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J Vet Med Educ. 2014 Summer;41(2):162-71. doi: 10.3138/jvme.1013-142R.

Initiatives to improve feedback culture in the final year of a veterinary program.


Despite the recognized importance of feedback in education, student satisfaction with the feedback process in medical and veterinary programs is often disappointing. We undertook various initiatives to try to improve the feedback culture in the final clinical year of the veterinary program at the University of Bristol, focusing on formative verbal feedback. The initiatives included E-mailed guidelines to staff and students, a faculty development workshop, and a reflective portfolio task for students. Following these initiatives, staff and students were surveyed regarding their perceptions of formative feedback in clinical rotations, and focus groups were held to further explore issues. The amount of feedback appeared to have increased, along with improved recognition of feedback by students and increased staff confidence and competence in the process. Other themes that emerged included inconsistencies in feedback among staff and between rotations; difficulties with giving verbal feedback to students, particularly when it relates to professionalism; the consequences of feedback for both staff and students; changes and challenges in students' feedback-seeking behavior; and the difficulties in providing accurate, personal end-of-rotation assessments. This project has helped improve the feedback culture within our clinics; the importance of sustaining and further developing the feedback culture is discussed in this article.


clinical workplace; faculty development; feedback; veterinary education

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