How Can Nurses Be More Proactive with Annual Performance Reviews?

How have you prepared for your annual performance evaluation in the past?  I found I either got excited to share my accomplishments and co-create next year’s goals, or started to feel anxious several days before the review—depending on my Director of Nurse’s management style. I vowed employees I have supervised when I was a Nursing Supervisor would look forward to theirs.

How to Make the Annual Review Process a More Positive (or Less Stressful) Experience for staff:

  1. Always come prepared with examples of how you met/exceeded last year’s goals.  Some supervisors don’t seem to know all that their staff do to go the extra mile.
  2. Take a few minutes to relax before the evaluation.  Taking slow, deep breaths and doing what is called positive self-talk helps me to be more focused and centered.
  3. Depending on your manager’s style, listen more than talk and let her/him know you understand the manager’s priorities for the next year.
  4. Come in with at least one or two goals and/or areas you wish to become more expert in during the next year.
  5. Be flexible and adaptable.  Your facility may be about to make some major changes so many people will need to adjust their goals to deal effectively with them.
  6. Keep a neutral affect if you are dealing with a manager who sometimes is overly critical, comes across as dismissive or uses sarcasm.
  7. Take to heart reasonable suggestions for improvement.  I sometimes had trouble being a bit late for meetings, for example, and was receptive to working on trying to be on time when it was brought to my attention.

How Can you Make the Annual Evaluation a Tool for Positive Motivation (Supervisors):

  1.  Read written evaluations you prepare out loud before giving them.  Ask yourself “are the suggestions for improvement clear, written in a pro-active way and not demeaning?”
  2. Relax a few minutes between your last, possibly high stress meeting, etc. so you come across as calm.
  3. Listen to suggestions from your employees.  Since they are actually the people doing the nursing care, they often have great ideas improve their own work.  Co-create goals as possible.
  4. Be clear and neutral about expectations and consequences if there is a serious work-related problem.
  5. Ask how you can mentor or in other ways be more supportive to your good staff  and let them know they and their work are valued by you.

Ideally, annual performance reviews can be a positive, rewarding and motivating experience for staff!

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