3 Peer review
You may have been involved in peer review as part of educational processes relating to assessment, or as part of an appraisal process such as 360-degree feedback from colleagues. (Further information about 360-degree processes and tools can be found at.)
You may also relate peer review to the role of a ‘critical friend’ who has the expertise to give constructive feedback on your performance. As part of your continuing development as a mentor, it is important to seek feedback on your own mentorship practices and also contribute to mentor colleagues’ development. This can be both informal and formal depending on your practice areas’ guidance and requirements. However, the process of peer review can encourage and support mentors in continuous improvement. Peer review should involve those of the same status or role, which in this context are your fellow mentors. Peer review should not be seen as a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ activity, but should be seen as providing constructive feedback on performance and discussing areas for improvement. This is similar to the constructive feedback processes discussed in Week 6. Peer review, when conducted effectively, also helps to build confidence in the person being ‘reviewed’ and ultimately embeds a culture of mentorship excellence in the ‘reviewer’ feeding back to colleagues.
Haag-Heitman and George (2011) identify the dimensions of nursing peer review (Figure 3).
Activity 4 Engaging in peer review
- Consider what skills, attitudes and knowledge are required to complete a peer review. How confident would you feel in providing feedback to colleagues on their mentorship role?
- In what areas do you feel you need further development?
Many of your responses to this activity may relate to those you have previously considered in relation to giving constructive feedback to students. However, providing effective feedback to other mentors who are colleagues may be a little daunting as a new mentor. Nevertheless, you have an important part to play within the mentor team in providing opportunities for others to learn and improve from your observations. Peer review will help you and your colleagues learn from each other and enhance leadership responsibilities in promoting excellence in practice learning. Morby and Skalla (2010) suggest that peer review should be framed within the theory of human care where nurses feel the process is safe and fair in order to fully engage and benefit from the process.
If you are completing these learning materials as part of an NMC preparation programme, discuss your responses to Activity 4 with your supervisor. Use the protected learning time allowed to complete a peer review for a willing mentor colleague. Write a reflection of your role as the ‘reviewer’ as evidence within your portfolio.