Peer feedback provides nurses an opportunity to obtain feedback on their professional practice in a collegial and supportive way. This aligns with the BCCNM Standards of Practice as nurses (BCCNM registrants) demonstrate responsibility and accountability for their continuing competence. Awareness of the influence of ongoing learning on their nursing practice is empowering and validating for nurses and their peers.
Peer feedback can help a nurse be more objective by identifying areas in their practice where they can improve—a peer sees things an individual cannot. A peer can also help a nurse identify strengths in their practice that they may not be able to identify themselves. A trusted peer or colleague is a valuable source of insight into a nurse’s own practice.
Peer feedback usually involves a private, confidential conversation or discussion between a nurse and a trusted colleague. It allows a nurse to review their practice and identify their strengths and areas they would like to develop further. It can also provide nurses with insight into their practice and validate their perspective. Peer feedback is not a performance appraisal or a peer evaluation.
Giving—and receiving—peer feedback is an important part of nursing practice. Sharing ideas with a peer, either verbally or in writing, assists nurses to identify areas where both can share professional development activities related to their nursing practice.
Nurses should consider who they’d like to ask to provide peer feedback shortly after they’ve completed their self-assessment during registration renewal. Peer feedback can be received and given during a planned interaction, or in unplanned and spontaneous moments, such as staff meetings, ward rounds, and over a coffee break. It can occur at times throughout the year, to help nurses identify behaviours “in the moment” that they’d like to improve and behaviour they’re proud of and would like to model.
It’s also valuable to approach the feedback process in a more structured way, which RNs do every five years via the multisource feedback process.
Nurses should be thoughtful in choosing a peer to help them assess their practice. It’s an opportunity to choose someone whose opinion they respect and judgment they trust. It’s also an opportunity to talk with someone works in a different role.
In addition to their nursing peers, nurses are also encouraged to approach colleagues from a different nursing designation (i.e., LPN, RPN, RN or NP), and non-nurse colleague, like an OT or physiotherapist—as long as this person is able to speak knowledgeably and helpfully on their professional practice. They can also invite an unregulated professional colleague (i.e., HCA, unit clerk, etc.) to provide them with feedback.
Nurse practitioners are encouraged to seek peer feedback from another nurse practitioner within the same stream of practice (Adult, Family or Pediatric) or from a physician. When giving or receiving peer feedback, NPs should discuss the areas they identified in their self-assessment and critical review of client documentation.