8 – Annual Appraisals

Contributor: Ellen E. Swanson
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In my undergraduate nursing education, I was taught that people learn best when motivated from within. One professor applied this when she did regular performance appraisals during the semester. She instructed us to come to the meeting with a list of three things in which we excelled, three things we’d improved on in the last six weeks, and three goals we had for the next six weeks. All had to be in threes. We could not inflate or deflate ourselves by having more of one than the others.

There were times during my career when I supervised staff. I was so grateful for the experience with my professor. In setting up the appraisal appointments with the staff, I noted that we would fill out the required form used by the facility. However, we would spend most of our time on the list of threes I asked them to bring in to the appointment. And it never failed. They initiated the discussion of any performance problems or challenges. Each person always had a concern on their list that was my concern. And it came from within them, so they were motivated to work on it. We then became intentional partners in how we viewed the desired goals.

An annual appraisal, ideally, would be a learning opportunity for both the employee and the supervisor. Use of the mandala for appraisals could facilitate this happening. The use of the rings would be as follows.

Ring 1, The Rainbow Ring: list seven areas in which you excel

Ring 2: List seven things you’ve improved on in the last year.

Ring 3: Describe three areas where you’d like to grow or learn more in the next year. (These may or may not be directly connected to body, mind, and spirit.)

Ring 4: Which life aspects of the company are you the best equipped to contribute toward, based on the information in the first three rings? Or, what suggestions do you have for the company in each life aspect? Is there something the company needs to develop?

Although this isn’t the equal threes my professor used with me, I find people today are so stressed from the frantic pace of our lives that they need to emphasize their strengths more.

When you sit back and observe your experiences with annual appraisals, what felt sense can you identify? If your annual appraisal would be based on the approaches in this mandala application, is there a shift in your felt sense? What do you notice in your body? What is your body telling you?

The holistic nursing theory concepts involved with this approach are unity with self and others, intentionality, and the ways we’re all teachers, students, and co-creators in the learning process.

The following blank mandala is one you may download and enlarge to 11×17 as a worksheet if you would find that helpful.
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Holistic nursing concepts source:

Frisch, N. (2013).  Nursing theory in holistic nursing practice.  In B. Dossey & L. Keegan (Eds.) Holistic nursing a handbook for practice, 6th Ed.  (pp. 117-128).  Burlington, MA:  Jones and Bartlett Learning.