3.7 Understand barriers to effective feedback and how to overcome them

mod3-barriersProviding feedback can be challenging. Despite what we know about the importance of timely, effective feedback in relation to how students learn, the research reflects that feedback in clinical placements tends not to be consistently offered, and when offered it is often too late, destructive, and personal in nature [1]. This suggests that a lot of supervisors have difficulty speaking constructively with their students about performance.

Some of the reasons surrounding the reluctance to provide, or inappropriate feedback methods are listed below:

  • Providing feedback, and particularly constructive feedback, may put both student and teacher in a vulnerable position
  • When preceptors provide feedback on a student’s areas for improvement, they may not realize how the student will react
  • Fear, defensiveness, hurt feelings, anger, or awkwardness in the context of such a conversation can be normal ‘human’ feelings
  • Preceptors and students may feel that the rapport they have build may be damaged, resulting in a less comfortable learning environment for the remainder of the placement.

[1] 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