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Professionalism Among Surgical Residents: Documenting The Advantages of a Professionalism Curriculum
Mark S Hochberg*, Russell S. Berman*, Adina Kalet*, Sandra R. Zabar*, H. Leon Pachter
New York University Medical Center, New York, NY

OBJECTIVES: Professionalism education is a vital component of surgical training. This research attempts to determine if an annual, yearlong professionalism curriculum in a large surgical residency can effectively change professionalism attitudes.
METHODS: A six station Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) was developed focusing on specific resident professionalism challenges: delivering news of an unexpected death, explaining a health proxy, explaining a medical error, effective patient handoff, identifying an impaired colleague, and correct use of an interpreter. Identical OSCE scenarios were administered to two cohorts of surgical residents: in 2007 (prior to instituting the professionalism curriculum in 2008) and again in 2014. Surgical residents were rated by standardized patients according to a strict professionalism criteria checklist.
RESULTS: An ANOVA was conducted with overall professionalism score (% well done) as the dependent variable for the two resident cohorts (2007 vs. 2014). The cohort main effect was significant (F=49.01, p<.001) with the 2007 residents receiving a mean score of 38% of professionalism items “well done” (SD 9%) and 2014 residents receiving a mean 59% “well done” (SD 8%).
CONCLUSIONS: Professionalism education has improved surgical resident understanding, awareness and practice of professionalism in a statistically significant manner from 2007 to 2014. This documented improvement in OSCE performance reflects the value of a professionalism curriculum and the heightened understanding of these skills for the patients we seek to serve.


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