Transforming Hospital Orientation
HealthJuly 24, 2018

Transforming hospital orientation

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.”

Identifying a key problem

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.”

Learning in motion

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:

  • They gamified the review portion at the end of the first day’s session. An app assigned learners to act out or describe an orientation topic covered during the day without naming the specific activity. So, if the app designated “bedside report” as a topic, a player could describe it with words such as “informing the next shift about the patient in the room,” the article explained. The nurses enjoyed the game approach to review and likely left the hospital that day feeling a little lighter from the laughter and camaraderie a game-style review can encourage.
  • They created patient care scenarios using simulation manikins and asked new nurses to identify “what they find unsafe,” the educators wrote, “as if participating in a scavenger hunt for clinical insights.” Discussion followed the activity, reinforcing patient safety education.
  • They created cards inscribed with customer service standards. After choosing a card, new nurse hires demonstrated care delivery incorporating the standard on the card on a high-fidelity manikin operated by the instructor.
  • They set up fall scenarios involving the manikin and asked nurses to simulate the appropriate response to a fall and reviewed proper fall investigation procedures.
  • They instructed learners to put on personal protective equipment used when caring for patients with highly contagious infections, and then directed participants to peer review a partner and correct any mistakes. 

An engaging start

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.

Flipping the classroom

If your organization is seeking additional resources to decrease time-to-productivity of new nursing hires, let Lippincott® Blended Learning help!  Launched in July 2018, the newest addition to the leading Lippincott® Solutions evidence-based software suite includes a comprehensive collection of evidence-based curriculum assets designed to get your newer staff up and running quickly.

With a growing library of customizable, online lesson plans that support live instructor-led training on ‘need to know’ information, Lippincott Blended Learning:

  • Includes over 80 general nursing program topics, with additional topics on nursing specialty orientation covering medical-surgical, critical care, perioperative, obstetrics, and emergency. 
  • Features a flexible platform that can support a flipped classroom environment
  • Encourages instructional scaffolding, allowing staff to build knowledge and progressively increase expertise over time

Click HERE for additional information on how Lippincott Blended Learning can help to streamline orientation and ensure competency at your organization!

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