C1 - 03: ANALYSIS OF SURGICAL STUDENT REFLECTIVE WRITING REVEALS EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND GUIDES CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT
Natalie M Best, MD, Parvaneh K Nouri, BS, L A Duckworth, BS, Kimberly Senko, BS, Paloma Reta-Impey, BS, Priti Parikh, PhD, Mary C McCarthy, MD, FACS, Joon K Shim, MD, MPH, FACS, Garietta Falls, MD, FACS; Wright State University
Objective: Reflective writing has been proposed as means of cultivating professional identity and strengthening emotional intelligence among clinicians. Incorporating it into third year general surgery clerkships could also improve the experience of students, regardless of their chosen specialty. After a thorough literature review, no prior studies have evaluated the content of writings done as a portion of surgical curriculum. This pilot study evaluates reflective writing to assess student experiences and the efficacy of current curriculum.
Methods: An independent panel of researchers performed qualitative analysis using the constant comparative method to evaluate 98 essays submitted by third year medical students at Wright State University over the 2016-2017 academic year. Essays were analyzed for themes and types of interactions. Data was collected on whether students chose to write about positive or negative experiences and whether these experiences left a positive or negative impact on the student. Finally, essays were evaluated for evidence of emotional intelligence, empathy, or reaction formation. The panel of researchers evaluated essays independently, agreed upon clear definitions of terms, and met in order to decide upon any discrepancies in evaluation of student work.
Results: A total of twenty themes were discovered and tracked. Compassion (48%), identify formation (46%), and a sense of responsibility (39%) were the most common themes. Despite the project taking place as part of the surgical clerkship, the vast majority of students (78%) wrote about non-surgical experiences. In addition, 49% of students elected to write about a negative experience; however, only 12% showed evidence that their experience left a negative impact on them. Within the writing, researchers noted evidence of emotional intelligence in 44%, empathy in 21%, and reaction formation in only 15%.
Conclusion: By using qualitative analysis of student’s reflective writing, a standardized curriculum is being developed to meet the specific needs of third year surgery clerkship students. This project is also catalyzing further research into the long term impact of reflective writing on preserving compassion as well as developing empathy and emotional intelligence among physicians at their earliest stages of clinical training.