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Peer reviews – for or against them?


Image: Jochen Sands | Digital Vision | Thinkstock

Peer review: an evaluation tool that gives you an idea of what your co-workers (peers) think of you as a fellow co-worker (and nurse).

The concept of the peer review is a relatively new concept for me. I think I was introduced to peer reviews approximately four years ago. It was used as a monitoring tool during my orientation on a particular unit I worked for. Then another peer review was used as part of your yearly review, and subsequent yearly reviews after that. It was a wild concept, but what your co-workers thought of how you functioned on the unit actually made a difference in your performance (and your review). It was both personally driven and anonymously submitted. You picked two co-workers and two more were randomly chosen. We all equate our performance review to a possible and hopeful raise and this was sometimes hard to wrap your mind around. How you were viewed by your fellow nurse affected your potential for a raise.

I found it to be invaluable but also a double-edged sword.

I for one wanted to know what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong, and who better to monitor and evaluate that then the nurses who were walking the same path as me? Your manager/unit director of course has a good idea of what you bring to the table through observation and interview, but ultimately your fellow nurse is the true evaluator. Who better to critique your work than someone doing your job? It was a great way to learn, grow and improve your skills as a nurse.

It was also a popularity contest at times. If you were well liked (regardless of your skill) you got rave reviews. On the other hand, if you were an enemy of the state, it did not go well on your peer review. I think this was the key to having two known sources, and two unknown sources. The idea of being firm but fair.

Over the years I heard a lot of positive support and a lot of negative feedback about the peer review. I think it really was about how you handled yourself as a team player. Did you play well in the sandbox?

Have you ever been part of peer reviews? What were your thoughts and experiences?

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