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The influence of gender on the communication skills assessment of medical students

  • Chin-Chou Huang
    Affiliations
    Department of Medical Education, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

    Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

    Faculty of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

    Cardiovascular Research Center, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

    Institute of Pharmacology, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.
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  • Chia-Chang Huang
    Affiliations
    Department of Medical Education, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

    Faculty of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.
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  • Ying-Ying Yang
    Affiliations
    Department of Medical Education, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

    Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

    Faculty of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.
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  • Shing-Jong Lin
    Affiliations
    Department of Medical Research, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

    Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

    Cardiovascular Research Center, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

    Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.
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  • Jaw-Wen Chen
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: Department of Medical Research, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, No. 201, Sec. 2, Shih-Pai Road, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C. Tel.: +886 2 28757434; fax: +886 2 2871 1601.
    Affiliations
    Department of Medical Research, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

    Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

    Cardiovascular Research Center, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

    Institute of Pharmacology, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.
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      Highlights

      • We investigated the influence of gender on the communication skills assessment.
      • The students performed better when interacting with female standardized patients.
      • Male students performed worse when interacting with male standardized patients.
      • Female standardized patients may be preferable to minimize gender effects.
      • The global rating scores may be preferable for the communication skills assessment.

      Abstract

      Background

      Opinions on the interaction between the genders of standardized patients and examinees are controversial. Our study sought to determine the influence of gender on communication skills assessment in Eastern country.

      Methods

      We recruited year 5 medical students from a medical college in Taiwan. They were assigned to obtain informed consent from either male or female age-matched standardized patients. Their performance was rated by standardized checklist rating scores and global rating scores. Either male or female examiners rated their performance.

      Results

      A total of 253 medical students (166 male students and 87 female students) were recruited. The checklist rating scores for students interacting with male standardized patients were significantly lower than the scores for interactions with female standardized patients (male examiners, P = 0.006; female examiners, P = 0.001). For male students, the checklist rating scores were significantly lower for male standardized patients than for female standardized patients (male examiners, P = 0.006; female examiners, P = 0.008). For male standardized patients, male students had significantly lower checklist rating scores than female students when rated by male examiners (P = 0.044). The global rating scores were similar except when female students interacted with male and female SPs and when rated by female examiners (P = 0.004).

      Conclusion

      The gender of standardized patients influences communication skills assessment. In terms of checklist rating scores, female standardized patients seem preferable to minimize potential gender effects. In the best interest of students, global rating score may be preferable to checklist rating score, especially for male examinees.

      Abbreviations:

      ANOVA (Analysis of variance), OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Exam), SP (Standardized patient)

      Keywords

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