Anxiety and self-awareness in video feedback

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Abstract

Background:

Doctor–patient communication is an integral part of good medical practice and medical education throughout the UK. Innovative methods of clinical communication training make use of technology, including video feedback, within undergraduate learning; however, medical students may encounter barriers such as social anxiety and self-awareness that could prevent them from fully benefiting from training sessions. This study investigated the extent to which medical student anxiety and self-awareness impacted on their learning experience in video feedback workshops.

Methods:

Written reflections on the experience of using video feedback were gathered from third-year medical students (n = 47). Reflections were thematically analysed to identify key themes relating to anxiety and self-awareness perceptions.

Results:

Students reported a high level of anxiety at the prospect of being video-recorded while interacting with a simulated patient. Levels of public self-awareness were high and students were concerned at being judged as inadequate by their peers. The peer feedback sessions were used to readjust students’ perceptions of their own abilities by comparing their own performance with that of their peers.

Discussion:

Clinical communication trainers should be aware of the anxiety and high public self-awareness that students may experience prior to video feedback sessions, and should aim to reduce this by informing students as much as possible about the process and by shifting their focus away from the peer appraisal of performance. Students appear to find the opportunity to improve the accuracy of their self-perception of their own skills as the main benefit of clinical communication video feedback training, and this area could be investigated further to determine how to derive maximum benefit.

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