WHY Fronts: Feedback

Published: 08 October 2019 Ezine

I am not talking about audio feedback which is that nasty ringing noise (often described as squealing, screeching, etc.) sometimes present in sound systems, you can imagine Spinal Tap getting feedback as they ramp the amplifier up to 11 (or maybe not).

What I would like to look at is how important feedback is in quality improvement.

Feedback is valuable information that can be used to make changes or other important decisions, this helps you make your best better.

Feedback can come from colleagues, patients, and other service users and it can be positive or negative each is just as important as the other. It is important to remember we need to be aware of weaknesses as well as strengths.

In the Imaging Standard, there is a section which concentrates on patient/carer feedback (PE5) and another section which concentrates on feedback from other clinicians e.g. G.P.s, hospital consultants, non-medical requesters (CL7). 

It is important to remember that feedback can benefit the giver as well as the receiver; it gives our patients an important voice, and it can also help us streamline our patient pathways with other services.

What other benefits are there?

It can motivate staff, if someone asks you your opinion and then acts upon it I would like to think you would feel valued and appreciated. Feedback from colleagues outside of imaging may motivate you and them to build better working relationships.

It can improve service performance as it points you in the direction of where any potential weaknesses may be. If the feedback is detailed enough it may even help to get to the root of any issue faster hopefully allowing your service to improve in effectiveness and efficiency.

It makes for great CPD; it allows you to look at an area and reflect on what has been said and what you/the service could do about it. For this to work you will need to employ your effective listening skills, i.e. don’t read or hear what you think is being said but stop take a breath and try and listen without prejudice. Try and let the person who is giving the feedback know that you will reflect and if possible let them know the outcome of the feedback. I am sure you would want that if you were giving feedback.

It is really important how you deal with feedback on a personal level especially if it appears critical.

Always try to be open to constructive criticism, it can do you good as identified above. Don’t personalise it as a rejection of you as a person. Don’t allow your opinion of yourself to be coloured by the opinion of those who fail to see your best qualities and potential. Try and take the time to reflect on what the feedback has to say and look for that which will help you develop professionally.

There are some examples of how feedback (criticism) didn’t hold back some notable people. In 1907, the University of Bern turned down a PhD dissertation from a young physics student. Yet that student, Albert Einstein, went on to change the scientific world forever. When a sixteen-year-old student got his report from a teacher in school around his debating, there was a note attached that read: ‘A conspicuous lack of success.’ But Winston Churchill refused to accept it.

If you are giving feedback I would recommend that you make it as dispassionate as possible. Avoid giving it in the ‘heat of the moment’, again reflect on what you want to say and why you want to say it. Preparation is good so that you can raise specific points rather than generalise and use the word I rather than you e.g. I feel that … which is better than you said/did … Finally try and get some positive in so that the recipient/s have something to work with and be prepared to work with the recipient/s to improve whatever points you have fed back on.

If you have any queries or questions don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] or [email protected] I am always open to feedback!

Chris Woodgate
Quality Improvement Partner RCR/SCoR.
www.sor.org/qsi   www.rcr.ac.uk/qsi