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      A tool for self-assessment of communication skills and professionalism in residents

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          Abstract

          Background

          Effective communication skills and professionalism are critical for physicians in order to provide optimum care and achieve better health outcomes. The aims of this study were to evaluate residents' self-assessment of their communication skills and professionalism in dealing with patients, and to evaluate the psychometric properties of a self-assessment questionnaire.

          Methods

          A modified version of the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM) Patient Assessment survey was completed by 130 residents in 23 surgical and non-surgical training programs affiliated with a single medical school. Descriptive, regression and factor analyses were performed. Internal consistency, inter-item gamma scores, and discriminative validity of the questionnaire were determined.

          Results

          Factor analysis suggested two groups of items: one group relating to developing interpersonal relationships with patients and one group relating to conveying medical information to patients. Cronbach's alpha (0.86) indicated internal consistency. Males rated themselves higher than females in items related to explaining things to patients. When compared to graduates of U.S. medical schools, graduates of medical schools outside the U.S. rated themselves higher in items related to listening to the patient, yet lower in using understandable language. Surgical residents rated themselves higher than non-surgical residents in explaining options to patients.

          Conclusion

          This appears to be an internally consistent and reliable tool for residents' self-assessment of communication skills and professionalism. Some demographic differences in self-perceived communication skills were noted.

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          Most cited references 52

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          Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments.

          People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.
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            Self-regulated learning: A new concept embraced by researchers, policy makers, educators, teachers, and students

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              Physician gender effects in medical communication: a meta-analytic review.

              Physician gender has been viewed as a possible source of variation in the interpersonal aspects of medical practice, with speculation that female physicians facilitate more open and equal exchange and a different therapeutic milieu from that of male physicians. However, studies in this area are generally based on small samples, with conflicting results. To systematically review and quantify the effect of physician gender on communication during medical visits. Online database searches of English-language abstracts for the years 1967 to 2001 (MEDLINE, AIDSLINE, PsycINFO, and Bioethics); a hand search was conducted of reprint files and the reference sections of review articles and other publications. Studies using a communication data source, such as audiotape, videotape, or direct observation, and large national or regional studies in which physician report was used to establish length of visit, were identified through bibliographic and computerized searches. Twenty-three observational studies and 3 large physician-report studies reported in 29 publications met inclusion criteria and were rated. The Cohen d was computed based on 2 reviewers' (J.A.H. and Y.A.) independent extraction of quantitative information from the publications. Study heterogeneity was tested using Q statistics and pooled effect sizes were computed using the appropriate effects model. The characteristics of the study populations were also extracted. Female physicians engage in significantly more active partnership behaviors, positive talk, psychosocial counseling, psychosocial question asking, and emotionally focused talk. There were no gender differences evident in the amount, quality, or manner of biomedical information giving or social conversation. Medical visits with female physicians are, on average, 2 minutes (10%) longer than those with male physicians. Obstetrics and gynecology may present a different pattern than that of primary care, with male physicians demonstrating higher levels of emotionally focused talk than their female colleagues. Female primary care physicians engage in more communication that can be considered patient centered and have longer visits than their male colleagues. Limited studies exist outside of primary care, and gender-related practice patterns in some subspecialties may differ from those evident in primary care.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMC Med Educ
                BMC Medical Education
                BioMed Central
                1472-6920
                2009
                8 January 2009
                : 9
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Family Medicine, University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Buffalo, New York, USA
                [2 ]Graduate Medical Education, University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Buffalo, New York, USA
                [3 ]Department of Medicine and Department of Family Medicine, University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Buffalo, New York, USA
                Article
                1472-6920-9-1
                10.1186/1472-6920-9-1
                2631014
                19133146
                Copyright © 2009 Symons et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Research Article

                Education

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