An engaging hospital orientation programs sets the scene for new nurse hires to thrive in the workplace. Nurse educators Stephanie A. Walton, MSN, RN, and Deb Sitter, MA, BSN, BSM, RN-BC, understood the importance of an effective orientation program, so they jumped at the chance to improve theirs as part of a recent journey to obtain Magnet recognition.
They combined and streamlined nursing orientation programs at three hospitals to make them standardized, consistent, and uniform.
“But we didn’t just standardize our practices,” Walton and Sitter wrote in American Nurse Today. “We took the leap from using a passive learning lecture-style approach to implementing active, innovative learning strategies — giving our nurses a better chance to succeed at patient care.”
Revamping the orientation program from separate initiatives into an organized set-up involved logistical considerations like deciding on a master site (the main hospital campus, in this case) and a master schedule for orientation.
When the nurse educators took this on, brainstorming and working out challenges, they stumbled upon a surprising issue that was necessary to rectify.
“We discovered that hospitals in our system didn’t always schedule time for nursing staff to attend orientation,” Walton and Sitter wrote. “We worked with human resources and nursing leadership to help make orientation for new hires standard practice across the health system.”
The duo also worked to transform the orientation experience from lecture-based, which the authors dubbed “death by PowerPoint,” to an active, learner-based experience.
“Research shows,” Walton and Sitter wrote, “that active learning strategies can increase retention of information and satisfaction with the learning experience and strengthen learning engagement.”
Here’s an overview of some key changes they made:
Transforming from lecture-based education into an activity-based approach transformed the orientation experience for new nurse hires.
“We send a survey to nurses soon after they attend,” the educators explained. “Feedback indicates that most find learner-centered orientation effective and engaging.”
Starting a job can be overwhelming and stressful. By putting some effort into making orientation a little less tedious and a bit more dynamic and fun, nurse educators can help inject some spring into the step of new nurse hires as they embark on a new leg of their nursing career.
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