The primary objective of nursing orientations is to allow newly hired nurses to be familiar with the organisation’s system, standards and culture. The programme should be integrated as an active, innovative and progressive practice.

To do this, a successful nursing orientation programme should take into account the overall organisation strategy, the nurses and their needs. By moving towards a more efficient and conducive nursing orientation – nurses would stand a better chance in succeeding at patient care; and ultimately, achieving excellence in nursing practice.

Improve schedule glitches, provide more qualified instructors

Constant changes in the healthcare system have warranted the need for continuous updates and improvements in the structure of the orientation programme. Nursing experts maintain that the programme should include evidence-based practice, informatics upgrades and modified policies and procedures.

As such, the organisation and nursing administrators should improve the glitches part in the orientation schedule and hire more qualified preceptors or instructors. The human resource and nursing leadership departments should also work together to ensure the programme is run well.

It should allow novice nurses to be familiarised with the standard practices across the health system. For instance, they can combine a half-day class in patient handling (taught by the physical therapy department) with a half-day class in electronic health records (taught by the informatics department) into a one-day session.

Simulation-based education reinforces patient safety

Simulation-based techniques are hands-on activities that effectively engage nurses in a teaching and learning environment. Focusing on patient safety, this method allows preceptors to use the manikin to show a patient care scenario and encourage active participation from nurses.

During this session, the preceptor will guide the nurses on patient safety practices—step-by-step. Nurses are then expected to demonstrate the right delivery of care – as operated by preceptors – during the simulation session. In the instance of patient fall cases, preceptors would set up the proper scenario using the manikin—and deliver the fall investigation procedures and interventions to prevent future falls.

Instead of engaging nurses in care practices, nurses will gain insights into the relationship between their observations and safety goals. Other hands-on topics that will be discussed are I.V. pump and code blue procedures, including a basic review of the crash cart monitor and how to activate a code.

The need for ongoing innovation

The new form of nursing orientation should be an ongoing innovation in healthcare systems. To do this, evaluation procedures must be incorporated as the final stage of the orientation programme. Soon after orientation period ends, nurses should be given a survey form to evaluate the programme. Through nurses’ evaluations, this will ensure that the future orientation would meet nurses’ needs and effectively prepares them to deliver quality care.

In recent nursing orientation programme, it has been reported that newly hired nurses received the New Employee Packet with information regarding salary, benefits and list of required documents for Human Resources. Hence, they had the opportunity to spend more time with existing staff to learn the electronic charting system.

They also received a competency checklist to be completed regarding practice skills, as well as handouts for review regarding required training (Sexual Harassment, HIPAA, Privacy and Confidentiality, Cultural Competency, Drug).

Any nursing orientation should be a comprehensive programme – engaging adult learners and encouraging the sharing and integration of information. With such implementations, nursing orientations will become more streamlined and efficient. More importantly, it will encourage active learning. MIMS

Read more:
Nurse leaders: How to lead without seeming bossy
Nurses: Here's how empathy can help you deal with workplace conflicts
Nurses: 3 reasons to improve your interpersonal skills