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Principles and tips for effective feedback for trainees

Whether you are seeking formal or informal feedback from your supervisor there are a number of basic principles to keep in mind.


1. Ask for feedback as soon after the event as possible and be specific when you approach your supervisor.

2. Find a quiet place wherever possible in order for the discussion to be open and honest.

3. Think about your discussion in advance and consider:

What you want them to (watch you) do?

Why you want the feedback?

How you did? – What was ok? – What needs more work?

How long will it take?

4. Feedback should be part of the overall communication process and ‘developmental dialogue’ so try to build a relationship with your supervisor as soon as possible into your rotation or post.

5. If you receive negative feedback, reflect on this and assess how you can suggest improvements. If necessary ask the supervisor if you can arrange a further meeting to discuss your suggestions.

6. Be clear about what you are receiving feedback on and link this to your overall professional development and/or intended programme outcomes.

7. Identify two or three key messages which can be summarised at the end of the feedback session.

8. Ask for clarification and examples if statements are unclear or unsupported.

9. Think about your own reflection. This will involve open questions such as:

(a) Did it go as planned? If not, why not?

(b) If you were doing it again what would you do the same next time and what would you do differently? Why?

(c) How did you feel during the session? How would you feel about doing it again?

(e) What did you learn from this session?

Trainee Feedback Questions