The primary goal of successful pimping should be to
create an interactive learning environment that effectively
highlights knowledge deficits without humiliation.
fourth-year medical students regarding their experience with pimping during their clinical years.
All student respondents said they had experienced
pimping at some point in their medical education.
Although some students had experienced embarrassment or humiliation after being asked questions
they felt were above their level of education, all
students responded positively to the pimping technique. They noted an appreciation for pimping as
a way to learn and for their instructors to measure
the student’s level of knowledge.
A study from 2011 by Zou and colleagues compared teaching third- and fourth-year medical
students using the Socratic method with standard
PowerPoint-based didactic lectures.
1 Of the 74
medical students evaluated in the study, 81 percent
preferred the interactive dialogue of the Socratic
method to a standard lecture, and 73 percent of
students found pimping to be an effective method
of learning. Two-thirds of the students preferred
interactive sessions in which students volunteered
answers as opposed to the historical approach of
pimping in which students are called upon randomly to answer questions. Overwhelmingly,
when asked the preferred method of small-group
learning (five to eight students and one instructor), 93 percent of students preferred the Socratic
method to didactic lectures. Student comments
included a sense of improved knowledge when they
were actively questioned (whether they answered
correctly or incorrectly) and a preference for volunteering answers rather than being singled out.
These studies affirm that—when done in a positive
way that focuses on interactive learning as opposed
to reinforcing the traditional surgical hierarchy—
students favor this type of instruction.
Successful pimping strategies
The primary goal of successful pimping should be
to create an interactive learning environment that
effectively highlights knowledge deficits without
humiliation. Several important considerations can