Saturday, May 03, 2014

Essential Elements for Nurses Orientation Program

Hello happiereaders!

Today was a super busy day! and one of the happiest day that has been long awaited for!

Today is the very first time I planned and run a full orientation program by myself, from preparing the agenda, editing orientation materials, presentation slides, case studies to organizing sharing session of different diseases. I've learned a lot from it, this is something which I've never done before and something which I never thought of doing it before. Come to think of it now, this is something so similar to my PBL tutorial haha. When I was in uni, I often find these PBL sessions very stressful because I'll have to find tonnes of information on it, in order to be able to answer those questions given. And because there are just so much information, you just can't absorb everything of it. Now I would say, those things are all SO SO SO important guys. At the very least, you get the concept, you know where things are at, where to get the information, what are the relevant aspects which you need to take into consideration and if you keep all your notes, it will serve as your own great "google" in the future whenever you need it! instead of going through the whole research process again! Perhaps you might think it is not as useful now, but actually you are gaining a lot of knowledge unknowingly!

I'm just gonna share with you about my orientation program structure and if you need it, you may adopt it and modify it for your own use. My audiences are all nurses and this is for a medicare centre and nursing home setting.

There are many questions that you need to think of before designing your own orientation program and I found these top THREE questions:

1. What's important for staff to know?
2. Who are the important people for these staff members to meet?
3. What impression of the organization do you want new staff members to walk away with?

Now with that, let's get started!

Number One : Ice Breaking Session

Imagine this is your first job, your first time coming to another state of your country or even just thinking of going into a new environment, most of us would most probably be so anxious or at least a little nervous. Ice breaking session is totally a MUST to help get your participants get to know each other more and of course, to let them know yourself more as well. When the bonding is formed, it opens a door for communication and interaction between you and the participants and among all your audiences. This helps everyone to adapt to the environment quicker and forms a foundation for their future working relationship. Sometimes, I would hear from staff that told me, "I'm don't know much about him/her, we never talk". Everyone has different personality and some people are more of an extrovert whereas some are more of an introvert. Hence, by doing a quick and fun ice-breaking session, you will notice the great difference in the outcome of the program.

What to do during the ice breaking session? 
A brief introduction would be a great start for the session. Particulars like nicknames, hometown, hobbies etc. makes the session more fun and more personalized to each participant. I also love to ask each of them to tell a fun fact about themselves and think of a question to ask the person next to you. It often makes everyone laugh and it helps to ease the anxiety. As me and my audiences are mostly at our early twenties, I also ask them about their goals in life and their passion, questions like what's the reason of choosing nursing, what keeps you motivated to do what you doing, how do you see yourself in another one or two more years. You will realized, Hey, each of them actually have similar goals and they are all inspired by different reasons. With the same goal and vision, they have common understanding and they tend to help each other more, especially in sharing about their clinical experiences and interesting events during posting, because they know, the reasons of the presence of each other. It helps to bring people from different background to get together. I also invited two current staff to join in so they can help to initiate the new staff members.

Number Two : Company Introduction

We definitely need to provide an overview of the company business and make sure you provide comprehensive information such as history, mission, philosophy, strategies etc. Staff are not looking for a job, they are searching for a career. They are curious about the organizational culture. They want to understand the company structure and development, to know the company philosophy and vision, the direction of the company and how they can contribute towards this big family as well as things they can gain from it. By knowing the company well, it also greatly helps them in engaging with clients and assist them in their daily routine.

Number Three : Human Resource Department

Human capital is the most essential part of a company. Without the staff, there is no company. HR often also involve in conducting training for staff and monitor their career progressions. You may want to try to flatten the learning curve, focus first on the essential information which will help them to succeed. All staff should also know their roles in the company and their rights as a staff. They should also be well briefed on the company policies as well as DOs and DON'Ts of the company. A HR clinic is essential so that they know where to turn to if there is any issues among the colleagues. I think it is also important to explain that the company is interested and supporting the career ambitions of new staff members (therefore, putting down questions to ask them about their future goals in ice-breaking session will help on this) and highlight the organization's commitment towards professional development . In this way, staff members will have more confidence to see this job as a path to career success, instead of dismissing it as a temporary pit-stop along the way.

Number Four : Introduction on the clinical aspect

Introduce the person who will be in-charge of the clinical orientation, training and support so that staff members know what they should do. The program may include role transition, passing shift report, restrain or fall protocols, skin and wound care, pain management, oxygen therapy, oxygen delivery systems, chest tube drainage system and many more. It may be built from a competency-based framework. This will provides a good preparation for nurses to know what they should expect during their probation period. I'm often amazed to see the performance of staff before and after going through the orientation. It instills them with confidence in their own ability and it facilitate a good start for them in starting a new job. It also makes life easier for others in the company because new staff do not need to ask them repeatedly for basic information and advice.

I hope this is helpful! Nurses day is coming real soon! Are you planning something for your nurses already?

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