FSP Training Site and Supervisor Handbook

For supervisors

Give feedback

Give feedback

Providing feedback to the registrar is central to the work of a supervisor. It’s a complex skill that takes time to develop and master and is impacted by the relationship between supervisor and registrar. An effective supervisor–registrar relationship that is conducive to feedback is one that operates as an alliance, where the registrar perceives the supervisor to be acting in the registrar’s best interest.

It’s important that feedback is provided frequently and not just when completing assessments. Feedback conversations can occur any time a registrar’s performance is observed. For example, after a problem case discussion, consultation observation, ad hoc supervisory encounter, or random case analysis.

It’s generally best to obtain the registrar’s own assessment of their performance first and uncover the issues they had with their performance before you give them feedback. Ensure your feedback is specific and about behaviour.

It can take time to establish a feedback culture. Doctors are known to invest considerable effort in ‘saving face’ (avoiding others losing respect for them) and being seen as credible by colleagues. A registrar may be reluctant to expose their weaknesses, particularly if they see their supervisor as overly judgemental. One way to overcome this is for you to demonstrate a willingness to be vulnerable by seeking feedback when you are unsure about your own clinical practice.