, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 721-726,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 22 Apr 2009

Teaching Feedback to First-year Medical Students: Long-term Skill Retention and Accuracy of Student Self-assessment

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND

Giving and receiving feedback are critical skills and should be taught early in the process of medical education, yet few studies discuss the effect of feedback curricula for first-year medical students.

OBJECTIVES

To study short-term and long-term skills and attitudes of first-year medical students after a multidisciplinary feedback curriculum.

DESIGN

Prospective pre- vs. post-course evaluation using mixed-methods data analysis.

PARTICIPANTS

First-year students at a public university medical school.

INTERVENTIONS

We collected anonymous student feedback to faculty before, immediately after, and 8 months after the curriculum and classified comments by recommendation (reinforcing/corrective) and specificity (global/specific). Students also self-rated their comfort with and quality of feedback. We assessed changes in comments (skills) and self-rated abilities (attitudes) across the three time points.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS

Across the three time points, students’ evaluation contained more corrective specific comments per evaluation [pre-curriculum mean (SD) 0.48 (0.99); post-curriculum 1.20 (1.7); year-end 0.95 (1.5); p = 0.006]. Students reported increased skill and comfort in giving and receiving feedback and at providing constructive feedback (p < 0.001). However, the number of specific comments on year-end evaluations declined [pre 3.35 (2.0); post 3.49 (2.3); year-end 2.8 (2.1)]; p = 0.008], as did students’ self-rated ability to give specific comments.

CONCLUSION

Teaching feedback to early medical students resulted in improved skills of delivering corrective specific feedback and enhanced comfort with feedback. However, students’ overall ability to deliver specific feedback decreased over time.

An abstract of this study was presented at a poster session at the AAMC Annual Meeting, Washington DC, November 2007.