Perception of Medical Student Mistreatment: Does Specialty Matter?
Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges
PURPOSE: Medical student mistreatment is pervasive, yet whether all physicians have a shared understanding of the problem is unclear. The authors presented professionally designed trigger videos to physicians from 6 different specialties to determine if they perceive mistreatment and its severity similarly.
METHOD: From October 2016 to August 2018, resident and attending physicians from 10 U.S. medical schools viewed 5 trigger videos showing behaviors that could be perceived as mistreatment. They completed a survey exploring their perceptions. The authors compared perceptions of mistreatment across specialties and, for each scenario, evaluated the relationship between specialty and perception of mistreatment.
RESULTS: Six-hundred fifty resident and attending physicians participated. There were statistically significant differences in perception of mistreatment across specialties for 3 of the 5 scenarios: aggressive questioning (range, 74.1%-91.2%), negative feedback (range, 25.4%-63.7%), and assignment of inappropriate tasks (range, 5.5%-25.5%) (P ≤ .001, for all). After adjusting for gender, race, professional role, and prior mistreatment, physicians in surgery viewed 3 scenarios (aggressive questioning, negative feedback, and inappropriate tasks) as less likely to represent mistreatment compared with internal medicine physicians. Physicians from obstetrics-gynecology and "other" specialties perceived less mistreatment in 2 scenarios (aggressive questioning and negative feedback), while family physicians perceived more mistreatment in 1 scenario (negative feedback) compared with internal medicine physicians. The mean severity of perceived mistreatment on a 1 to 7 scale (7 most serious) also varied statistically significantly across the specialties for 3 scenarios: aggressive questioning (range, 4.4-5.4; P < .001), ethnic insensitivity (range, 5.1-6.1; P = .001), and sexual harassment (range, 5.5-6.3; P = .004).
CONCLUSIONS: Specialty was associated with differences in the perception of mistreatment and rating of its severity. Further investigation is needed to understand why these perceptions of mistreatment vary among specialties and how to address these differences.
O'Brien KE, Mechaber AJ, Ledford CH, Klocksieben FA, Fagan MJ, Harrell HE, et al. Perception of medical student mistreatment: does specialty matter? Acad Med. 2022 Feb 1;97(2):247-253. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000004223. PMID: 34192722.