Anyone who has successfully battled a totally unwarranted eval...

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by tchantel21, May 29, 2008.

  1. tchantel21

    tchantel21 tchantel21
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    Anyone ever dealt with statements in their evals that were false or skewed beyond reason? What have you said or done to convince the clerkship director that these statements were untrue and unwarranted.
     
  2. leagueelbow

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    Let me tell you a story. I tried convincing my clerkship director that comments like:

    "An outstanding student. Truly one of the top 10 I've ever worked with"

    "LeagueElbow deserves honors."

    indicated I deserved a grade of honors and not high pass.

    Result? Fail.

    I haven't decided yet whether I should redirect this anger to be an advocate of students when I get the chance to grade them. Or whether I should perpetuate the cycle by beating on them the same way I got beat on.

    I'm waffling daily.
     
  3. tchantel21

    tchantel21 tchantel21
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    sry duplicate post
     
  4. tchantel21

    tchantel21 tchantel21
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    Ha. Wow. That's messed up. I can feel your pain but I'm sure recounting that scenario to PDs will make it all better. I sympathize but I'm hurtin on a whole other level right now.

    So I renew my plea:

    Is there really no one out there who has had the problem of people literally making up stuff in their evals? I'm trying to be as vague about this as possible because I am in the appeals process now and don't really want to be identified. Suffice it to say that CLEARLY someone I served under was not fond of me, disseminated his dislike to 2 other residents and together they served me with the 3 ugliest eval one can fathom. The worst part of it is that 80% of the eval is general, subjective and not really based on ANYTHING that could possibly be substantiated. The other student on my rotation actually thought they may have mixed me up with someone else...Nope. Its just that out of control.

    The final eval is of course a distillation (supposedly) of feedback from several evaluators. 5 of my evals were positive, and my shlef was not above average (1st time this year) but was surely w/in one z-score. However it seems that the director only chose these 3 dreadful evals for my final evaluation and he gave me a grade of low-pass for the clerkship. Nearly done with 3rd year and this has been my first low-pass EVER, AND my1st poor evaluation. Is there NO ONE who has had this experience and successfully fought to discredit the evals or get a better grade?:confused:
     
  5. leagueelbow

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    I'd check multiple things.

    1) Was there a mix up? Believe it or not, there's a course coordinator at my school who lost evals and started making up evals on her own to make sure her boss wouldn't figure it out. I'd ask to see the actual written evals.

    2) Is there a drop policy? Our school drops the 1 highest and 1 lowest evals in order to ensure outliers are removed. A stupid policy in my opinion but one that might help you here if it wipes out your low pass.

    3) Can you leap frog the course coordinator? We have a hierarchy here where we can actually submit our complaint to a review committee headed by the dean's office. Of course, the course coordinator sits on that committee which means I doubt anyone's actually ever won. (This is what I tried with my example)

    If all else fails, cry in the office and continue crying until they agree to change your grade. I ran out of tears when I tried this method. ;)
     
  6. 87138

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    Seriously?

    How did you go about approaching them to discuss changing your grade originally to Honors?
     
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  7. leagueelbow

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    I first asked to see the evaluations. Number markings were good. Comments as seen there were good as well. There were no poor evals mixed in either. So I asked the course coordinator to reconsider. She said no.

    I then jumped over her and submitted my file to a review committee headed by the dean's office. Students are never allowed to sit in on these and the course coordinator is on that committee. So I get an email one month later saying my appeal was denied.

    I'm not sure if I could escalate it further. But I just chalk it up to a quota system. Clearly there is a limited number of honors that they hand out and they're unwilling to add to that total. I really hate 3rd year.
     
  8. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon
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    All clerkships at American medical schools have sheets and sheets of expectations, learning objectives, and other silliness. As much schools seem to love this verbage and as irritating as it can be to students it may be the OP's best friend.

    Get a copy of the learning objectives and bring it with you as ammo. If anything you could ask to have a 3 way meeting with the attending and the clerkship director. Ask for the Dean of students to be present as well. It is not at all unreasonable to then say, "ok, learning objective 1 for the Medicine clerkship is ..., please tell me specific examples of how I failed to meet that goal."

    This forces the attending to go a little bit beyong their "gut feeling" of your performance. In the future if I am working with a student who is cruising for a bad eval I will a) tell them before I do it and b) document the heck out of specific instances of poor performance.
     
  9. soeagerun2or

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    You're fighting an uphill battle here, I haven't seen anyone that went through the process prevail.
     
  10. Danbo1957

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    Then it's no process.
     
  11. 87138

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    Oh ok, I misunderstood. When you said "fail" I thought you meant they decided to fail you.
     
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  12. leagueelbow

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    haha, no. Believe me I'd still be camped outside their office in protest if I had faiied the rotation.
     
  13. soeagerun2or

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    Tell me about it. It appears attending physicians have latitude to opine freely regarding advancement of students in clinical rotations and their decisions are respected as the administration wouldn't want to upset them and lose them as instructors in the process.
     
  14. tchantel21

    tchantel21 tchantel21
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    This is a good idea. I thought about requesting such a meeting but they seem pretty strict about following a specific protocol for the appeals process. The student can only meet one at a time with each of the "powers that be". It begins with the clerkship director. Then I meet with some guy above him, who is notorious for never disagreeing with the clerkship director, and then the Deans. Then they all meet without me.

    I spoke to 2 of 3 Deans already. After some discussion regarding my experience with some of the residents, and because I have had an essentially flawless academic record until now, they are also extremely skeptical of the legitimacy of the evaluation. I'm counting on the Deans to be the voice of reason, but I do wish that the people INVOLVED (me and the residents in question) could actually be part of the final decision making process.
     
  15. PeepshowJohnny

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    The only time I've seen evaluations battled is situations where

    A) The evaluation is nonspecific to the student
    or
    B) The grader is either new or is an established "Bad grader"

    Usually a combination of both.

    For A) it's usually for someone who wants honors who had other stellar evaluations and then somebody turned in the "Dial down the center" eval (I.e. circle all 3's write "Good attitude, needs to improve knowledge base). It's obvious that the evaluator put no effort into this evaluation, and if a lame eval lke this is keeping you from getting honors, it can be dropped.

    B) Is pretty self explanatory. I've heard of people having evals dropped that seemed out of line if the grader is new (I.E. brand new attending or intern) or they've been around a while and are known to be harsh or lazy (see A above).

    In your situation I dont' think you're going to have much success. It sounds like the whole team has evaluated you poorly. Thus you can't just point at an outlier evaluation. You can try to fight it, but it'll probably just stir up more bad feelings.

    I think your only options here are as follows:

    To make ABSOLUTELY sure there is nothing you did to deserve this. I know you said another student agrees with you, but our classmates aren't our most unbiased observers. Did ANYTHING they say have some truth to it? I only ask now because one bad set of evaluations does suck, but having it show up on another rotation, especially an away you care about, can really suck.

    Take stock of the situation and how big of an effect these evaluations will have on your grade AND how much that grade matters. Was this bad evaluation in psychiatry and you want to be a pathologist? Just shrug your shoulders and walk it off. Nobody is going to be upset by this in the long run. Is this bad evaluation in surgery and you want to be an ENT? Well, you're going to have to make up ground. You need to extra rotations to show a relatively low grade was a fluke. Get letters that make you seem like a star.

    Try to keep it off your Dean's Letter. Different schools handle this differently, but if you do have a bad evaluation, try to do whatever is in your power to keep the quotes from showing up on your Dean's letter. I know at my school it's a much easier and more student friendly appeal process to keep bad comments from appering in your MSPE than getting an evaluation removed.
     
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  16. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon
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    That sucks, but get a copy of the learning objectives anyway and use them as ammunition. This is your career. If the clerkship director is being difficult pull them out and say,

    "It says here that learning objective #1 for the Medicine clerkship is 'the student must demonstrate XYZ.' Can you please give me examples of when it is alledged that I failed to do so? I can tell you that I did ABC which to me seem to have satisfied this objective."

    You might also consider obtaining photocopies of H+Ps, progress notes, etc if there was a suggestion that you were clinically inadequate. Once again you can try to get them down to the nitty gritty as in, "show me specific examples of how this is inadequate."

    I also wouldn't take this one-on-one thing lying down. If you want the Dean of Students to be there or you want to have a faculty advisor in the room with you that seems to me to by wholly reasonable and appropriate.
     
  17. xanthines

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    I'm not sure if this is quite the same thing, but...

    My girlfriend was going to be evaluated by a physician who never actually worked with her! :rolleyes: She went to someone (admin stuff is completely different than my school), and her grade ended up being one of the very few A's for that rotation. Yes, they give out letter grades at this school.

    I guess it never hurts to ask, but what do if you're denied? Well, good luck!

    -X
     
  18. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    OP, I think it makes sense to go talk to your deans like you did and see if anything can be done. But I also wouldn't make a career out of fighting this one bad rotation eval if you don't get a pretty quick resolution. You did pass the rotation, so it won't stop you from finishing third year or getting the heck out of Dodge next year, right? At some point, you have to decide if continuing to fight for justice is really worth the time and effort in the larger scheme of things. Like Peepshow Johnny said, if it's not going to prevent you from reaching your long-term goals, you might be better off putting your energy into doing well on the upcoming rotations and electives that really matter for your future specialty. A little over one year from now when you're an intern, no one will care about this one stupid clerkship grade, including you. :luck: to you--I hope the deans can help you.
     
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  19. leagueelbow

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    Depends what you want to go into. If you're looking at something insane like derm, every little grade counts ;)
     
  20. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    Cost benefit analysis particularly holds for people applying to derm. If the school won't budge and fighting this grade becomes a big drain on the OP's time and energy, s/he could wind up with some additional grades that are lower than they should be. Getting a string of lower grades because your mind and energy are concentrated on a battle you have no chance of winning anyway ain't gonna be so good-lookin' on the ol' derm app either.

    That being said, let's think positive and hope the deans can make things happen.
     
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  21. noentiendo

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    Really wasting this much energy on a high pass versus honors? Lots of schools only have Pass/Fail so I don't see how much this really matters. I think you are risking pissing off the deans fighting so hard.
     
  22. tanqueray84

    tanqueray84 Resident
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    This happened to me a year ago on my last 3rd year rotation. I had excellent evaluations all the way through until this rotation. There were obvious lies on my evalutions and the Deans wouldn't do anything and some of it ended up on my Dean's letter. One of the Dean's actually sided with them and refused to write my Dean's letter while everyone else thought the evalations were a load of bull, but even they wouldn't do anything. So I'd unfortunately say that there's probably nothing you can do and you'll be pissed for a along time. I still matched at a great place and just graduated 4 days ago so it hasn't ruined anything but I wish people were held accountable for the things that they do because these are our lives they are messing with.
     
  23. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    Most schools are Pass/Fail for third and fourth year?? :confused:

    No, they're not. At least, not the vast majority of allopathic schools - can't speak for osteopathic schools.

    In any case, if you read the OP carefully, he's talking about the actual COMMENTS on the eval - not just the grade.
     
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  24. tchantel21

    tchantel21 tchantel21
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    Thanks for the responses everyone. I did meet with the clerkship director and he agreed to remove one comment that I was able to easily prove was a lie. Also, he did agree to my soliciting a few belated evals. I've handed in one and plan on getting 3 more. I think he was very reasonable in this respect.

    One comment on my final eval stated that I " should not denigrate _____ specialists". I didn't know what this referred to, but this sentiment seems to underly the personal and caustic tone of the eval. When I asked the clerkship director what this meant, the reply was, "they (the 3 residents) said you kept talking about radiology". I can understand how if I had done this it may rub some people the wrong way, however...

    The fact is, I only talked about my interest in radiology in the following 2 scnenarios. 1) When asked "what do you want to do?", and 2) when they made fun of me for it (seemed to be a knee-jerk response in this rotation). Does this = denigration? I don't know--I feel like its a bad dream that I will wake up from at any moment.

    On a positive note, my academic advisor happens to be the best advisor ever and happens to be the HEAD of the rads dept and the PD for the rads residency. He's going to represent me at the future "trial" of sorts (which will have to happen if the grade is not turned over and I seek further recourse). Since I can't be there, Im glad to know that someone will be present to protect my interests. The deans have been very supportive as well so im sure SOMEthing will be done...I would just like them to go all the way and obliterate both the grade and the comments altogther. So now if you could all cross your fingers/ pray/ write to your local congressmen...whatever...let's just hope I can get this gone and move on with my life....

    And the reason I'm so concerned about it is because I do (as you read) want to go into a competitive specialty - radiology. I know its not impossible to match with a single blip on one's transcript, but there's no good reason for my future to be comprimised in ANY way because of the madness that is written on that eval.
     
  25. tchantel21

    tchantel21 tchantel21
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    I'm actually not negotiating a high pass vs. honors, but rather a pass vs. marginal/low pass AND a stream of extremely damaging (and inaccurate) comments on the final eval.
     
  26. noentiendo

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    If you read the thread carefully you would notice I was referring to leagueelbow's post. Not the OP's. I also didn't say MOST, I said LOTS. The comments are by far the most important thing because they end up in your deans letter, but this is not what he meant. His comments were great.
     
  27. leagueelbow

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    Now I was told the opposite. Comments are great and all but who actually reads through the whole Dean's letter? Grades are a more concise way of narrowing the field.

    And to make matters simpler, AOA status trumps that.
     
  28. noentiendo

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    Comments are the only thing everyone gets. Grades are all well and good, but they only help when comparing people from the same school. Some people have pass, fail, honors some have just pass/fail, others have numerical grades, and comparing these people is just not practical. Thats why Step 1 scores are so valuable because its the same across the field. Honestly from what I've heard, unless there is something really bad on a deans letter it isn't that helpful because they get released late.
     
  29. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    Your intention, though, would have been clearer if you had actually QUOTED who you were answering, or (in some way) indicated which post you were responding to. :rolleyes:
     
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  30. noentiendo

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    No worries, I didn't think I needed to quote given the huge difference between their situations, but I will next time. My school actually is one that is Pass/Fail, but reports a numerical grade without giving the average. This is totally useless.
     
  31. Gotti

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    I was going to receive a very bad evaluation even being told that I would fail that block of surgery. This resident made sure everyone on the team knew my weaknesses and started attacking them. Many of the comments used against me were taken way out of context (for example, a joke that became serious). This occurred after an attending in the previous block said I was great for surgery and had great interpersonal skills and above average knowledge and gave me a great-to-excellent evaluation. The Dean and course director recommended the best way to combat what I thought was an "unfair" evaluation would be to drop that block and repeat it later without taking the shelf exam.
    Retrospectively, some of weaknesses cited were partially true and I have worked on them. My handling (getting defensive, etc.) of an already bad situation could have been better so that I could reverse an originally bad first impression. Luckily, the Dean told me because I didn't take the Shelf and dropped that block in the middle, none of it would stay on my transcript or Dean's letter, although I am still worried it will come back to haunt me somewhere. Also, I will only have to repeat that 1 month block of the rotation. So I think I got lucky, but who knows.
     
  32. tchantel21

    tchantel21 tchantel21
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    This is exactly what I feel happened to me. I wish I had done something to thwart this episode during the rotation but I did not expect this to happen. I had a very antagonizing dynamic with ONE resident, however he was the first resident I worked with and it seems his ill feelings toward me percolated down to the other 2 residents I worked with. I told the Dean I would rather repeat the clerkship than have a marginal pass on my transcript but at my school this is not an option.

    Hopefully all will go well and the grade will be changed, but life probably would have been easier if I had headed it off at the pass and gone to the Deans DURING the rotation. So the moral of the story is, if you have a feeling that someone may evaluate you unfairly talk to your dean about the situation BEFORE the eval comes in.
     

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