Giving feedback to learners is an essential tool in medical education. Despite feedback seeming so ubiquitous in the teaching environment, formal instruction on how to give relevant and timely feedback seems to be lacking. Without instruction on effective feedback, faculty and students might be uncomfortable and feel unprepared to provide feedback. Consequently, the feedback that is given may not be as helpful to the learner intended. This study sought to evaluate the the impact of a patient care handoff curriculum with a strong emphasis on feedback on students’ comfort level surrounding feedback and their perception of the helpfulness of feedback.
34 fourth‐year medical students participated in a one‐month curriculum designed to teach handoffs. Students were taught how to conduct handoffs and give feedback on handoff performance. Students were directly observed transferring patient care to a peer three times. Following the handoffs, faculty gave students immediate feedback and peers receiving the handoff completed structured rating forms of the students’ performance. In addition, peers completed a feedback form overnight, rating the sufficiency and usefulness of the handoff. In the morning, peer written and verbal feedback were shared with the students. Using paired t‐tests, ratings of student comfort with feedback and perceived usefulness of feedback were compared between the rotation start and end.
At the rotation start, students’ mean ratings of their comfort level with giving and receiving feedback were 3.09 and 4.09 respectively, based on a 1‐5 Likert scale with higher values indicating more favorable ratings. By rotation end, students rated their comfort level giving and receiving feedback as 4.29 and 4.62, showing an improvement in their comfort concerning the exchange of feedback (P<0.0001). At the rotation start, students rated the helpfulness of feedback from peers and faculty as 4.35 and 4.59. By rotation end, students rated feedback from peers and faculty as 4.59 and 4.74, showing an increased perception of the helpfulness of feedback following this curriculum (p=0.04).
A curriculum with an emphasis on feedback increases student comfort giving and receiving feedback and increases recognition of the helpfulness of receiving feedback from both faculty and peers. Integrating feedback instruction within the context of a specific care responsibility such as patient care handoffs can be feasible and effective.