Do female surgeons learn or teach differently?

Cody A. Nebeker, Marc D. Basson, Pam S. Haan, Alan T. Davis, Muhammad Ali, Rama N. Gupta, Robert L. Osmer, John C. Hardaway, Andi N. Peshkepija, Michael K. McLeod, Cheryl I. Anderson*, Karen A. Chojnacki, Charles J. Yeo, Francesco Palazzo, Jeffrey M. Gauvin, Anthony S. Pozzessere, Rondi B. Gelbard, Keith A. Delman, Denny R. Martin, Joanna Y. WooLaura E. Tate, Nicolas Elliott, Robert G. Molnar, Christopher C. Pfeifer, Lawrence Narkiewicz, Shawn H. Obi, Daniel E. Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background Gender and/or gender-stereotypes might influence surgical education. We hypothesized that female surgeons might focus their learning and teaching differently from male surgeons. Methods Residents and surgeons (multi-institutional) individually recorded preoperatively discussed learning objectives (LO) for matching cases. Narratives were classified as knowledge-based, skill-based, or attitude-based. Multinomial logistic regression analyses, LO = dependent variable; independent variables = resident/surgeon gender, PGY level, timing of entry-to-procedure date, and quarters-of-year. Results 727 LOs from 125 residents (41% female) and 49 surgeons (20% female) were classified. Female residents were 1.4 times more likely to select knowledge over skill. With female surgeons, residents were 1.6 and 2.1 times more likely to select knowledge over skill and attitude over skill than if the surgeon was male. PGY 4/5 residents chose attitude-based LOs over junior residents. Conclusion Resident, surgeon gender and year-of-training influence learning objectives. Whether this reflects gender stereotyping by residents or differences in attending teaching styles awaits further exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-287
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender
  • Learning objectives
  • Perioperative
  • Residents
  • Surgery


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