Performance Evaluations

by jadelpn 2,983 Views | 5 Comments Guide

There are at least 2 subtypes of performance reviews/evaluations. The title itself reveals a bit of a disconnect--Are we reviewing or are we evaluating? Some nurses are a bit confused about what happens to the evaluation, can it be "used against" a nurse. Equally, there are managers who have to give some so-so reviews--and I am not sure the purpose, other than heaven forbid that a manager has staff that are on top of their game?! Seems in direct conflict that the goal of the unit, however, it happens. Here are some musings about the performance tool aspect of nursing.

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    Performance Evaluations

    There are at least 2 subtypes of performance reviews/evaluations. The title itself reveals a bit of a disconnect--Are we reviewing or are we evaluating? Some nurses are a bit confused about what happens to the evaluation, can it be "used against" a nurse. Equally, there are managers who have to give some so-so reviews--and I am not sure the purpose, other than heaven forbid that a manager has staff that are on top of their game?! Seems in direct conflict that the goal of the unit, however, it happens. Here are some musings about the performance tool aspect of nursing. And of note, these are just musings--it is always important to know your own facilities policy on performance, as it can differ widely from facility to facility.
    Traditionally in some facilities, performance REVIEWS are just that--a review of one's performance as a nurse. It is akin to the game show "Who's Line is it Anyway" in that the points don't matter. Except for that pesky discipline process. Then it can matter a great deal. Always get a copy of your evaluation. Should you be called into discipline because of your performance, it is wise to bring this document with you.

    Some facilities have a "you fill out a self evaluation first" process. Then your supervisor fills out one for you. The final document meets somewhere in the middle. What is somewhat interesting to note is that you will be asked for "goals for the new year". For nurses who have been at this awhile, that is one of the most difficult parts of the process. Don't go nuts with this. When you least expect it, a manager can hold you to the goals. For some, a performance review can be anything from "you rock" to "you stink at this, will you do better". The later is what to be aware of, so that you are not caught off guard in HR having "no idea" that your practice was questioned. If it is questioned on the review, you need to be pro-active in getting this to a better place.

    Performance EVALUATIONS can differ slightly. This can be tied to pay for performance, which is alive and well in some facilities. If you have pay for performance, get ready to really note any and all achievements, discuss patient feedback, expect timelined goals. This is a more important tool for you to get a raise in pay. It is important to read all of the evaluation, and have an interactive discussion regarding any "needs improvement" statements. Be specific. Expect specific improvement plans, and make sure they are timelined, that you have follow up meetings, that you are on top of this process. 50 cents more an hour is not necessarily the be all and end all of your salary, however, know your policy. There are some facilities that go to a verbal or written warning for more than one "poor" (<--and that is widely subjective) performance evaluation.

    The 2 schools of thought on performance--both evaluation and review are pooh-poohed more often than not by nurses everywhere. But as jobs ebb and flow, it will be of interest how performance tools will be used going forward. Be mindful of your facility policy, of your role in the process of evaluation, and what that means for your bottom line.
    Last edit by Joe V on Dec 7, '13
    Esme12 and Joe V like this.
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    jadelpn joined Nov '08 - from 'Massachusetts'. Age: 49 jadelpn has '25' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'ER, Med Surg'. Posts: 3,386 Likes: 7,616; Learn more about jadelpn by visiting their allnursesPage


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    5 Comments so far...

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    My first job as a new graduate nurse was on orthopedics and it would not have been possible for me to feel any more out of place than I already did. My mentor and the head nurse went out of their way to assure me that every new grad felt the same way. I was doing my best, but I still felt like a blend of Gracie Allen, Marian Lorne (Aunt Clara on Bewitched,) and any Red Skelton character.

    My mentor showed me a copy of her part of the evaluation and it was very favorable. Phew! If Hotlips Hulihan's real-life counterpart thought I was doing well, maybe there was hope for me after all. She also said the head nurse was giving me a "favorable" review.


    On the day the review was due, my head nurse was out sick and the supervisor added her part and turned it in to the DON's office.
    When the head nurse came back, I had my official review. The supervisor had forgotten to staple the other parts of the review to her part. My entire unamended review said:


    "Katherine does not polish her shoe laces when she polishes her shoes."

    She saw mw right after a patient threw up all over by shoes...
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    My biggest frustration with the "evaluation" process is that management everywhere seems to now be required to divide their staff up into "high performers" and "low performers," and then each group is treated VERY differently. Sometimes staff are divided into these categories based on evaluation results, and other times they are divided this way based on manager preference. Then management is now ENCOURAGED to show favoritism towards the high performers. I really don't know exactly where this practice derives from- I think it might be from some six sigma business principle that was not designed in hospitals. I get the sense that management is *supposed* to invest in the low performers and improve their overall performance. But a great nurse manager is a rare gem these days, and even the good nurse managers are usually too busy to have much time to invest in any of their staff and really help their performance. As a result I have seen nurse managers deal with their low performers in a wide variety of ways, from making up infractions and pushing them out one by one, to only giving the high performers the opportunities they need to succeed and advance on their evaluations (thus ensuring the lower performers remain low performers no matter how hard they try or what work they do), to giving special favors such as flexibility with scheduling to high performers and not to low performers. Does anyone else out there have experience with this high-performer/low-performer conundrum, or have further insight into the issue?
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    Most of the time annual evals are a joke where I work. They do them ALL in the same month. Also everyone gets a raise, no matter how lazy or outstanding you are you will pretty much end up with the same pathetic raise as well. Our managers are not able to give anyone the highest raise that is "allowed" by our raise scale. God forbid someone actually be rewarded for their hard work and we definitely cannot punish those who are as lazy as they get. : /
  7. 0
    Funny I found this thread. I am a new grad with a sub acute job, RN with a BS in bio. My 6 mo review never came and now 2 mo from my one year I get called in for my eval and it wasn't exactly what I expected. Instead of a run through of my skills and how I'm doing I got slapped with an improvement plan following 3 med input errors I made a few months ago that got caught by the night shift crew and were certainly corrected, no harm done to patients. While I am now super careful recheck all orders with at least two other RN s I'm a little disappointed. I was hoping for a little credit for working two months straight without any days off to cover call outs, for doing other nurses orders who have not yet mastered the computer system conversion at our facility. When I though about it, those errors were made at the end of my two month gig when I was running from unit to unit helping with orders and not having enough time to do my own work properly burnt out like a dog. While I am very serious about getting on my improvement wagon, I am slowly learning that the pats on the back are scarce around where I work. So much for an excellent in team work never the less no more doubles for me and as far as my work mates are concerned they r going to have to learn how to use a computer eventually if they want to remain this field.
  8. 0
    I hate it when management drags up something that happened months ago. Its not fair really. They should approach you when it first happens to give you a chance to correct yourself. Instead they wait half a year then drag it up and write you up for it. I wish we could write them up for doing that to us.


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