What Should NPs Expect in a Performance Review?

Does your employer conduct regularly scheduled performance reviews? Whether you’re a nurse practitioner with a meeting on the books to discuss your conduct or you’re faced with an impromptu assessment of your latest achievements, a performance review can be downright nerve wracking. Knowing what to expect in such a meeting and coming prepared can help you approach the review with confidence and ease anxiety. Here’s what nurse practitioners can expect when a boss requests a meet-up.


Although conversations with your boss about how things are going can be anxiety provoking, it’s better that these sessions happen more frequently. This allows both you and the administrative team to check in and address any issues that come up, or to celebrate accomplishments. In some facilities this is a more formal process with a set structure; in others performance reviews may occur without a set agenda. Maintaining an open line of communication is a good thing. Keep in mind that reviews may not only be stressful for you, but for your boss as well. Giving and receiving feedback is always a little uncomfortable.

The Agenda

Nurse practitioners can expect a performance review to include an assessment of metrics. Most employers closely track NP’s productivity as it relates to number of patients seen and revenue produced from these interactions. Other metrics such as compliance with Medicare or other patient care requirements may also make the agenda. Patient satisfaction is another major focus in our current healthcare landscape that may come up in the meeting. Expect your employer to comment on what patients and other providers are saying about the care you provide.

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Tip: If your boss doesn’t send an agenda in advance of the meeting, shoot him or her an email asking what you can expect to discuss. This way you can be prepared and even ask to add your own items to the schedule.

Preparing for the Conversation

Savvy nurse practitioners prepare for reviews. While you’re obviously in tune with how things are going related to your job, some deeper thinking in advance will help the meeting be more productive- especially if there’s a sensitive issue to discuss or you’re planning to ask for a raise. Make a list of your accomplishments. For example, you might gather stats about your patient volume, charting or paperwork efficiency, patient satisfaction scores or specific compliments, complex diagnoses you’ve made or complicated patients you’ve cared for etc. Sure, the meeting with your boss shouldn’t be a brag fest, but reminding your employer about a few of your successes isn’t a bad idea. As a balance, you’ll also want to prepare a list of a few areas where you could and plan to improve in the coming months.

Discussion Topics

Having trouble identifying topics you think will be on your nurse practitioner performance review agenda? The following questions are helpful to get your mind going and to help you keep the conversation moving if you find yourself on the spot:

1. Is there anything I/my supervisor could be doing more of?

2. Is there anything I/my supervisor could be doing less of?

3. Is there anything I/my supervisor isn’t doing that I wish he/she would start doing?

4. Is there anything my supervisor is doing that I wish he/she would stop doing?

Thinking through these questions both based on your own performance and as they relate to your boss will help you generate some ideas of items that you or an administrator might bring up when you meet.

Set Goals

Now that you’ve identified your strengths and weaknesses as a nurse practitioner in preparation for the review conversation, jot down a few related professional goals you hope to meet in the coming months. If you’re falling behind when it comes to completing your charts on time, for example, get a written plan in place for addressing the problem. When you meet with your boss, share these goals and ask “Do these seem in line with what you think my priorities should be?”. This way you make sure you’re focusing your time and energy on what’s important.

Ask Questions

Busyness eats up the average workday so it can be difficult to get answers to big picture questions or address concerns you have as an NP. If you have questions, concerns or items you’d like to discuss, a performance review is the time! Make a list and bring it with you to the meeting. Or, better yet, email your boss the questions you hope to get answers to in advance of the meeting so that he/she can also prepare.

During the Review

Throughout your performance review, take notes! This shows you are paying attention and intend to act on the feedback you receive. Avoid being defensive (it can be tough!), rather seek to understand where your boss is coming from if you receive negative feedback or constructive criticism. Saying “Tell me more about that…” is a great, non-confrontational way to draw out more information about the feedback you receive. Let your boss know that you’re glad to be aware of areas where you can improve and that you plan to address them. Ask “Do you have any tips for how I can accomplish this?” or “Which of these should I prioritize?” to help get your action plan for improvement in place.

After the Review

Phew! You made it! However, walking out of the room isn’t the end of your review. Follow up the meeting with an email summary of what was discussed. Set a time to follow up and check in on any goals or plans for improvement. Conclude the email by asking “Does this sounds like an accurate recap of our conversation?”. Then, get started on your action plan!

Have you had a performance review as a nurse practitioner? What was discussed?


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