Tips for planning resident orientation

Residency Program Insider, June 24, 2016

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New resident orientation is an exciting time for program directors and coordinators. It is nice to see all of the hard work you did during recruitment pay off when the incoming residents walk through the door. It is also a crucial time to communicate the essential information residents need to know in order to care for patients on their first day. A well-organized, comprehensive orientation lays the foundation for your residents’ success.

When planning resident orientation, keep the following pointers in mind:
•    Reduce redundancies and inefficiencies. Don’t be afraid to question the tried, true, and traditional. If you think or receive feedback from residents that some orientation sessions are unhelpful, see if you can eliminate or combine them.
•    Gather information early. The fewer surprises you have leading up and during orientation, the better. Email a survey to incoming residents right after the Match asking any questions that will help you prepare for orientation, such as whether they need ACLS, BLS, ATLS, or PALS certification. This way you can provide those who need certification with registration information. On the survey, also ask new residents to indicate any vacation time they already know they will need, and use this information to create schedules for the following year.
•    Eliminate nice-to-know information. There’s no question that incoming residents have a lot to learn to get completely up to speed, but that doesn’t mean you have to cover it all during orientation. Only present what your incoming residents need to know to be effective immediately. As you create the orientation schedule, scrutinize each activity, asking whether the information is essential for residents or whether you can cover it later without compromising patient care.

Source: The Residency Coordinator’s Handbook, Third Edition

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