May 2022 Peer Evaluator Spotlight
Written by: Sarah Fearing, BA
Lead Editor, ACEN
Published: May 2022
At present, the ACEN has 800+ peer evaluators that volunteer in various capacities. When nursing programs undergo their review, there are three levels of review, the first being the site visit where peers from similar nursing programs go to the location(s) to tour facilities, observe classrooms and labs in action, review documentation, and most importantly interview administrators, faculty, staff, and students. After the site visit, which is on average 3‒4 days in length, the peer evaluators write a Site Visit Report to document their findings regarding the program’s compliance with the ACEN Standards and Criteria. Given that peer evaluators have varying levels of experience when it comes to peer-reviewing other nursing programs like this, a seasoned peer evaluator serves as the Team Chair, who organizes the program review, assigns writing sections to each peer evaluator on the team, assembles each Team Member’s portion of the writing into one cohesive report, and verifies the report’s narrative reflects the information learned during the site visit. After the last day of the site visit, the team has one week to submit their report, which is impressive given that most of our peer evaluators have full-time employment responsibilities to resume after the site visit is completed, and many of these reports exceed 30,000 words!
With this in mind, our first Peer Evaluator Spotlight is meant to showcase two Team Members (one a new Team Chair!) that have not gone unnoticed for their hard work here at the ACEN. In each Peer Evaluator Spotlight, the ACEN will explore the professional journeys of the individuals that make our peer-review process possible. Each spotlight will include Team Chairs and/or Team Members that are seasoned, new, or have served internationally.
Thus, our first Team Member in the spotlight is Dr. Omar Al-Rawajfah!
Omar Al-Rawajfah, PhD, MSN, RN, FAAN, is the Dean for the College of Nursing at Sultan Qaboos University, which is located in the city of Muscat within the Sultanate of Oman. Dr. Al-Rawajfah has been in nursing education for two decades, so his expertise over master’s- and baccalaureate-level programs is invaluable during a peer-review of a given nursing program. While managing the master’s and baccalaureate nursing programs, he also teaches graduate students, supervises their research, and conducts his own research pertaining to infection control issues. Since contributing on his first site visit for the ACEN in the Fall 2020 cycle, Dr. Al-Rawajfah has been on virtual site visits to review master’s- and baccalaureate-level nursing programs in the United States (specifically, New Mexico) and in Topkapi, which is within the city of Instanbul, Turkey. I had the pleasure of interviewing him via Zoom for the Spotlight, so if you’d like to learn more from him directly about his nursing practice, his experience as a Team Member, or his advice for anyone considering becoming a peer evaluator, you can view the entire interview below.
Donna Brown-Richards, DNP, APRN, RN, PPCNP-BC, is the Program Chairperson at Miami Dade College for the Benjamín León School of Nursing; she has served in this capacity for three years but has worked there for a total of nine. At this nursing program, she works with students pursuing baccalaureate- and associate-level nursing degrees. She has contributed to six site visits, and her most recent site visit she led as Team Chair. For the ERP to be held in June 2022, Brown-Richards will help review baccalaureate and associate programs for the first time. To learn more about Dr. Brown-Richards, you can read her full written response she submitted here.
A huge congratulations to our first Peer Evaluator Spotlights, Dr. Omar Al-Rawajfah and Dr. Donna Brown-Richards! Be on the lookout each newsletter for our next spotlight…maybe it will be you!