Comparing the quality of narrative comments by rotation setting
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OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of rotation setting on trainee-directed narrative comments within a Canadian General Surgery Residency Program. The primary outcome was to use the McMaster Narrative Comment Rating Scale (MNCRS) to evaluate the quality of narrative comments across five domains: valence of language, degree of correction versus reinforcement, specificity, actionability and overall usefulness. As distributed medical education in the postgraduate training context becomes more prevalent, delineating differences in feedback between various sites will be imperative, as it may affect how narrative comments are interpreted by clinical competency committee (CCC) members. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A retrospective analysis of 2,469 assessments obtained between July 1, 2014 and May 5, 2019 from the General Surgery Residency Program at the University of British Columbia (UBC) was conducted. Narrative comments were rated using the McMaster Narrative Comment Rating Scale (MNCRS), a validated instrument for evaluating the quality of narrative comments. A repeated measures Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was conducted to explore the impact of rotation setting, academic, urban tertiary, distributed urban, and distributed rural on the quality of narrative feedback. RESULTS: Overall, the quality of the narrative comments varied substantially between and within rotation settings. Academic sites tended to provide more actionable comments (p = 0.01) and more corrective versus reinforcing comments, compared with other sites (p's < 0.01). Comments produced by the urban tertiary rotation setting were consistently lower in quality across all scale categories compared with other settings (p's < 0.01). CONCLUSION: The type of rotation setting has a significant effect on the quality of faculty feedback for trainees. Faculty development on the provision of feedback is necessary, regardless of rotation setting, and should appropriately combine rotation-specific needs and overarching program goals to ensure trainees and clinical competence committees receive high quality narrative.
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