One of the most important teaching behaviours in general practice training is giving feedback to registrars on their performance. Constructive feedback is designed to provide information and encourage reflection by the learner about current performance, with the aim of improvement in the future.

Feedback is fundamental to effective learning. Feedback has often been thought of as something that is done with, or given to, a learner. However, effective feedback is a ‘two-way’ dialogue that occurs between a supervisor and registrar, incorporating self-assessment, critique, reinforcement and planning.

We all have had our own experiences with feedback, and most of us (if not all) can easily recall feedback being delivered poorly. Poor delivery of feedback can be destructive to a registrar and significantly damage their self confidence. By contrast, the ability to effectively give constructive feedback is rewarding for both supervisor and registrar and can improve confidence, clarify learning needs and lead to improvements in practice.

Giving feedback effectively is a learnt skill. Your commitment to giving effective feedback will help build your registrar’s clinical skills, professionalism and self-esteem. Willingness to improve your feedback skills can have other flow-on effects within a general practice. Your feedback skills will be transferable to staff morale and motivation, as well as in clinical practice and improving rapport with patients.

This guide explains the importance of quality feedback and how to incorporate this into training your GP registrar. It is intended to help you implement strategies that will make providing feedback a meaningful and constructive experience for you both.