Giving Effective Feedback


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Charlene M. Dewey, MD, MEd, FACP, Assistant Dean of Educator Development; Associate Professor of Medical Education and Administration; and Associate Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, offers these suggestions for effectively communicating feedback to trainees.

Setting the Parameters

  • At the start of a rotation, talk with students about their goals and objectives; create a safe learning environment; and let them know to expect feedback.
  • If you are giving immediate feedback to correct a negative behavior, for example, the student said something inappropriate to a patient, be sure to give specific guidance and a plan for improvement.
  • Evaluations should be based on direct observations, not on rumor or second-hand information.

During the Meeting

  • Encourage the trainee to self-assess his or her performance.
  • Share your impression of positive behaviors and areas that need improving.
  • Provide suggestions for problem solving.
  • Assess how well the trainee understood your evaluation.
  • Provide a review of your assessment based on your observations of the learners’ skills and behaviors to be improved prior to the final evaluation.
  • Make plans to follow up on progress. ■

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Providing students and residents with feedback on their medical performance is a key element in their learning and development and ensures that high standards are met, according to Charlene M. Dewey, MD, MEd, FACP, Assistant Dean of Educator Development; Associate Professor of Medical Education and ...


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