Performance assessment in health care providers: a critical review of evidence and current practice

Karen Hamilton, Vivien Coates, Billy Kelly, JENNIFER BOORE, Jill Cundell, Jackie Gracey, Brian McFetridge, Mary McGonigle, Marlene Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Aim To evaluate methods of performance assessment through an international literature review and a survey of current practice.

Background Over the past two decades health care organizations have focussed on promoting high quality care in conjunction with retaining motivated staff. Cognisant of such initiatives, we sought to evaluate assessment methods for qualified staff according to their utility in the working environment.

Methods A systematic literature search was completed and each paper independently reviewed. All health care organizations in Northern Ireland submitted details of their performance assessments. Each was critically appraised using a utility index.

Results Performance was not universally defined. A broad range of assessments were identified, each method had advantages and disadvantages. Although many lacked rigorous testing, areas of good practice were also noted.

Conclusions No single method is appropriate for assessing clinical performance. Rather, this study endorses proposals for a multi‐method strategy to ensure that performance assessment demonstrates all attributes required for effective nursing and midwifery practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-791
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Nov 2007


  • Healh services research
  • multi professional practice
  • nursing and midwifery assessment


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