aimed to cover a single topic in between 10-20 minutes so that you can quickly get a good idea of the basic concepts involved. Every episode is divided into chapters and concludes with several key points to summarize the topic. We are always keen to receive your feedback on our podcasts, and we are accepting suggestions for additional topics. New episodes are published every Wednesday. 'Surgery 101' was created by Dr Parveen Boora and Dr Jonathan White, and is supported by the Department of Surgery at the University of Alberta. Our 2010 series of podcasts are brought to you by the Undergrad Surgery Mobile Podcasting Studio Team which is: Jonathan, Jenni, and many wonderful students, with the assistance of the surgeons of Edmonton.
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There are PDF Notes available for every Surgery 101 podcast. 

Dec 18, 2012

Our paper on the use of written comments in assessing medical students has just been published! The full title is: “Using written comments in team-based assessment to better understand medical student performance: a mixed-methods study”

Here is the abstract:

Background

Observation of the performance of medical students in the clinical environment is a key part of assessment and learning. To date, few authors have examined written comments provided to students and considered what aspects of observed performance they represent. The aim of this study was to examine the quantity and quality of written comments provided to medical students by different assessors using a team-based model of assessment, and to determine the aspects of medical student performance on which different assessors provide comments.

Methods

Medical students on a 7-week General Surgery & Anesthesiology clerkship received written comments on ‘Areas of Excellence’ and ‘Areas for Improvement’ from physicians, residents, nurses, patients, peers and administrators. Mixed-methods were used to analyze the quality and quantity of comments provided and to generate a conceptual framework of observed student performance.

Results

1,068 assessors and 127 peers provided 2,988 written comments for 127 students, a median of 188 words per student divided into 26 “Areas of Excellence” and 5 “Areas for Improvement”. Physicians provided the most comments (918), followed by patients (692) and peers (586); administrators provided the fewest (91). The conceptual framework generated contained four major domains: ‘Student as Physician-in-Training’, ‘Student as Learner’, ‘Student as Team Member’, and ‘Student as Person.’

Conclusions

A wide range of observed medical student performance is recorded in written comments provided by members of the surgical healthcare team. Different groups of assessors provide comments on different aspects of student performance, suggesting that comments provided from a single viewpoint may potentially under-represent or overlook some areas of student performance. We hope that the framework presented here can serve as a basis to better understand what medical students do every day, and how they are perceived by those with whom they work.

The provisional PDF is up now at BMC Med Ed – enjoy!

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