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Constructive Feedback

October 09, 2022
by Mark David Siegel

Hi everyone,

Like all humans, I have blind spots. I don’t know what they are because, of course, I can’t see them. That’s where I rely on friends.

Friends tell me what I need to know. They tell me when I grill residents too hard on rounds. They tell me when I speak too much instead of listening. They tell me when my knowledge is out of date. They tell me when I need a haircut, more stylish glasses, and new ties (that friend would be my wife). And that’s the short list.

We have so many opportunities to help each other become better physicians. We can make suggestions when a friend uses jargon with patients instead of plain language. We can share tips when a friend struggles with a blood gas or EKG. We can transform mistakes into teaching opportunities. And again, that’s the short list.

I cringe when I read MedHub evaluations claiming there’s “nothing” a resident can do to improve. I cringe again when people compliment colleagues on presentations as if they were masterpieces instead of works in progress. I hate it when people use the term “constructive feedback” like a wrecking ball instead of a tool to build residents up.

Why do we avoid opportunities to give constructive feedback? Are our relationships too fragile to speak honestly? Are our egos too frail? Do we really have nothing to say?

Constructive feedback is priceless. It makes us smarter, more efficient, and more effective. I encourage each of you to share constructive feedback generously and, just as crucially, to ask for it. That’s how we overcome blind spots and become the best physicians we can be.

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone. I’m on South Hero Island, VT, enjoying the foliage and finishing up the interview list.


Submitted by Mark David Siegel on October 09, 2022