Our last experiential learning principle is to optimize the quality of rotation by soliciting student feedback. It’s very important informally to solicit student feedback as the rotation progresses. But even more important is to formally gather student feedback at the end of the rotation. Now the university will probably have a standardized rotation evaluation system in place that will gather information from students as they complete a rotation. But I would encourage you to consider having a supplemental feedback evaluation from students. That addresses specific assignments and activities of the rotation. I have an example of one of these on the screen. From an internal medicine rotation of San Joaquin General Hospital.
Essentially what this form does is provide a list of specific activities and assignments of students were engaged in during the rotation. And there’s a four-part rating scale, based on students perception of how helpful that activity was to their learning. So the four options are not helpful, slightly helpful, moderately helpful and extremely helpful. With this type of feedback from students, preceptor can identify which of the activities, which of the assignments that students find to be most beneficial to their learning. Now if there’s a low rating for any particular assignment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the preceptor should eliminate that activity.
But if students perceive that some activities were extremely beneficial and others were not very beneficial, it might enable the preceptor to evaluate what is it about the less beneficial activities that could be improved. So that the students would find it to be more beneficial. Without this kind of specific feedback if you’re getting general assessments from the students through the university rotation evaluation system. It’s hard to discern which of the specific activities or assignments might need to be modified. Written feedback is also very important. Students should be asked to write out provide written comments. What are the things that that you most appreciated about this rotation? What are the things that concerns you about this rotation?
What would you like to see improved about this rotation? Specific written feedback can be very useful. Even if there’s just one comment from one student; if it’s a particularly insightful comment that causes the preceptor to consider something perhaps should be changed. I’ve made many such changes in courses and rotations over the years, based on a comment that was received by one student. Because when I gave it some thoughts, I realized it made a lot of sense. And I appreciated the fact that the students shared that with me. Now some written feedback is not going to be very useful. And that’s fine.
Essentially you comb through all of the written comments, and try to find that nugget that pearl, that provides deep insight into a manner, in which you might be able to improve the rotation. That’s the goal, improving the rotation whenever possible. The criteria for excellent precepting based on student feedback can be derived from a study published in the literature. This was written by O’Sullivan et al, just last year 2015, in the american journal of pharmaceutical education. They were from the University of Washington. They identified within the state of Washington, 21 award-winning preceptors. It’s a very interesting approach. What these researchers did was analyzed 459 written comments from 286 students over a five-year period. Specifically relating to these 21 award-winning preceptors.
And they analyze the written feedback to try to discern what kind of feedback that we received from students. In terms of a general trend what seem to be fairly consistent that we can use to identify for other preceptors. What it takes to become an award- winning preceptor. What they found was that there were three basic categories of comments that were made by students, about these 21 award-winning preceptors. They related to role-modeling, teaching or coaching or facilitating. And within those three categories, they identified 15 consistent theme that seemed to distinguish excellent preceptors. Now let me share these with you that. The first category was role model behaviour which they defined to be demonstrated professional attitudes, values and ethics.
This is strong professional bearing, a good professional role model. First, students indicated that those preceptors acted in a positive manner during interpersonal interactions. This gets back to the technique that we’ve discussed earlier, attitude check. How important it is to maintain a positive upbeat attitude when dealing with one student. The student indicated that preceptors demonstrated expertise in the practice area. Basic competence clinical skill is critically important. It also felt that the preceptors demonstrated compassion for their patients. So it wasn’t just that they were good clinicians, but they actually cared about the patient’s the preceptors were serving. And the preceptors were respected by the healthcare team.
Now if you consider that the preceptors demonstrated expertise and demonstrated compassion for the patients, it’s not surprising that the students also observe that they were respected by the healthcare team. The preceptors expressed enthusiasm that supported and promoted the profession. How important that is! Preceptor who’s training a future pharmacist should demonstrate respect and enthusiasm for the professional pharmacy. And support the professional pharmcy. Help the student to feel good about becoming a member of the professional pharmacy. It’s difficult to sell the need to be a competent pharmacist and have strong professional bearing as a pharmacist if the preceptor doesn’t demonstrate a commitment to that same goal. Let’s consider the teacher coach behaviour. This involves encouraging the application of knowledge through discussion.
Not just giving many lectures but discussing and asking questions of the students. They guide the decision-making during the practical experiences. This gets back to our technique of “Ask Don’t Tell.” Don’t preach. Don’t teach. but probe the students with asking questions, such that they are able to do develop their critical thinking skills. So the first comment by students in this category or that the student displays a genuine interest in student learning. They’re committed to student learning, a critically important that is. They’re consistently available for student questions and guidance. The students don’t feel as though they’re burdening or they’re a bother to the preceptor. They stimulate dialogue that encourages critical thinking and aids in problem-solving.
Again, they’re not trying to teach the students information. They’re trying to get the students to think on their own. So that through critical thinking, they will deepen their learning and their ability to apply that information in the future as a healthcare professional. They’re dedicated in their time and their energy to teach students. They assume that responsibility willingly. To put forward the time and energy that it takes to be a preceptor. They provide useful feedback with clear expectations. How important feedback is that pinpoint real-time, net positive feedback. They seek and are receptive to student input into the learning experience. Now we Illustrated that with a form that I showed on the previous slide.
How important it is to solicit feedback from students at the end of a rotation in formal fashion. But preceptors, award-winning preceptors also solicit feedback informally at various times as the rotation unfolds.