ABSTRACT: The positive effect of immediate feedback on medical student education during the surgical clerkship
BACKGROUND AND AIMS:
Feedback from faculty to medical students is vital in medical education. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility and educational benefits of a program that incorporates seeking immediate feedback by students from their faculty during the third-year medical student core surgery clerkship.
Using a crossover model, students in the intervention group sought daily feedback from their faculty surgeons, whereas those in the nonfeedback comparison group did not seek feedback. These groups crossed over every 2 weeks for the 8 surgical weeks of their 12-week clerkship. Weekly surveys, using 7-point Likert scales, were used by the participating students and surgical faculty to measure outcomes.
Among 53 potential students, 33 were enrolled. Students reported significantly more weekly immediate feedback sessions in the experimental group (1.21 vs 0.67, p = 0.002). Additionally, in the experimental group, there were significantly more occasions where faculty surgeons provided specific guidance as to how students could further their education (1.25 vs 0.83, p = 0.02). Although not significant, there were trends toward the experimental group reporting their faculty feedback to be more specific, sufficient, and including both more positive and negative feedback. There were no significant differences in student self-assessments or faculty assessments of knowledge and skills. Student participation was a major impediment to this study.
Despite the challenges, there appear to be real educational gains associated with immediate feedback. The results suggest that an immediate feedback program can be implemented and may enhance the dialog in the student-faculty relationship. Further research could focus on improving student participation and the quality of attending faculty feedback.