One of the greatest fears and most frequent parts of medical school is receiving feedback. Particularly during clinical rotations. To get into medical school, you have to jump through a lot of hops and be an overachiever. Success through hard work and hours of diligence is the end result. In medical school, receiving (and giving) feedback is part of our growth and development that may be a difficult pill to swallow.
One of the key parts of clinical rotations is that up to 50% of your grade is based on clinical observation and feedback. That may come down to how you interact with a specific resident, attending or nurse practitioner. As a student, you feel as if you have to be on your A game at all times.
When I started my clinical rotations, I applied every piece of feedback and advice I received from every health care provider, from secretary to attending. Their words were gold. But as I go through my 4th-year rotations, some of the best advice I heard was to identify what feedback is valuable and what aligns with your values. For example, doing one thing in the OR may be seen as positive by one provider, yet negative by another. It is up to you as the student to identify what advice matters to you.
It wasn’t easy to learn how to filter feedback. Before, I would accept every piece of advice I was told. But I found that exhausting. But what got me through all the advice and feedback was this, “Don’t take it personally.” This came from an attending surgeon and personal mentor of mine. Once I learned to see feedback as subjective and based on actions, not on my character, then I learned how to filter.
There are studies that show the value of feedback in medical education. I wish I had learned in my 1st-year how to give and accept feedback, and to not take it personally. That is how we as students objectively grow.