Ask the expert: Develop an orientation program for staff development practice

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, October 2, 2009

This week, Adrianne E. Avillion DEd, RN, discusses ways to develop an orientation program for staff development practice.

Q: How can I develop that "perfect" orientation program for staff development practice?

A: One of the few certainties of staff development practice is that orientation is in a state of constant review and revision. There is no such thing as a "perfect" orientation program. However, an orientation program can be flexible and can complement existing processes.

Be sure to:

  • Assign responsibility to specific staff development specialists. Someone must be in charge of the project, but that does not mean that only these individuals deliver orientation.
  • Arrange orientation activities in conjunction with other programs as often as possible. Distinct learning opportunities are offered simultaneously, thus saving time and money.
  • Establish preceptor programs for all departments, not just those involved in direct patient care. The role of preceptor should be accompanied by a salary differential when preceptor duties are performed.
  • Incorporate the organization's competency requirements into orientation. Initial or ongoing competency assessment generally requires some time set aside for taking pre- and posttests and for skill demonstration. Offer all three for both orientees and established employees within the same period. Doing so provides an option for both groups to avoid classroom or distance learning hours if they demonstrate competency successfully right away.


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