These strategies have been developed from selected literature on giving feedback.
Preparing for the feedback session
- Observe the candidate first hand.
- Identify the criteria against which to performance is assessed.
- Plan feedback content based on goals and criteria; consider amount of feedback.
- Choose a suitable environment (privacy/setting).
- Deliver feedback in a timely manner – as close as possible to the encounter.
- Plan how you will deliver the feedback. Different techniques include:
- describing what went well and what needs improvement.
- using the expanded feedback sandwich (see 23).
Conducting the feedback session
- Establish consensus on expectations: Try to align the candidate’s agenda with yours; start where the candidate is at; target feedback to the candidate’s needs and readiness to change.
- Ensure relevant feedback: Align to candidate’s performance, marking criteria and clinical environment.
- Establish a collegial interaction.
- Use effective communication skills such as:
- Be aware of your body language – respond with empathy; consider verbal/non-verbal behaviour.
- Use attentive listening.
- Be aware of your feelings.
- Check candidate’s understanding.
- Ask the candidate first about their impressions of their performance and then respond. For specific components, you may ask the candidate to rate their performance as a first step. This process allows the candidate to calibrate/compare with your assessment.
- Observe procedural fairness: Conduct assessment in a consistent way.
- Be specific and precise: Focus on two to three points only; don’t overwhelm the candidate; clarify matters of fact; use specific examples of behaviours.
- Focus on what you’ve seen: Emphasise performance, not personal characteristics.
- Be honest.
- Encourage reflection by using open or directed questions appropriately, to encourage deeper understanding/reflection. Ask ‘why’ questions.
- Overcome avoidance strategies: Be assertive in your critique; stand behind your judgement.
- Ask the candidate to suggest strategies for change or offer options and allow candidate to select.
- Indicate how the desired behaviour will improve clinical practice.
- Develop an action plan: Encourage performance improvement.
- Ensure adequate documentation.
- Summarise at end. Check candidate’s understanding and commitment to continued improvement.
- Use the expanded feedback sandwich:
- ‘What do you think you did well?’ (refer to points 7, 9, 10, 11)
- ‘What do you think needs improvement?’ (The candidate is usually on target) (refer to points 10, 11, 14, 16)
- ‘This is what I saw that went well.’ (refer to points 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 21)
- ‘This is what I saw that needs improvement.’ (Generally there is concurrence) (refer to points 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 21)
- ‘How would you try to improve?’ (refer to points 7, 10, 16, 18)
- ‘Here are some suggestions you might try.’ (refer to points 10, 13, 17, 19, 21)
- ‘Which would you like to try first?’ (refer to points 10, 16, 18)
After the session
- Be reflective of your approach and the strategies you used in giving feedback overall. Reflect and seek feedback on your own performance.
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