Peer review in nursing and midwifery: a literature review

J Clin Nurs. 2008 Feb;17(4):427-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2007.01934.x. Epub 2007 Apr 5.


Aims and objectives: The Clinical Education Project investigated clinical education in nursing and midwifery settings. The aim of this phase was to investigate and evaluate the processes and outcomes of clinical assessment of preregistration nurses and midwives, focusing on the assessment interview, and to evaluate the feasibility of introducing peer review of the clinical assessment interview in acute clinical settings.

Background: Peer review is common in many professional areas. The literature describes various applications of peer review and makes recommendations for its use. However, there is a shortage of studies investigating the use of peer review in nursing and midwifery education and practice.

Design: The project involved a systematic literature review and a qualitative exploratory study. This article describes the first part of the study: a systematic literature review of peer review. The second part of the study is reported elsewhere.

Methods: The systematic literature review investigated international articles written since 1994 that contained information on peer review in pre/post registration nursing and midwifery within higher education or practice.

Results: From the available literature, 52 specific initiatives were analysed. The majority of articles originated in America and involved nursing staff working in secondary care settings. Fifty-one articles had missing information varying from not stating the sample size to not including information about evaluations.

Conclusions: The literature review found that whilst peer review is commonplace in nursing and midwifery practice, there is a lack of robust literature about its use. Relevance to clinical practice. Peer review in clinical settings such as nursing and midwifery can facilitate the sharing of good practice and personal and professional growth. It allows participants to learn from each other and gain insight into their development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease / nursing
  • Benchmarking
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Employee Performance Appraisal / methods*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Nursing Education Research / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff / education
  • Nursing Staff / standards
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Peer Review, Health Care / methods*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Research Design