Initial use of a novel instrument to measure professionalism in surgical residents

Paul G. Gauger, Larry D. Gruppen, Rebecca M. Minter, Lisa M. Colletti, David T. Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: No universally accepted method to measure professionalism exists. We developed an instrument to measure specific aspects of professionalism in surgical residents. Methods: Professionalism was deconstructed into 15 domains. Behavioral descriptors were determined for extreme and selected intermediate anchors. It became evident that residents could "go too far" in some professional behaviors. Therefore, although a 7-point continuous ordinal scale forms the framework, a score of 7 does not necessarily indicate the ideal. This characteristic minimizes the problem of inflated ratings. Results: The instrument was utilized by attending faculty to evaluate residents and also by residents as a self-evaluation. Calculated from ordinal values, mean (SD) of the ratings across domains for faculty evaluations of residents was 4.95 (0.38) while mean for self-evaluations was 4.95 (0.39). Reliability was high (coefficient alpha 0.85). Conclusions: This instrument provides a means to measure professional behaviors during surgical residency. Repeated use will be required to thoroughly establish validity and reliability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-487
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)
  • Competency
  • Measurement
  • Outcomes project
  • Professionalism
  • Reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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