Background: Students' willingness to provide candid feedback about faculty in student-preceptor pairs is unknown. Strategies addressing this in U.S. medical schools have not been reported. This study describes student comfort in evaluating preceptors and how medical schools obtain/use evaluations of preceptors.
Method: First- and second-year medical students at Virginia Commonwealth University completed a survey at midyear and year end. A Web-based survey of U.S. medical schools was conducted.
Results: Two hundred eighty-two (78%) students and 84 (70%) medical schools responded. Most students felt comfortable providing feedback to program faculty (95%), whereas fewer felt comfortable with the preceptor (77%). Students commented on both the importance and awkwardness of giving feedback. Approximately 75% of medical schools agreed that lack of anonymity limits student candor on preceptorship evaluations.
Conclusions: Understanding the impact of one-to-one ratio on student evaluations of faculty may enable programs to develop more effective evaluation strategies.