Overcoming barriers

In order to overcome barriers to integrating effective feedback into our learning environment, as preceptors, [1] we need to:

  1. Self-assess. What makes me uncomfortable about providing feedback? What am I the most worried about?
  2. Augment our communication skills. Health professionals are no different than the rest of the population when it comes to conflict – we don’t like it, and we tend to avoid it if we possibly can.
  3. Start early. Talk with students at the beginning of the placement about the importance of feedback and your approach to it. Be sure to stress that feedback is an essential component of clinical learning.
  4. Observe regularly and often. It isn’t possible to assess and contribute to a skill set that you haven’t had a chance to observe. It is essential that feedback be specific and based on behaviors, and you won’t be able to provide this without having spent time watching the student practice.

[1] The Mountain Area Health Education Centre (MAHEC), Department of Continuing Medical Education. Evaluation – making it work: An Educational Monograph for Community-Based Teachers. 1-24. Available online: https://portal.utpa.edu/portal/page/portal/utpa_main/daa_home/hshs_home/pasp_home/pasp_preceptors/preceptors_files/Evaluation.pdf