How many feedback form requests have you got on Medlea at the moment? You know the ones I mean, the ones asking you to rate the various components of the placement which you have just finished. I personally do try my best to fill them in but so often I find that I’m in too much of a rush, resulting in me either just ignoring it or very quickly selecting an arbitrary mark (4 out of 5 seems to be a frequent answer). Indeed I still have a couple which are probably about 10 months old that I have yet to do.
I am writing about this because I was recently asked (politely told) to attend the annual psychiatry review for the Salford Royal sector which took place last Thursday. Despite my feelings that I should probably be revising I attended as one of a few medical students there to give feedback about the psychiatry teaching we receive and actually found it pretty interesting (!). I was the only fifth year there with 4 fourth year students also attending for a short interview with some of the various heads, including the head of the medical school, before sitting in for their meeting afterwards. What was interesting for me was that it was my chance to finally be able to see how strongly our feedback does impact on the way our course is run, and in particular how seriously the content of our feedback is taken. When I fill in those forms online I am usually content to fill in the numbers (4 out of 5) and limiting the odd comment to something like ‘very friendly staff’. Despite the teaching we have be given on giving feedback, I have never thought (or really been bothered enough) to implement it when feeding back to the university, instead just filling in the forms to try stop them popping up every time I log in. I have also never really thought to contact the year reps about anything I felt could be changed, or even anything that is being done really well. After four and a half years of medical school I doubt I have really provided much constructive feedback before Thursday.
To be honest I’m not entirely sure what my aim was with writing this blog. I think it was to maybe give some support to the feedback system which we have and to promote students to use it, for good or bad feedback. On Thursday I was truly convinced that if there was an area of the course that students weren’t happy with then the uni would go to great lengths to improve it. The problem just seems to be in getting a clear idea of what actually needs to change. As one of the tutors described, it is only really through comments and criticisms that the problems or strengths can be understood. I might try and fill in some of those feedback forms when I can find the time.
Finals are pretty close though.