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Honesty in Feedback

Clinical preceptors and course faculty are often reluctant to give negative evaluations, perhaps because of these concerns:

  • "I don't know if my evaluation is warranted. Maybe the problem was mine."

We are aware that everyone... yes including ourselves...has occasional lapses in professionalism. A lapse does not make someone 'unprofessional.'

  • "The student will know who gave the bad evaluation and then, in turn, I'll get a bad evaluation, and I certainly don't want that."

How can we reconcile these concerns? Look again at the Professionalism charters mentioned above, and you will notice that Honesty is a characteristic in each. If we are not honest in our feedback to the student, or with our evaluation of the student, are we then being not completely professional ourselves?