It’s almost that time again – time for Annual Performance Evaluations. Evaluation of our practice and performance is a hallmark sign of the autonomy and accountability we have for our professional practice. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) notes that annual evaluations should consist of a self-evaluation, a manager performance evaluation, a peer evaluation, and documentation of goals and achievements. This year, we will be adding the peer evaluation feedback form to the annual evaluation process. The ANCC defines peer feedback as “an objective process of giving and receiving deliberate input to identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement for a nurse peer.” Your nursing peers are those that have similar roles and education, clinical expertise, and level of licensure.
Peer evaluations can fall into a wide spectrum, from meaningless to harmful. However, peer evaluation should be a welcomed occasion to give and receive affirmation for the things that we achieve with greatness and an opportunity to identify areas where improvements could be made to level up our practice, professionalism, and leadership. Thoughtful consideration should go into the feedback you give a peer, both in approach and in style. Our approach to peer feedback should be gracious, honest, and open. Our style should be constructive rather than critical or hurtful. Think about your worst shortcomings – you already know what they are. How would you want your peer to identify those and give you recommendations to improve? This is how you should approach the evaluation of your peer.
Emily Wray, an award-winning Instructional Designer with a heart for mentorship, developed the RISE Model, a framework for the giving and receiving of meaningful feedback. RISE is an acronym that stands for Reflect, Inquire, Suggest, and Elevate. RISE can be used for annual peer evaluations, coaching, mentoring, response to presentations, or any other opportunity where you have to provide feedback to peers.
- Reflect – Recall, ponder, and articulate. Think back to interactions you had or witnessed. Think about their approach to projects, changes, and leadership. Describe what you see them doing well and highlight their strengths.
- Inquire – Seek information and provide ideas through questioning. If your feedback is real-time, ask clarifying questions and offer different perspectives. Describe your understanding of their approach, work, and interactions.
- Suggest – Introduce ideas for improvement. Offer realistic, attainable, recommendations for their development. This could include mentoring, continuing education, or growth opportunities.
- Elevate – Raise to a higher degree or purpose for the future. Connect your recommendations for their improvement back to their personal, professional, and organizational goals.
As the proverb says, “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” When iron is clanged against iron, it creates sparks and contributes to the dulling of the blade. But running the smooth edge of the blade against an iron rod creates a fine, sharp edge that cuts with precision, restoring the true purpose of the blade. Peer feedback provides an opportunity to create sparks or restore purpose. I trust you will use your feedback opportunity to sharpen your peer’s practice, professionalism, and leadership.