Background Learner mistreatment has been a long-standing example of unprofessional behavior in medical training. Alignment of perceptions of professional behavior is a critical component of developing a defined organizational culture. Clinical vignettes addressing learner mistreatment can help to achieve this goal. Our aim was to determine whether using clinical vignettes to address learner mistreatment during onboarding can reduce variability in the perceptions of mistreatment. Materials and methods External experts in the field of labor and employment relations embedded in the clinical learning environment identified six thematic areas of potential mistreatment. Corresponding clinical case vignettes were developed and presented to incoming trainees during the onboarding process, followed by facilitated discussion. Perceptions of mistreatment before and after discussion were assessed on a Likert scale, with results compared using F-test and t-test. Results There were 145 participants. Most participants reported previously witnessing or experiencing episodes of mistreatment before matriculation (84%), with the majority reporting multiple events. The most common offenders were faculty (57%), residents/fellows (49%), and nurses (33%). Only 10% of incoming trainees reported a previous incident of mistreatment. Postintervention scores demonstrated decreased variability (P < 0.05) in perceptions of mistreatment in all but one vignette (withholding learning opportunities). Two vignettes demonstrated higher perception of mistreatment after intervention (noneducational tasks and gender or racial discrimination, P < 0.05). Conclusions Mistreatment remains a prevalent phenomenon in medical training involving a wide cross-section of healthcare providers. Trainees arrive with discordant definitions of mistreatment. Alignment of individuals' definitions can be achieved through the use of carefully crafted clinical vignettes and facilitated discussion.
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