Residency Education: The Importance of Asking for Specific Feedback

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Residency Education: The Importance of Asking for Specific Feedback

Before starting my intern year, I was told that residency was like a big buffet. When you go to a buffet, you don’t just nibble on the red Jello1 – you fill your plate with as much as you can carry and always go back for seconds. With so many learning opportunities, it is important to pause between bites and make sure you are absorbing as much as possible. The best way to do this is to ask for direct, specific feedback.

Instead of the general, “How am I doing on consults?,” say, “I am having trouble with restoring the volar tilt on my distal radius reductions-do you have any tips?” The effort you put into your questions will dictate the effort of the response. This shows that you are engaged, knowledgeable and that you care about your practice, and will reciprocate more actionable feedback to build on. Ask everyone for feedback, from your co- and senior residents to the fellows and attendings, and take their response for what it is – a way for you to get better, because if you don’t know exactly what you are doing wrong, you can’t improve on it. This attitude will help keep the buffet in your belly and off your shirt, and make you a much more competent surgeon physician upon graduation and throughout your career.

Blake Schultz, MD
[email protected]

1.    Lee Chip Routt M Jr, Stark DH Jr. What I expect from an orthopaedic traumatology fellow. J Orthop Trauma. 2014 Sep;28 Suppl 9:S2-S4.


DISCLAIMER: Statements of fact and opinion are the responsibility of the authors alone and do not imply an opinion or endorsement on the part of the officers or the members of WOA unless such opinion or endorsement is specifically stated. Materials may be reproduced only if Touches and the Western Orthopaedic Association are credited.

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