Shadowing to evaluate performance


My director wants me to work up a shadowing program, where basically she or I shadow each employee for a minimum of four hours and give them feedback on their professional performance. Areas of emphasis would be positive communication with pts and other staff, time management, and quality pt education. I have a few basic articles to work from, but in reality I am building this from scratch. This is supposed to be a positive experience, which of course I know most people won't see it as such initially, but it truly is. One reason my director wants me to do it as opposed to her is that I am a staff nurse who has oriented and precepted many of the people on this unit, and she feels I will be seen as less of a threatening, negative presence, as opposed to her (an administrator).

Not only will we give feedback on those three areas, but this is a data collection exercise, with the ultimate goal of noting any negative trends, noting good concrete examples of time management, communication, and education, and then developing a presentation and course from this. My director and I want to be able to provide a presentation to all new hospital staff members that sets the expectation for these three areas (with concrete examples from real interactions), and we want to develop a class for current employees, sharing what we've learned from it and providing some positive input for those three areas.

Has anyone shadowed (or been shadowed)? Does anyone work in a facility that does this sort of thing? I'd be interested in your experience, as well as any articles, data collection forms, etc that you may have used in this.

Thanks in advance!

dishes, BSN, RN

3,950 Posts

I think there should be one clear defined reason to shadow the staff and the staff should be the ones that determine the reason, your current plan is management driven, vague and I am skeptical that it will improve the work environment.

dudette10, MSN, RN

1 Article; 3,530 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Academics. Has 12 years experience.

It seems that the point is to "improve performance," but it will only work if the management team is dedicated to removing barriers that the nurses being shadowed face. If at the end of all this, it means that only the nurses have to change the way they work, without giving them the support they need to do it, it is an exercise that that has the potential to lower morale.

Sorry for my skepticism.


2 Articles; 159 Posts

Specializes in Paediatrics. Has 5 years experience.

It sounds like you're doing this for positive outcomes. But I have doubts it will truly benefit your ward.

Having a superior watching over your shoulder can cause not only paranoia and lower morale but also generally out of sheer nerves people are prone to making errors which aren't normal or acting unlike themselves in the first place so I don't know if you'll get a very clear picture of an individuals true performance by this method.

Honestly I can't think of a fellow co-worker that would see shadowing as a 'positive experience'. I myself would despise it no matter how much I loved/respected the person doing it.

I think outcome based assessment is better, eg. Giving an asthma patient a survey to ask were you educated on spacer use, inhalation technique, triggers and so forth. Where they can tick off what they had education on and you can see what was missed.

Then later discuss with staff common topics missed to work on in the future.

For me walking past and hearing general interaction between clients and staff would tell you more about their true professional interaction/behaviour than shadowing, as a person will probably fake good behaviour anyway if being followed around.

All the same this is all just my personal opinion. Sorry it was so negetive.

I hope it goes great for you, maybe shadowing is a valuable option that just needs to have barriers removed but I struggle to feel this way currently.

All the best and tell us how it goes!