Formative Feedback

Formative feedback (formal written feedback) will be given at the end of the third week of the clerkship. First, you should complete a self-evaluation form, included below.

This is the only form you should use. On the designated day, you will give the form to the senior resident on your service. Your performance will be evaluated by the team and the form will be returned to you the same day or following day, along with verbal feedback. It is your responsibility to give that form to the Heather Ellis, the Clerkship Administrator in Gainesville, before the final debriefing for admission to the final examination.

Remember, since formative feedback is intended to provide you with information to improve, it will emphasize weaknesses and deficiencies more than strengths. Formative feedback does not influence your final Summative Evaluation.

Other Ways to Get Useful Formative Feedback

  • If the Feedback You Get is Too General, Ask for More Specifics:
    For example, in response to “Your progress notes should be longer,” you could ask if any particular section is most in need of expansion, or ask your attending/resident to review a couple notes with you and point out other information that should have been included.
  • If a clinic is ending and you have not yet received any feedback, ask for some:
    You are most likely to get useful feedback if your request is specific. In a response to a question like “How am I doing?” you are likely to get a bland, general response like “Just fine.” If instead, you ask which area you should pay the most attention to improving, you are much more likely to get useful feedback. You could also ask for feedback on how you are doing in one particular area, such as obtaining the history of the chief complaint, etc.
  • Recognize the Informal Feedback You Receive:
    Informal feedback is given continuously in all settings. It is your instructor’s verbal comments about such things as your behavior, answers to questions, history obtained, progress notes, etc. It will rarely be labeled as feedback but should be recognized as such and you should use it to improve your performance. If you are not sure what a comment means, then you should ask for clarification.
  • Take Advantage of the Feedback that is Offered:
    Be receptive and make an effort to apply the suggestions you receive. During future clinic sessions, ask how you are progressing in the areas you discussed.
  • Do Not Be Misled by Illusionary Feedback:
    It is important to distinguish true formative feedback from illusionary feedback. This is the warm, fuzzy feeling you get because everyone smiles and seems to be responding positively to you. While the opposite feeling is usually a good sign that your performance is unsatisfactory, this positive feeling may have no correlation with your actual evaluation. It is NOT valid feedback. Do not rely on this as an indicator of how well you are doing.