How to Write a Good Review for a Nurse: 5 Tips
For a variety of reasons, writing a performance appraisal for nurses can be a nerve-wracking experience for managers and staff members alike. While nurses may fear their work is being examined under a microscope, managers often feel overwhelmed by the pressure of writing thoughtful evaluations for their entire team. But giving feedback doesn’t have to be a painful experience.
We’ll discuss five easy tips to write a good review for a nurse and provide nurse performance review examples that will help to motivate and inspire your staff. By following these best practices, you can craft insightful reviews that will engage and invigorate your team.
The Performance Evaluation Process
Performance appraisals, normally completed annually, are intended to be fair evaluations of the professional conduct of your nursing staff, but perceptions of the process can vary. That’s why it’s important that reviews compare nurses’ performance with behaviors and standards that are clearly established and communicated. In addition to its role in building a strong company culture, a robust review process improves employee motivation, job satisfaction, and morale.
Your facility may have a form specifically tailored to the various roles and job descriptions within your organization. Most forms include a standardized rating system (e.g., not successful, needs improvement, successful, or exceptional) to evaluate performance. As part of the process, nurses may complete a self-evaluation using the same criteria. Common evaluation categories for nurses include:
- Clinical competence
- Patient education
- Time management
- Professional development
However, not all aspects of professional performance can be quantified by a standardized score. For many managers and nurses, the most valuable part of the review lies within the “comments” section. Comments give the evaluator (and self-evaluator) the chance to write specific examples to describe the individual’s performance and accomplishments.
Tips to Help You Write a Good Review for a Nurse
Good comments for nurses showcase their strengths, in addition to highlighting areas for improvement. The review process is an essential part of professional development and serves a larger goal of supporting organizational safety and quality of care. Evaluations also become part of the staff member’s official employment record and often influence pay raises and promotions, which is why it’s important to be deliberate and thoughtful with your feedback.
Here are five ways to write a good review for a nurse, with accompanying nurse feedback examples.
1. Personalize Reviews
Personalized feedback acknowledges the special talents and strengths each nurse brings to the team. The best inspiration often comes from observing the person in action on the unit. You may consider including what their peers and patients say about their strengths. Incorporating examples to illustrate the qualities that make them stand out shows that you value your staff members as unique individuals.
- Amita is particularly skilled in prioritizing her workload to meet the dynamic and complex needs of our patients.
- Preeti shows exceptional attention to detail through the precision and accuracy of her documentation.
- Madylin is passionate about providing outstanding patient care. Her patients describe her as “wonderful” and “kind.”
2. Be Specific
Unfortunately, “good job” isn’t helpful feedback. Even though the intent is positive, a vague statement doesn’t tell the nurse exactly what they did well. Your team wants to know how they achieved a goal, not just if they did. Specific reviews focus on observable actions and provide concrete examples of job performance. Unclear appraisals, on the other hand, increase employee dissatisfaction and stress and decrease productivity.
It’s also an excellent opportunity to include safety and quality data that is tracked at the level of individual nurses. For example, if your unit collects data on nurse hand hygiene compliance, include it in the review — but only if the results are positive. To build a team with a thriving culture of safety, human errors shouldn’t face punitive actions as addressing those issues is more effectively done through educational follow-up.
- Maria ensures patients’ cleanliness and comfort by assisting them with activities of daily living, including bathing, feeding, and dressing.
- Last week Sam volunteered to take a last-minute new admission during a shift change.
- Last quarter, Marco’s average call response time of 5 minutes was the lowest on the unit, making him the team’s top performer.
3. Acknowledge Growth Over Time
Although it’s tempting to focus on recent events, be sure to pay attention to the staff member’s professional development over time. To retain high-performing staff, it’s important to recognize their performance within the larger context of their nursing career. By acknowledging overall growth and progress, you show genuine investment in their journey as healthcare professionals.
- From new graduate to expert nurse, Maria continues to commit to professional growth by participating in unit education programs.
- Over the past few years, Hmong has progressively taken an active leadership role by training new staff.
- Since joining our team, Phil has become an expert at developing positive relationships with patients and their support systems.
4. Showcase “Additional Duties as Assigned”
Many nurses on your team exceed minimum expectations by going above and beyond basic job duties. If they’ve gone the extra mile to prepare the unit for a regulatory visit or volunteered to organize a donation drive, include these examples of over-achievement. Recognize the efforts staff make to contribute to the team in ways that surpass their job description.
- Wen volunteered to form a unit-based journal club to improve professional practice.
- Jesse started a peer recognition program to boost morale and teamwork in the unit.
- Viktoria went above expectations by setting up a system to keep the supply closet organized.
5. Give Constructive Feedback
For many managers, this is the most challenging part of a performance appraisal. Every time you write a good review for a nurse, it should recognize strengths and offer constructive feedback on areas for improvement. Being transparent about growth opportunities builds trust and shows staff you care about their professional development.
Frame feedback using positive, supportive wording and celebrate the progress they’ve made toward addressing prior issues. Show that you’re invested in their success by providing resources and strategies to help. And, yes, even the top performers on your team want to know how they can improve.
- Omari continues progressing toward his goal to improve time management by using strategies to make med passes more efficient.
- As a new nurse, Bea is adopting floor procedures and continues to learn about our less commonly used policies.
- Since his last review, Drew made significant progress in adhering to safety protocols and now notifies staff of all abnormal vital signs.
Looking for More Ways to Develop Your Nursing Team?
We’ve taken a close look at five ways to write a good review for a nurse. If you’re looking for extra resources for conducting effective performance reviews with your team, IntelyCare is your trusted source for information. Our newsletter is full of free nursing management insights to support healthcare managers.