I have been a peer reviewer for the past 37 years. Volunteering my services for a national accrediting body has enhanced my professional development exponentially; equally as valuable, though, I have gained the feeling that my contributions make a measurable difference in the lives of others.
There are a multitude of reasons for participating in the peer review process. Professionally, I have developed a ‘tool kit’ of skills that has strengthened my analytical, evaluation and presentation skills. Working with likeminded professionals committed to operational excellence has been a tremendous learning and networking experience that has allowed me to share my knowledge and learn from others. I have discovered new ideas and best practices that I have shared with my own agency.
Often organizations fail to realize that as peer reviewers, we frequently attend site visits in new cities, work with people we have not met before and are there for a limited time. During this timeframe, our goal is to thoroughly review a self-study that provides a great deal of information about a small, local organization or a multi-million dollar national nonprofit and everything in between. As peer reviewers, it is our responsibility to develop the skills necessary to adapt to whatever conditions we are presented with, assess the agency’s performance against program standards and determine the organization’s ability to meet the needs of the clients they serve.
During my many years as a peer reviewer I have had the opportunity to work with many distinctive individuals and organizations. While we are all committed to working toward the same set of national accreditation standards, each engagement has presented me with a unique learning experience for which I am thankful. If you have ever considered sharing your professional skills or volunteering as a means of giving back, becoming a peer reviewer may just be for you.
– Submitted by Stanley Capela, VP for Quality Management and Corporate Compliance Officer, HeartShare Human Services