Evaluate resident orientation

Residency Program Insider, October 24, 2006

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Evaluate resident orientation

Resident orientation is one of the most chaotic times in the year for a residency program director or coordinator. Prior to new residents' arrival, efficiently organizing the information that they need and familiarizing candidates with the trials, stresses, and professional requirements of the physician-in-training position is a demanding and often exhausting process.

A good place to start is to evaluate the purpose and success of your current program. When analyzing your resident orientation process, ask yourself the following:

Why do you want to do this? Most administrators conduct orientation to introduce new residents to the key people in their organization, cover compliance elements, and help residents adjust to their new setting.

What do you need to communicate? Discuss institutional and program resources, directions, compliance standards, and key people with new residents.

Who needs to be a part of orientation? The designated institution official (DIO), GME staff, other residents, your state medical board, employee assistance program, human resources, legal counsel, nursing staff, and pharmaceutical representatives should play a part in orienting new residents.

How do you know what information needs to be communicated? Survey and assess the needs of current residents and hospital leadership. In addition, evaluate past orientation programs, and share your experiences with your colleagues to gather best practices.

In closing, the more active the orientation, the better. Try sending residents to stations to keep them moving, utilizing standardized patients, or familiarizing residents with the institution using a scavenger hunt. Most importantly, make sure there is time to connect one-on-one with residents.

All the best,

Kathryn Andolsek, MD, MPH

Associate director of graduate medical education
Duke University Medical School
Durham, NC.

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