Dr. Kristina Kaljo Authors article in Elsevier’s American Journal of Surgery

Dr. Kristina Kaljo Authors article in Elsevier’s American Journal of Surgery

Kristin Kaljo, PhD, Associate Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology, is a contributing author of “Medical Students and Mattering on the Surgery Clerkship Rotation” in Elsevier’s American Journal of Surgery.

Mattering is a psychosocial construct that describes an individual’s perception that they make a difference in the lives of others and that they are significant in the world. The purpose of this study was to explore the current perception of behaviors that impact mattering among third year medical students on their surgery clerkship with the goal of improving the clerkship experience.

In this study, medical students easily identified behaviors and interactions in the three domains of mattering, which include awareness, importance, and reliance, throughout the surgical clerkship. The subthemes that emerged within each of the three major domains highlights behaviors that faculty and residents can learn and modify (Fig. 1). Awareness behaviors include acknowledging the student’s presence, maintaining eye contact, offering the educators’ undivided attention, and getting to know the students as individuals. Importance includes educators taking time to teach, setting expectations early, and providing timely feedback. Reliance for students requires the development of trust with increasing autonomy with experience and depending on the students to provide unique information about patient care to the team. Thus, all three domains of mattering are critical to the experience of students on the surgery clerkship.

The findings from this qualitative study can help educators recognize the words, actions and behaviors that make medical students on their surgery clerkship feel they matter. Student perceptions about mattering in this study confirmed that mattering is a relational concept. Thus, interventions should continue to focus on how to increase the sense of awareness, importance and reliance for both the students and faculty.