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Acad Med. 2015 May;90(5):559-61. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000559.

Feedback in clinical education: untying the Gordian knot.

Author information

1
D.F. Weinstein is vice president for graduate medical education, Partners HealthCare System, and associate professor of medicine, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Abstract

Feedback is essential to clinical education, especially in the era of competencies, milestones, and entrustable professional activities. It is, however, an area where medical educators often fall short. Although educational leaders and faculty supervisors provide feedback in a variety of clinical settings, surveys show important gaps in medical student and resident satisfaction with the feedback received, suggesting lost opportunities to identify performance problems as well as to help each learner reach his or her greatest potential.In this issue of Academic Medicine, Telio and colleagues extend the empirically validated concept of a "therapeutic alliance" to propose the "educational alliance" as a framework for enhancing feedback in medical education. They highlight the importance of source credibility, which depends on the teacher-learner relationship and alignment of values, the teacher's understanding of the learner's role and goals, the teacher's direct observation of the learner, and the learner's perception of the teacher's good intentions. The author of this Commentary suggests that the educational alliance framework should prompt medical educators to reconsider feedback and explore opportunities for optimizing it. Most medical schools and graduate medical education programs are not designed in a way that supports the education alliance model, but the Commentary author offers suggestions for cultivating educational alliances, including rethinking supervisor selection criteria. Such interventions should be combined with ongoing faculty development and efforts to improve coaching and mentoring for students, residents, and fellows. Untying the Gordian knot of effective feedback will require innovative approaches, exchange of successful strategies, and continued research.

PMID:
25406602
DOI:
10.1097/ACM.0000000000000559
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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