Factors contributing to a successful MSF

During the 2017 RACP trials Fellows identified a number of factors that were important to them in ensuring an effective MSF.


Feedback processes are most effective when their purpose is to identify areas of strength and potential areas for practice change that candidates can then address. The difference in impact between formative and summative processes is well documented in the literature and was raised by a number of trial candidates. If the MSF is part of an annual review it is useful to understand in advance how it will be used and who will have access to the report.

Facilitation of Feedback

It is important candidates understand the process for delivery of the feedback ahead of participating. Both the literature and a majority of trial candidates support a debrief with a skilled advisor where possible.

Receiving feedback, even when constructive, can be a challenging experience and many participants felt quite vulnerable seeking and receiving the feedback. It was also common for Fellows to focus on what they perceived as ‘negative’ feedback even when it constituted a small percentage of the overall feedback. An important role of the debrief is to balance this response. The majority of trial participants indicated MSF they received was more specific and useful than the usual feedback received from patients and colleagues.

It is not always immediately apparent the richness of information available from an MSF report nor how to assess results against benchmarks. During the trials 78 per cent of candidates agreed or strongly agreed that the debrief gave them new insights into the results which they would not have had if they had just read the report by themselves


It is important for colleagues and patients to be confident that feedback they provide will remain anonymous and not impact on their relationship with the Fellow they are providing feedback about. Information provided to colleagues and patients should make this clear.

It is wise in advance of completing an MSF to check who will have access to your report and who will see the results. It is valuable to know where the report will be stored and who will have access to it into the future.

Access a summary of the 2017 RACP MSF trials

Close overlay