Spaced education improves the feedback that surgical residents give to medical students: a randomized trial

Am J Surg. 2009 Feb;197(2):252-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2008.01.025. Epub 2008 Aug 22.


Background: Surgery residents teach medical students; feedback is one critical teaching skill. We investigated whether feedback given by surgery residents to students could be improved through an online spaced education program.

Methods: Surgery residents were randomized to receive either a weekly spaced education e-mail during a 9-month period containing teaching bullets on how to provide effective feedback, or no intervention. Medical students rated the frequency and quality of feedback they received from the residents.

Results: Students reported 45% (67 of 149) of the spaced education residents gave frequent feedback, compared with 31% (55 of 175) of control residents (relative risk [RR], 1.43; P = .016). Students reported resident feedback was "helpful in their learning" in 92% (132 of 143) of their evaluations of spaced education residents, compared with 82% (132 of 161) of their evaluations of control residents (RR, 1.13; P = .01).

Conclusions: Educational programs using feedback bullets e-mailed weekly can significantly improve the frequency and quality of feedback that surgical residents provide medical students.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical
  • Education, Medical, Graduate*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Electronic Mail
  • Female
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Male
  • Teaching
  • Time Factors