4 Steps To Embrace Feedback

Life would be simpler if we never needed to interact with other people. Most Nurses want people to like them and consequently, they avoid giving constructive feedback. However, we work in environments where the health and safety of patient’s lives matter. Do we have an obligation to speak out and advocate for all patients or do we turn away and mind our own business?

Feedback can come in various settings, orienting a student, new graduate or new hire. It could come in a debrief or root cause analysis (RCA) after an emergency, regardless of the outcome. It could come from management counseling an individual on an error and sometimes it can come from colleagues and peers.

1. Remember that your intention is to support your colleague’s development and skill.

2. Be kind and imagine how you would want to receive feedback.

3. Ask permission for example: “Can I offer you a suggestion?”

4. Let them know what they are doing right and offer specific examples of areas you see they can improve.

For example: I am really impressed at how much ease you have connecting with the patients. What I’ve noticed this week is that there is some room for improvement with time management. It seems your time sensitive medications were delayed and your charting was backed up for a few hours.  I remember time management was a challenge for me when I was a new Nurse. Do you have any ideas of what you could do to improve your organization skills?

Let’s face it; most of us don’t enjoy receiving feedback unless it is positive. Not all feedback is going to resonate and it may not be helpful but if you are completely defended, you can’t even evaluate its usefulness.

Tips for receiving feedback:

1. It can be helpful to invite feedback which creates an opportunity of greater ease for the person giving you feedback. Remember it takes courage to give feedback.

2. Remember we are in environments that are in constant change, we are continuing to grow regardless of how experienced we are.

3. Be aware of your tendency to defend and explain your actions. Can you allow the words to land without defending?

4. Remain present with your feelings; make sure you are hearing all of the feedback. Sometimes we get 90% positive feedback but we focus on the 10% constructive feedback and obsess over it.