Professional Development for Healthcare Professions Blog

Accepting Instructive Feedback

Posted by Chad Sines on Tue, May 28, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionMany view QA or their instructor as almost an adversary. An assignment is submitted, critiqued and returned with criticism, feedback, and some grading that has an effect on the professional's future. This naturally puts a student/professional into a self-defense posture where the first reaction is to protect one’s self instead of being open to criticism. This posture, albeit natural, will limit your learning, frustrate your instructor, and hamper the mentoring process sometimes to the point where the student avoids the interaction at all costs, even to their own detriment. This is very evident when reading forums where professionals are complaining about QA who are "idiots" or students who think their instructor is out to get them.

For the student, using your instructor is an absolute must especially if a grade is lower than expected. The goal should be to learn from your mistakes. Often times when a poor grade is received, the student goes into a self-protecting mode where they look for any loophole or justification in an attempt to show they did not do as bad as the grade shows.

Your goal is to look to see why you are WRONG instead of trying to find a loophole to say you might be right. Assignments are designed around what is expected in the industry. Below are some Dos and Don’ts that will help you through the process.

Some Dos
  • Do accept that outside of a rare grading error, you were wrong. You might not know why you were wrong, but chances are more than strong that you were. 
  • Do email your instructor for input any time you are confused as to why something was incorrect if the issue is simple and can be handled via an email dialog. Schedule a phone conversation if an issue seems complex and is better handled over the phone. Often a short five minute call can fix an issue that would have required many back and forth emails.
  • Do schedule a call with your instructor any time you fail an assignment to go over your mistakes. No exceptions. Often you can learn more from your failures than your successes.
  • Do accept that any feedback is not personal and is designed to better you. The goal for all involved is to better you.
  • Do incorporate all feedback. Your instructor hates to see you repeating the same error over and over as it shows that you are not learning from your mistakes. Make a list as you are speaking to the instructor. With each report you do, go over that list before sending it in until you are absolutely certain that you no longer make that error.
Some Don’ts
  • Do not expect your instructor to come to you when you are having issues. It is your responsibility to reach out when you have questions, concerns, or need additional help. Your instructor cannot help you if you do not ask.
  • Do not assume that since you did poorly that the program or instructor is somehow flawed or that there was a serious grading error. Assume there is additional information that you are not incorporating into your work that will be identified after your scheduled meeting.
  • Do not delay or refuse to meet with your instructor. This can damage the mentoring relationship as well as develop undesired habits. Bad habits are hard to break. If you can identify and correct your issues early, you will have a much easier time going forward. It is your obligation to reach out whenever you are confused.
  • Do not send your assignments to other students, family, or other outside sources to help you see why you could have been right. First, on the job you would be violating the HITECH Act and could face termination as well as civil and criminal ramifications. Second, your instructor is the only resource who can tell you what your mistake was and how to fix it, or if they happened to make a mistake, they are the only one who can fix it. Those outside the industry are especially unsuited to critique your work as they have no understanding of the required formatting, expected grammar, and medical terminology. Third, it is the instructor’s job to mentor you through your mistakes so that you do not continue making them. They would rather help you stop the error now than continue to have to mark it over and over again.
  • Do not focus on the minor issues at the expense of the critical ones. Learning how to place commas or that you need to capitalize a brand name is good but not nearly as important as having the correct diagnosis, medical term, or lab value. Prilosec and prilosec are both understandable despite the capitalization error. Lipoma and lymphoma are not easily understandable without more research.
I hope this all comes across in the way it was intended and that you immediately begin to incorporate this. For many of us, accepting criticism and our faults is an ongoing process. Accepting positive criticism and then acting on it makes everyone’s life easier and will help you achieve your goals much quicker than doing it on your own.

Topics: Professional Development