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Feedback on students’ clinical reasoning skills during fieldwork education

Journal article
Authors Marianne de Beer
Lena Mårtensson
Published in Australian Occupational Therapy Journal
Volume 62
Issue 4
Pages 255-264
ISSN 0045-0766
Publication year 2015
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 255-264
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1111/1440-1630.12208
Keywords feedback, fieldwork education, mixed methodology research, physical dysfunction
Subject categories Health Sciences, Educational Sciences

Abstract

Background/aim: Feedback on clinical reasoning skills during fieldwork education is regarded as vital in occupational therapy students’ professional development. The nature of supervisors’ feedback however, could be confirmative and/or corrective and corrective feedback could be with or without suggestions on how to improve. The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of supervisors’ feedback on final-year occupational therapy students’ clinical reasoning skills through comparing the nature of feedback with the students’ subsequent clinical reasoning ability. Method: A mixed-method approach with a convergent parallel design was used combining the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data. From focus groups and interviews with students, data were collected and analysed qualitatively to determine how the students experienced the feedback they received from their supervisors. By quantitatively comparing the final practical exam grades with the nature of the feedback, their fieldwork End-of-Term grades and average academic performance it became possible to merge the results for comparison and interpretation. Results: Students’ clinical reasoning skills seem to be improved through corrective feedback if accompanied by suggestions on how to improve, irrespective of their average academic performance. Supervisors were inclined to underrate high performing students and overrate lower performing students. Conclusions: Students who obtained higher grades in the final practical examinations received more corrective feedback with suggestions on how to improve from the supervisors. Confirmative feedback alone may not be sufficient for improving the clinical reasoning skills of students.

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