There are many ways that a student my not be achieving what is required of them by the programme. It is important to identify any attributes that may lead to a student failing as soon as possible. Below are some examples of what metrics and attributes may define a failing student:
Not passing assessments
Being overconfident in their ability (unconsciously incompetent)
Not developing appropriate interpersonal/professional skills
Being over familiar with patient and or staff members
Not making proper progress
Abusing alcohol or drugs
Not attending for clinical/teaching sessions
Not recognising when they are in trouble or out of their depth (lack of insight)
Ignoring their professional duties and responsibilities
Not seeking help appropriately
Taking excessive sick leave
Not accepting or acting on feedback
Carrying on despite if financial, domestic, physical or mental heal problems
It is important to intervene as early as possible when a failing, or potentially failing, student has been identified. The student needs to be made aware of their position in a clear professional manner. Below are some points to consider when giving feedback to the failing student:
Following feedback, the student and the mentor need to develop an action plan to allow the student to move forward.
The action plan should be built around SMART goal setting (see previous article), and should pay particular attention to strengthening identified areas of weakness.
The academic partner will need to be informed when a failing student is identified. If the academic partner is informed at an early stage then they will be in a better position to offer support to the student and to the mentor. It is likely that the academic partner will have pathways and recourses for supporting students in a range of scenarios. If in any doubt, contact the academic partner for an informal discussion to discuss an appropriate course of action.