Common Barriers to Good Feedback
“I received little feedback and I did just fine, so my student will do fine without it too.”
Expecting students to determine their strengths and weaknesses on their own is an inefficient way to teach. Without feedback, students learn more slowly and learning will be a more frustrating process. Plus, nothing is worse than receiving a “surprise” final evaluation, when, had students received feedback during the rotation, they could have attempted to address the issue. Providing feedback benefits everyone - students improve more quickly, and teaching becomes more efficient and effective.
“I don’t have enough time to provide feedback.”
TIME is one of the most valuable commodities in clinical settings. Everyone feels pressure to handle large caseloads. In fact at UVA, time was listed as the greatest barrier to teaching by residents and fellows. However, providing feedback need not be time-consuming, particularly when done regularly throughout the day. It only requires a few sentences related to specific cases or situations to help students identify behaviors to continue or those to change. While it is also helpful to conduct more leisurely, sit-down feedback sessions, a lot of feedback can be given “on the fly” and need not take a lot of time.
“I don’t think the student does this all of the time, so I won’t say anything.”
At times, it can be difficult to discern between commonly occurring behaviors versus situational behaviors, particularly if your contact time with the student is limited. However, it is important to address behaviors even if you think they may not be typical. For example, you could say,
“I noticed that “x” seemed to happen with this patient. I don’t know if this is something that you normally do, but just in case, what is your sense of how it went?”