Peer Review in the Online Environment

Tuesday, 10 November 2015: 10:40 AM

Mary Alice Momeyer, DNP, MSN, BSN, RN, ANP-BC, GNP-BC1
Carolyn Schubert, DNP, MSN, BSN, CNE1
Joni Tornwall, RN, BSN, MEd2
(1)College of Nursing, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
(2)College of Nursing, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

Peer review, collaboration and group work are documented drivers of continuous quality improvement in healthcare (IOM, 2010; Ray & Meyer, 2014). The ANA (1988) defined the importance of peer review as an organized effort to make judgments about the quality and appropriateness of care and services provided by someone of equal rank.  As a characteristic of a mature profession, peer review emphasizes and promotes accountability to professional standards. It supports development and socialization into the nursing role and is a tool for empowerment.  In the academic setting, peer review is a tool for student engagement providing experience in reviewing others’ coursework according to set standards such as assignment rubrics (Boehm & Bonnel, 2010).   Effective peer review requires knowledge, skill and self confidence using methodologies to provide constructive feedback to colleagues. Few studies examine if and how these requirements are addressed in academia. The on line learning environment poses additional and unique challenges.  With the increasing number of online nursing programs, many students are educated without real-time or face to face interactions with faculty or peers. This environment can have an isolating effect on learners and present barriers to communications, collaboration and group work, impeding efforts such as peer review. According to Maine and Wu (2010) it is imperative in an online course to maintain interaction, provide on line situations for critical thinking, and ensure the active and ‘safe’ engagement of learners.   Online tools present a frame for conducting peer review and offer definition, consistency and ease of access to students in on line courses. To evaluate the perceptions and efficacy of on line peer review methodology, a pilot study was conducted. One hundred and fifty on line graduate nursing students were asked to identify their perceptions of specific barriers and developmental needs after using an on line peer review tool. A Likert scale survey was used in addition to open ended questions to gather qualitative feedback. Initial results confirmed the need for structured teaching and learning about the peer review concept and process, as well as experiences and strategies to build confidence and competence in implementing peer review in nursing practice.