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Jul 24, 2011
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This summer, I went for observership training in the department of emergency medicine. I was assigned a supervisor who never showed up. I attended the evening shift at the ER anyways, approached on-call physicians and asked for permission to follow around, learn and assist if possible.

Towards the end, I was given an evaluation form and since there was no supervisor and none of the physicians I had adequately followed was on-call, I handed it over to an attending who I had worked with for two days. I was surprised she gave me a low mark on patient communication skills because on the very same week, she asked me for assistance with history taking from a difficult patient.

Thought maybe I wasn't up to her standards, until a colleague came expressed her surprise as well because she was given a better evaluation when she was mostly an observer and didn't engage in patient communication.


I was just wondering, what to do in that situation? Would you check with the attending? Is it worth discussing anyways?

P.S. Apologies for the extremely lengthy post.
 
Last edited:

turkeyjerky

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Sep 27, 2008
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first of all, who care? This doesn't sound like an actual rotation, so it's not like your grade actually means anything. Second, yeah, this happens all the time. There're about a hundred threads in the clinical rotatations forum b_tching about this.
 
Jul 24, 2011
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You're right. Maybe this wasn't worth a post after all.

Thank you. :)
 
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FrickenhugeMD

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This issue will be one of the most frustrating aspects you will face in 3rd year. Yeah, it sucks. No, it isn't always fair. It's just one of those things you have to grin and bear and move on.
 
Jul 3, 2011
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Sounds like this is not a very significant evaluation. Usually if I see an attending giving me an evaluation lower than I expected I ask about ways to improve. That serves two purposes:

1) an attending will have to think about which box to tick and not just whichever box the hand is drawn to in a hustle and bustle of a working day

2) an attending might have a fair point and I was overly optimistic about my performance.
 

Law2Doc

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This issue will be one of the most frustrating aspects you will face in 3rd year. Yeah, it sucks. No, it isn't always fair. It's just one of those things you have to grin and bear and move on.
Yeah, welcome to the real world of subjectivity. Subjective grading means if you asked the attending to evaluate you he can be anywhere on the spectrum. It's his personal opinion, not objectively derived. So he can give one person a good and another person a very good and it's foolish to try and peg it to an objective set of facts -- it's his opinion. Maybe he just wasn't "feeling it" when you interacted with patients. Maybe hes the kind of guy who actually prefers if folks on observership hang back and observe. Maybe you somehow rubbed him the wrong way and don't even know it -- reminded him of his goodfornothing cousin or something. Maybe he was just in a pissy mood when you approached him. It's not about "fair", it's about what his subjective opinion was. There's no way to contest this. He thought you were good. He didn't think you were very good. That's just his prerogative. It's his subjective opinion. you have no grounds to contest because there are no articulated standards on which this is based.
 

WellWornLad

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Feb 5, 2008
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Are you seriously sweating the difference between "good" and "very good" on a single category on your eval?

Unfair, but is it worth discussing?
That question pretty much sums up 3rd year. The answer is no.
 
Jul 24, 2011
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Medical Student
I haven't been on any rotations yet, so I wasn't sure how to react in such a situation. Thank you, all for your responses. :)

Sounds like this is not a very significant evaluation. Usually if I see an attending giving me an evaluation lower than I expected I ask about ways to improve. That serves two purposes:

1) an attending will have to think about which box to tick and not just whichever box the hand is drawn to in a hustle and bustle of a working day

2) an attending might have a fair point and I was overly optimistic about my performance.
That's a brilliant way of approaching it. Thanks!

Are you seriously sweating the difference between "good" and "very good" on a single category on your eval?
Not that, but it doesn't hurt to know what went wrong so that you can work on it next time.
 
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