Skilful appraisal doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There are many elements that contribute to a successful appraisal discussion and most will benefit from preparation in advance. Let us look at five aspects of preparation:
- examples and supporting documents
- the appraisee’s reflective tasks
- the physical environment
- the interpersonal environment.
To review something effectively it helps to be clear what you are reviewing it against. We have seen above that the content of UK doctors’, appraisal is based around the headings in Good Medical Practice (GMC, 2011), which gives a framework to the appraisal and helps to provide information for revalidation. In addition, each individual works within one or more organisations. In some organisations performance reviews take place at the same time as appraisal, using the same evidence and process to achieve multiple goals.
See Assessing Educational Needs for examples and more descriptions of revalidation, CPD, significant incident analysis and personal development plans.
Appraisees should start gathering supporting information early, against the relevant sections in the preparatory forms. Much of this will already be available, and it is best to start getting it together gradually over a period of a few months. In the UK most of the electronic appraisal toolkits for doctors provide templates for collecting evidence, such as feedback from patients and colleagues, educational activities and significant incident analyses. Appraisees should exchange ideas with others about getting the portfolio together and look at the online support sites for more ideas (see list of resources at the end of the module).
So, a key part of preparation for an appraiser is to think through examples to illustrate feedback objectively alongside the links to the pre-defined criteria and the information provided by the appraisee. When considering and selecting examples, be conscious of anything that should be respected as confidential in terms of the involvement of other parties and do not stray ‘off topic’ – remember, the appraisal is appraisee-led.
See the How To Give Feedback and Supervision modules for more ideas around the issues concerned with professional and personal development.