The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

1997 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

Peer Assessment Can Take the 'YUK!' out of Performance Appraisals

Scott Reistad, Saturday, December 6, 1997.

As healthcare continues to change, more and more demands are being placed on managers and supervisors. With these increased demands comes the loss of time that was once used to monitor individual performance so it could be evaluated appropriately. How does one provide useful feedback to your employees so they can grow and develop when you are unable to provide that feedback? The answer to this dilemma is peer assessment. Industry has dabbled with peer assessment for many years, yet in the last few years they have burst on to the scene as a method to not only provide valid feedback but also as a method to further empower staff. As a leader in your department, it is your responsibility to help your staff develop their skills and thus benefit the patient and the department. Peer assessment accomplishes this by obtaining feedback from the individuals who are most likely to know the performance of their coworker. This feedback can be accomplished in a wide range of degrees from minimal involvement, where input is shared with the employee and is not an actual part of the performance appraisal, to maximum involvement, where groups of staff people actually giving face-to-face feedback to their peer. If you are new to peer assessment, you can start with minimal involvement, and, as you develop your program and have greater buy-in by your staff, can progress it forward as you wish. Businesses who have chosen to embrace peer assessment as a method of helping develop staff have found that they are able to improve their employees in ways that are difficult, if not impossible, using traditional supervisor-to-employee style performance appraisals. Issues addressed by peer assessments need not just be technical in nature, but should include team goals and interpersonal skills (with not only their peers but also with nurses, physicians, and others). Although the establishment and implementation of a peer assessment system may result in increased expenditure of time initially, it is more than paid back by the benefits obtained by improving the knowledge, skills and attitudes of your staff which results in you having more time for the other demands that are being placed on you.

AARC 50th Anniversary, December 6 - 9, 1997, New Orleans, Louisiana.

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