Book Excerpt: Orientation starts before residents arrive

Residency Program Insider, March 24, 2009

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Most program coordinators think of orientation as the process of introducing incoming residents to the program, hospital, and/or sponsoring institution when they arrive to start their training. However, I like to think orientation actually begins with the interview process. Interview candidates pick up on several important subliminal messages during recruitment, such as the program’s expectations for meeting deadlines and adhering to policies and procedures. These first impressions set the tone for the residents’ training, much like orientation does.

Orientation continues after Match Day as you communicate with residents before they begin training. The organization, clarity, and thoroughness of the packet of information and instructions that you send to incoming residents are examples of how the program is managed. It also conveys your expectations for incoming residents. For example, following up with soon-to-be residents to ensure they return completed forms and other requested information by the deadline sends the message that tardiness will not be accepted.

The program director, department chair, or graduate medical education (GME) office of the sponsoring institution may consider consequences for those residents who are late with their paperwork. For example, in my institution, the GME office runs a week-long incoming resident orientation. There are several online modules the incoming residents must do before they arrive for this orientation. If those modules are not completed, they cannot attend orientation and cannot start their residency. So, for my residents, compliance with deadlines is crucial and follow-up from my office must be timely.

The previous section is an excerpt from HCPro Inc.’s forthcoming book, The Complete Residency Program Management Guide by Ruth H. Nawotniak, C-TAGME.

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