Giving Effective Feedback in the ER

Giving feedback to students in the ER is easy. If they did well, you say “STRONG WORK!” and if they did poorly… “READ MORE.” Of course, this provides nothing the student can use to improve. Drs. Ester Choo and Michelle Lin from San Francisco General Hospital created this video on how to give effective feedback.

Concrete and on-the-spot feedback is important to allow students to understand how they are doing and make changes to their behavior. Be nice, but don’t be afraid to give constructive criticism. Remember our goal is to help create good doctors.

One trick I like to use is to have the student at the beginning of their shift identify one area they want to work on. This may be reading EKG’s, creating appropriate differential diagnoses or presenting in a concise and focused way. If they don’t provide something, then you can suggest something: “Today, why don’t we concentrate on appropriate ordering of testing.”

Having one item to work on makes it easier to observe the student’s performance and offer a plan for them to improve. Offer this feedback, at several times during the shift and announce it as such.

“Let me give you some feedback on how you’re doing so far on your presentation. Your HPI was disjointed, you can really tighten it up by using your differential to come up with the pertinent positives and negatives. Why don’t you you see this lady with chest pain and try that before the next patient you present to me.”

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