Background: Whether attending physicians, residents, nurses, and medical students agree on what constitutes medical student abuse, its severity, or influencing factors is unknown. Method: We surveyed 237 internal medicine attending physicians, residents, medical students, and nurses at 13 medical schools after viewing five vignettes depicting potentially abusive behaviors. Results: The majority of each group felt the belittlement, ethnic insensitivity, and sexual harassment scenarios represented abuse but that excluding a student from participating in a procedure did not. Only a majority of attending physicians considered the negative feedback scenario as abuse. Medical students rated abuse severity significantly lower than other groups in the belittlement scenario (p < .05). Respondents who felt abused as students were more likely to rate behaviors as abusive (p < .05). Conclusions: The groups generally agree on what constitutes abuse, but attending physicians and those abused as students may perceive more behaviors as abusive.
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