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How to Take Feedback like a Champ

Cover Stories Education & Training NP Faculty

How to Take Feedback like a Champ

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It is your second week at clinicals and your preceptor says, “I would like to speak with you.” Your heart starts racing and, you feel yourself getting warm contemplating what she or he is going to say. No need to panic. Constructive feedback is not bad but is necessary for growth. We all have heard or felt uneasy when it comes to evaluation of our performance but feedback allows you, as the preceptee or student to have an opportunity to debrief with your preceptor at the end of the clinical day.

Constructive feedback is inevitable in our lives. As much negative feedback on social media, it’s no wonder people shy away from being corrected. Unfortunately, none of us can hide from the guidance of others which is an essential part of a learning curve. For work and school, it’s a means of showing your ability to learn from the feedback. The feedback fosters awareness in areas of performance weaknesses or opposite that in areas that you may do well. When being evaluated, consider being open to the information even if you do not agree.

I understand, no-one wants someone else pointing out their flaws but look at feedback in another way. The way you receive feedback can make or break you. It is also demonstrates your character and receptiveness to do better in a professional environment. For instance, your preceptor says, “you came with some great differentials today and I encourage you to go back and review the classic presentation for a sore throat”. A great response would be “thanks for the feedback.”

Although feedback does not imply negativity, did you know the manner in which you provide the feedback can be negative? It has been proven that feedback that is positive reinforces the likelihood of the person continuing the desired behavior.  We all desire positive reinforcement but in healthcare constructive feedback is just as important.  None of us are perfect or will practice perfectly. For those of you who give feedback, here are some ways to provide in a positive light:

  1. Sandwich method

In this method you provide positive, then constructive then provide positive again.

For example: “I noticed how well you interacted with the family. I need to let you know that the time you spent with the family interfered with the time you needed to spend with the next patient. The best way to handle families that want to keep your attention is to let them know .

  1. Evidence-Effect-Change (EEC)

E-Focus on the behavior and not the personality.

E-Focus on the impact the behavior had on the patient care.

C-Provide suggestions on how to improve the behavior.

  1. Group Feedback 

This method is ideal for a multidisciplinary team or group preceptorship. Group feedback provides an opportunity for the team to address the problem, and learn from each other with the leader as the facilitator.

Constructive Feedback Pearls

  1. Decide on the best time to give feedback. At the end of the clinical day or throughout the day. You want to avoid overloading the student with feedback.
  2. Decide on an approach to give constructive feedback.
  3. Avoid giving feedback in front of others.
  4. Provide feedback on the act (what you observed) not the person.
  5. Allow the student the opportunity to respond. A response is not confrontation but allows the student to process the feedback and correct the action.

How do you receive constructive feedback? Email us at editor@npstudentmagazine.com.  We would love to feature your story in our next issue.

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Crystal Carithers, MSN, RN

Professional Registered Nurse with 16 years of nursing experience including three years in nursing academics.

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