In the wake of Francis report into failings at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust nurses will be expected undertake regular 360 degree feedback, as well as to give feedback about the performance of their colleagues and seniors to contribute to appraisals.

As part of a series of initiatives announced to improve the quality of nursing care,  Jane Cummins, Chief Nursing Officer, NHS England announced plans to develop workforce planning, education, leadership and staff satisfaction. These are intended to drive the implementation proposals in her strategy, Compassion in Practice, published last year.

One proposal is the introduction of 360 degree feedback for all nurses following recommendations in the Francis report. It called for common standards to be developed for nurse appraisals, including 360-degree appraisal comprising of  anonymous feedback from colleagues and patients.

NHS England Director of Nursing for Quality Improvement and Care, Juliet Beal, is reported as saying it planned to implement the recommendation in full. Commissioners are likely to include the requirement for 360 degree appraisals in their contracts with providers from April next year.

According to the most recent NHS staff survey results, 83% of staff received an appraisal in 2012 however only 36% thought they were well structured.

Royal College of Nursing Policy Director, Howard Catton welcomed the proposal. He said it could help improve staff culture if handled correctly.

The way 360 degree feedback is managed is a critical factor in it’s impact on both individual nurses and their Trust. Because of it’s personal nature 360 feedback offers great opportunities for personal growth through enhanced self awareness and understanding of impact on others. To ensure this happens the process should be clear, confidential and anonymous and nurses should have the opportunity to discuss their feedback with a suitably qualified facilitator.