SheMD Journal Club: Competency-Based Student Self-Assessment on a Surgery Rotation


Here at sheMD, we believe in the importance of practicing Evidence-Based Medicine. We believe the same principles apply to discussing Gender and Medical Education. Therefore, we are bringing you an entire Journal Club series! Our series will focus on foundational and new literature within the gender and medicine space.


Today, we will be discussing the article entitled, Competency-Based Student Self-Assessment on a Surgery Rotation.





Why we think is this article important?

  • The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of third year medical students to perform self-assessment during their surgery clerkship. Self-assessment is an important skill to help students better self-direct their learning. As they recognize their strengths and weaknesses, they can more adequately find areas to improve and guide their medical education.

  • We often discuss imposter phenomena, and people ask us for examples or research showing Imposter Phenomenon in action. We are sharing this study with you as an example of the imposter phenomenon and its implications in medical education.


Article Summary

  • This study looked at medical students self-assessment half-way through their surgery clerkship and then compared the self-assessment to the faculty evaluation of the students, which used the same template.

  • They found that female students significantly underestimated their mid-clerkship performance compared with male students on a surgery rotation.

  • They also found that the male students over-estimated their performance, however this did not reach significance.

  • Interestingly, when they looked at the faculty evaluations, they found that the female medical students SIGNIFICANTLY outperformed their male colleagues on the surgery clerkship. (Who says surgery is for men?!?)

  • What did the study conclude? "Women may underreport their capabilities when compared with men as a result of gender differences in socialization. These gender differences in self-assessment may be important to recognize when faculty provide feedback to students."



Why do we care about this article?


What does this mean?


  • We are our own worst critics. We need this information to help us to STOP the imposter phenomenon that affects so many of us and focus on our successes, our wins, and our strengths.


Take Home Point

  • Imposter phenomenon exists, it likely impacts women more than men, AND it can impact our experience in Medical Education.



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