Exploring the Role of Self-Motives in Postgraduate Trainees’ Feedback-Seeking Behavior in the Clinical Workplace: A Multicenter Study of Workplace-Based Assessments From the United Kingdom

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Abstract

Purpose

To explore trainees’ feedback-seeking behavior in the postgraduate surgical workplace using a self-motives framework. Self-motives include self-assessment “to obtain accurate information about the self,” self-improvement “to improve one’s traits, abilities, and skills,” self-enhancement “to enhance the favorability of self views,” and self-verification “to maintain consistency between one’s central self-view and new self-relevant information.”

Method

This project constituted a further framework analysis of previously obtained qualitative focus group data that originally explored trainees’ perceptions and use of workplace-based assessment (WBA). Data were collected from multiple centers in the United Kingdom from 2012 to 2013. Content was analyzed to identify references in the data that reflected the above self-motives and in relation to contextual themes identified from within the data.

Results

Trainees’ motivations for seeking feedback broadly fit within a self-motives framework. Trainees’ feedback seeking using WBA related to self-enhancement and self-verification, whereas outside WBA trainees reported self-improvement and self-assessment motives. Where trainees perceived WBA represented an opportunity to learn, they described a self-improvement motive toward seeking feedback, whereas when WBA represented an assessment of learning, trainees described tensions between self-enhancement and self-improvement motives.

Conclusions

Surgical trainees’ motivations for seeking feedback can be explained using a conceptual self-motives framework. Trainees need to be motivated to seek accurate informational feedback so they can improve their performance within the clinical workplace. To achieve this, trainees need training; current assessment systems must change to allow trainees to seek such feedback without fear and concern about this information being used as an assessment of learning.

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