Providing feedback is a skill which is a vital ingredient in the learning process. It is also important for motivation. Both too little or too much feedback will inhibit learning. The learner (or patient/client) needs to know how well he or she is doing at each stage of learning. The purpose of giving feedback is to facilitate an individual's personal and professional growth.

Giving feedback to others

Providing feedback must be constructive, timely, consistent and specific and to be effective it should comprise three elements: a judgement on exactly what the learner has done well; what they have been less successful in doing and an explanation of how improvement can be made.

Tips for giving feedback (adapted from the RCN 2005)

  • ensure feedback is delivered during or as soon as possible after the event
  • make time, give full attention and ensure privacy
  • ask the learner to self-assess
  • written feedback is useful
  • be constructive; negative comments should be learning points
  • be objective
  • be specific
  • use open ended questions and give reasons for your comments
  • clarify any problems
  • ensure the learner understands what is expected of them
  • form an agreed action plan if necessary.

Feedback Skills

With your mentor, review the tips for feedback above. Select which points are important for you in both giving and receiving feedback.

Discussion Forum

What have you learnt from your experience of supporting others to develop?
Do you find this type of work satisfying or too much responsibility?

Why not share your opinions with the Flying Start NHS community?