Perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs of staff anaesthetists related to multi-source feedback used for their performance appraisal

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The aim of this study was to explore anaesthetists’ perceptions and experience of the implementation of multi-source feedback (MSF) for their performance review.


Twelve semi-structured thematic interviews were conducted with staff anaesthetists and their director to explore the perceptions of, and responses to, the MSF system, the feedback given, and their work context. An inductive thematic cross-comparative analysis of the interview data was conducted.


The themes that emerged clustered around the anaesthetists’ understanding of MSF, the facilitation process, and the value anaesthetists placed on feedback from the different professional groups available as actual and potential sources of feedback data.


The anaesthetists interviewed in this study accepted performance review and the role of MSF in it. Anaesthetists thought anonymity an important feature of MSF, and viewed the process as an opportunity for self-improvement. To the extent that MSF was viewed by the anaesthetists as surveillance by management, this was seen as being largely benign. Rather a view of the acceptance of self-responsibility for using the information gathered to improve their own performance was held by the majority of those interviewed. While broad sampling of sources within and outside anaesthesia was desired, most value was placed on feedback from both nurses and trainees within anaesthesia. The value of feedback from surgeons was contentious, and this may reflect underlying issues with this important relationship that are yet to be explored.

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