Feedback in the emergency medicine clerkship

West J Emerg Med. 2011 Nov;12(4):537-42. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2010.9.2014.


Objective: Feedback is a technique used in medical education to help develop and improve clinical skills. A comprehensive review article specifically intended for the emergency medicine (EM) educator is lacking, and it is the intent of this article to provide the reader with an in-depth, up-to-date, and evidence-based review of feedback in the context of the EM clerkship.

Methods: The review article is organized in a progressive manner, beginning with the definition of feedback, the importance of feedback in medical education, the obstacles limiting the effective delivery of feedback, and the techniques to overcome these obstacles then follows. The article concludes with practical recommendations to implement feedback in the EM clerkship. To advance the literature on feedback, the concept of receiving feedback is introduced.

Results: The published literature regarding feedback is limited but generally supportive of its importance and effectiveness. Obstacles in the way of feedback include time constraints, lack of direct observation, and fear of negative emotional responses from students. Feedback should be timely, expected, focused, based on first-hand data, and limited to behaviors that are remediable. Faculty development and course structure can improve feedback in the EM clerkship. Teaching students to receive feedback is a novel educational technique that can improve the feedback process.

Conclusion: Feedback is an important educational technique necessary to improve clinical skills. Feedback can be delivered effectively in the EM clerkship.