Types of feedback

  1. Positive or reinforcing
    useful in identifying and encouraging helpful and effective behaviours.
  2. Constructive
    useful in identifying and adjusting behaviours that impede effective professional development.
  3. Formal
    written evaluations that happen periodically throughout a placement.
  4. Informal
    verbal comments given on a more regular basis during or after practice situations.
  5. Formative
    given throughout the placement and is intended to improve the learning experience;
    can be delivered quickly and throughout the placement;
    the more often it occurs, the easier and more normalized it will be.
  6. Summative
    given at the conclusion of a placement and is intended to provide a summary evaluation of a student’s clinical performance;
    best provided in a private, comfortable space that can encourage open communication.

A combination of all types of feedback is most often used in a teaching and learning environment and is beneficial for students and teachers.

Furthermore, feedback is an essential part of the learning process and is the main criteria for students to improve their clinical skills and for teachers and students to provide input into the learning process. [1]


Feedback can help to [2]:

  • Minimize the risk of major problems
  • Build effective clinical skills
  • Connect theory and practice
  • Encourage self-reflection
  • Strengthen self-confidence
  • Reduce fear of evaluation

[1] Heckman-Stone, C. (2004). Trainee preferences for feedback and evaluation in clinical supervision. The Clinical Supervisor, 22(1), 21-33. doi:10.1300/J001v22n01_03
[2] Clynes, M.P., & Raftery, S.E.C. (2008). Feedback: an essential element of student learning in clinical practice. Nurse Education in Practice, 8, 6, 405-411. doi:10.1016/j.nepr.2008.02.003