Aim: This study seeks to explore formative feedback during clerkships from the student perspective and to determine whether a modest intervention aimed at students can impact their attitudes or behavior regarding feedback interactions. Background: Multiple studies document medical student dissatisfaction with a lack of feedback from attending physicians and housestaff regarding their performance during their clerkship rotations. While feedback is essential to skill building, and feedback-seeking a necessary component of self-awareness, studies indicate that little progress has been made in understanding or addressing these student concerns. Methods: Participants included the entire third-year class of a medical school (n=189). They were surveyed about their attitudes and experience with regard to receiving feedback during clerkships using both Likert-type questions and open-ended questions. Half of the class was assigned to receive a brief intervention, a workshop dealing with the nature of feedback and ways to actively elicit it from housestaff and attendings. Results: Qualitative results indicated that students initially conceived of feedback as a linear process, from instructor to student, and they felt both the lack of time on the ward and instructors' apparent inapproachability were major barriers in receiving feedback. The group of students who attended the feedback workshop reported a positive change in their attitude toward obtaining feedback and a significant increase in their feedback-seeking behavior. Conclusions: Students can learn to assume a more active role in their learning interactions with instructors during their clerkships.
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