As nurses, our performance is typically measured and evaluated using competency assessments and annual performance evaluations.
Competency assessments measure how well nurses can perform specific, day to day job skills, like using a LifePack defibrillator or an inserted an IV. Competency assessments are mandatory and often associated with checklists and skills fairs.
In addition some facilities also give their nurses annual performance appraisals that measure softer skills, such as organization, communication, leadership, etc. The annual appraisal is a valuable tool because it can identify high performers or future leaders, and build a culture of staff accountability.
But often, performance appraisals are treated as a necessary activity we have to "undergo". We receive feedback and ratings on our performance, we're assigned development activities, we're given goals. But you don't have to be a passive receiver. You can easily play an active role in your performance appraisal by completing a self-evaluation as part of the process. Doing a self-evaluation helps make sure that your annual performance appraisal is a fair and objective record of your contributions to patient care, and addresses all your development needs.
A good self-evaluation gives your manager a broader perspective to evaluate your performance. It's often hard for them to fairly evaluate your skills and abilities, and understand all the factors that affect your performance; they typically have responsibility for a large number of nurses, and frequently work different shifts than you do, sometimes even in a different location. By completing a self-evaluation and submitting it to your manager before your performance appraisal meeting, you allow them to view your performance through your eyes and get your "side of the story". This gives them a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses and can sometimes highlight areas where you have a difference of opinion. You might even be able to influence your performance rating by providing detail and insight your manager doesn't have.
Playing a more active role in your appraisal process by completing a self-evaluation also empowers you to take charge of your career development. It gives you a chance to have some input on your goals so you can challenge yourself and sign-up for opportunities that can expand your knowledge/skills/experience. It's also an effective way for you to request training and development activities to can help you progress in your career or address skill gaps.
In an ideal world, your facility's performance appraisal process would include a self-evaluation step. But even if it doesn't, that shouldn't stop you. You can be proactive, get a copy of the appraisal form your manager will be using, and complete a self-evaluation on your own. Just make sure you give your manager enough time to review your self-evaluation before they have to complete their own evaluation of your work.
Your employee performance appraisal doesn't have to be a passive process that you "undergo". Play an active role in your facility's performance management process as well as in your career by thoughtfully completing and submitting an employee self-evaluation.
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