Assessment of communication skills of surgical residents using the Social Skills Inventory

Am J Surg. 2007 Sep;194(3):401-5. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2006.11.039.


Background: Interpersonal and communication skills are 1 of the 6 core competencies articulated as essential to resident education by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The current study assessed verbal and nonverbal communication skills among surgical residents.

Methods: The communication skills of surgical residents (n = 64) were assessed using the Social Skills Inventory.

Results: The majority of surgical residents demonstrated strong verbal and nonverbal skills, although the equilibrium index scores demonstrated an imbalance in the social skill profile for a minority (17.2%) of residents. Post graduate year was positively related to social expressivity (r = .31, P < .01) and social control (r = .27, P < .01) skills. In some cases, being proficient in one social skill was actually negatively related to another.

Conclusions: The Social Skills Inventory was found to be a useful instrument for the multidimensional assessment of resident communication skills. Areas of strengths and weaknesses were identified and could be used for targeting areas for future educational interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Professional Competence*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires