Implementing the ACGME general competencies in a cardiothoracic surgery residency program using 360-degree feedback

Robert S.D. Higgins, Jessica Bridges, James M. Burke, Mary Alice O'Donnell, Neri M. Cohen, Susan B. Wilkes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background. Methods to assess the six competency categories outlined by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education are essential to allow residency programs to develop reproducible evaluations of their educational curriculum. Current tools to evaluate competencies are insufficient to perform these tasks, particularly in subspecialty disciplines. The key objective of this initiative was to develop and implement an evaluative tool that would provide data to residents and program leadership regarding their performance and to provide the training program with a reliable way to assess this component of the program. Methods. Utilizing a highly customized survey tool with a group of cardiothoracic residents, we implemented a 360-degree performance assessment process based on the six Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education competency areas. The full spectrum of associations in a resident's sphere of interaction were surveyed (ie, supervisors, peers, direct reports, nurses, and administrative personnel). Results. Each resident received a comprehensive report that included detailed documentation of the self-evaluation and the average rating of others by category. Each resident also received a transcript of the responses to the open-ended questions and summary of the data highlighting areas of excellence, areas for improvement, and suggested goals and recommendations. The program director received copies of all of these as well as a chart documenting the average scores on each item for the whole cohort. Each resident met with the 360-degree feedback specialist and the program director to develop and commit to an action plan based on the feedback. The feedback process was repeated approximately 8 months later. Conclusions. The 360-degree feedback results provided valuable information for the residents. It also provided our program with a reproducible, quantifiable tool to assess these competencies. Combined with other instruments, the 360-degree feedback was found to be a particularly valuable instrument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-17
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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