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As clerkship directors (CDs) we are continually providing feedback to our learners and our learners consistently ask for more feedback. A post on The Learning Scientists Blog by Stacey R. Finkelstein entitled “Two Myths about Feedback (and Why the Myths are Wrong)” discusses two common feedback myths. One is that people don’t want to receive negative feedback and two is that people understand the feedback you give. In reflecting on this post, I was struck by the fact that feedback is received differently by novices and experts and that the learner’s motivation matters. Feedback given to early learners considering EM as a specialty needs to be different than the feedback given to visiting students on their third EM rotation. Novices tend to need more positive feedback to support their commitment and motivation to learn the new material. This is compared to “experts” (i.e. the learner on a third EM rotation) who are motivated more by self-improvement and thus are more open to negative feedback. The post also reminded me that I need to be clear in my feedback language. I need to ensure that the learner understands the feedback I am providing and has interpreted the feedback how I intended. Similar to using the teach-back method for patient education, we should check that our learners have understood their feedback. Giving feedback to learners can be difficult and this post provides 2 tips on providing better feedback-try to understand your learner’s motivation and ensure understanding of feedback you have provided!



Kendra Parekh, MD


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