Are residents accurate in their assessments of their own surgical skills?

Am J Surg. 2012 Nov;204(5):724-31. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2012.03.003. Epub 2012 May 18.


Background: An appropriate level of awareness of one's own technical skill is essential to being an effective self-directed learner. The aim of this study was to analyze surgical residents' self-awareness by examining their ability to predict and assess their own performance in an objective surgical skills examination.

Methods: Surgical residents' (n = 216) pre-examination self-predicted scores and post-examination self-assessed scores were compared with objectively measured scores. Accuracy of score prediction and self-assessment were compared with resident demographics (age, gender, year of training, and nationality).

Results: Post-examination self-assessed scores correlated with objectively assessed scores (r = .34; P < .001). Higher year of training, older age, and non-European nationality were predictive of accuracy in self-prediction and self-assessment.

Conclusions: Demographic variables that predict more accurate self-awareness of technical skill have been identified. Surgical training programs may use these data to anticipate the trainees who need assistance in developing better self-awareness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Female
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires