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March 4, 2020

Should We Train Female and Male Residents Slightly Differently?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison
JAMA Surg. Published online March 4, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2019.5887

In coaching women, there is more of a need for “ego-boosting.“ With men, it is more “ego-busting.”

Anson Dorrance

Studies have shown gender differences in self-evaluation, confidence, and perceptions of competence.1-4 To our knowledge, how these gender disparities may affect surgical training is rarely discussed in academic surgery. On average, female surgical residents underrate themselves compared with male residents.1 Female self-underrating is also present in society—culturally and in professional domains.2 Differences in gender self-evaluation have been hypothesized to arise from differences in socialization, implicit gender bias, and even hormonal influences.2 It is important to consider how these differences are associated with surgical training, especially as recent studies have demonstrated a gender autonomy gap in residency.5,6 Furthermore, some programs are beginning to implement competency-based training in which unrecognized gender training gaps could systematically affect female trainees.

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