Orienting nursing students in nurse tech role

Nurses General Nursing


I have been assigned a Nurse Tech to orient to our med/surg/tele/peds unit. She is an LPN student and will graduate in August. Our hospital hires nursing students as Nurse techs after the complete a certain amount of clinical time. I really don't mind having a tech to orient but I am never positive about getting them acquainted with all the paperwork, routines, and such. If you orient a new nurse or a nurse student do you have a certain plan you follow? I don't want to overwhelm them on the first couple of days but I don't want them to be bored stiff and feel like they aren't learning anything. I could really use some tips and advice here if anyone has some. I have been using the orientation check-off list for a guideline but it is pretty overwhelming at first. I did let the tech chart some (under my direct supervision) and pass a few oral meds (with me watching). I am a believer in hands-on-learning. Fortunately today was a good day and I had time to explain to the tech my rationale behind each nursing action. She seemed eager to learn which is always a bonus. I would appreciate hearing from some of the recent grads (or nursing students) who have recently been through orientation. What did you like that your preceptor did? What did you dislike? Any advice for me? Thanks.


1 Post

I am not a new graduate but if come to orientation of new staff think about writing or if already exist self learning package to give them away with copmlition time limit of 3 months for part- timers and maybe shorter time for full timers.

Allison P

52 Posts

I was a student nurse tech my last semester of nursing school. The state board of nursing was very strict about what we were allowed to do while teching. We could chart and do a few procedures, but we could never pass meds or do any sterile procedures. It also did not count as part of my orientation time. I felt like it was a good learning opportunity for me. I felt comfortable on my unit by the time I graduated, and I knew quite a few of the nurses that I would be working with.

I work ICU and during my orientation I was never assigned a preceptor. I worked with a different nurse every week. I was able to learn a greater variety of skills and information because each nurse I oriented with had different strengths.



6,011 Posts


We assigned a senior tech to orient new (regular) techs to the unit.

If they were nursing student techs they'd also have a once a week class for skills.

If they were student nurse Externs they were oriented by the CBO clinical specialist, and rotated through different departments every 2 weeks during the 8 week externship. They also had a class once a week.

I have never oriented a tech myself only nurses.

i'm a student nurse and recently started in the ED as a tech. from my experience, i can tell you that the more hands on stuff is what i greatly appreciated. i wanted my preceptor there to guide me and answer questions if i had them but i actually wanted to do any procedures that i was allowed. and very much appreciated being corrected if i wasn't doing something the way i should have. and a nice compliment goes a long way.

my biggest turn off was being asked to do something that was outside of my scope of practice, especially when the nurses knew i was a tech and knew i couldn't do certain things (start iv's, give meds). i was asked to start an IV and when i said no a nurse said "but i know that you know how to do it." well, she was right. i DO know how to do it. learned it in nursing school. but for that job it was outside of my scope of practice as a tech and i didn't think it was right for her to even ask me. and then she had the nerve to be a little miffed at me for saying no. :chuckle


316 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

I was fortunate to be able to tech in the ER while in nursing school. The nurses I worked with were fabulous. I learned so much!

While I learned technical skills and basics, I also learned "unspoken" skills. There were certain nuances I picked up, how she interacted with staff from other departments and doctors, her interactions with families, how she handled difficult situations, etc. This was just as important.

The way I practice my job is based on how I saw the experienced nurses do theirs. I combine my own ways with theirs. I hope this makes sense.


169 Posts

Specializes in ER/SICU.

I think working, as a tech can be one of the best learning chances you get as a student. I worked from my second semester on as a tech in the er and floated to the units and floors sometimes. You can gain a working knowledge that once I was in clinicals I was almost bored. I was far ahead of most of my classmates. I know that last line comes off as cocky but it is just honest. In med/surg some of my classmates had only take vs a few times something as a tech you do 100s of times and then the closed doors sessions right or wrong I started tons of ivs placed ng tubes, foleys, and other skills. I had performed CPR in real trauma situations seen chest cracked open, set up chest tubes swans insertions and many other things classmates had only read about. I know some people have a beef with starting ivs and such, and I have noticed most nurse are black and white on this issue they want to teach and show student techs skills or they just want you to do vs and transport pts. I was a tech at a level one trauma center university teaching hospital and damn near 80% of the people laying hands on a pt from xray to RT to residents and med students to nursing were in school or training. I did my clinicals at the same hospital at least part of them so a lot of the nurses figured I could do skills on tues and wed why not on Friday night.

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,525 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

There is plenty to do in sticking with the tech role. I usually try to teach a little as time allows though. For instance, I'll grab the tech to watch me put in an NGT and to help. Or send them in the room where a procedure is going on, like a central line or a chest tube. Or talk about what paperwork we're doing for a code blue etc. But it's only as time allows. They are there in a tech role and that's what they are getting paid to do. Being a tech was a very good experience for me.


230 Posts


How about asking your orientee? (Dang that sounds snotty, but I really don't mean it in a snarky way!) Have you all had the chance to just chat yet about her aspirations and interests? I realize from reading your other posts that time is at a premium.

And what she honestly hopes to gain from orientation? (In addition to following the orientation checklist, and within her scope..) I only ask this cause as a student it tends to be my approach. Learn what I am allowed to do, learn to do that well, than pick the brains of experienced nurses such as yourself. It is amazing how much knowledge you all possess, and more importantly its practical application.

Here's to preceptors such as yourself who are interested and excited about teaching! You all make such a difference!



414 Posts

deespoohbear, when I have been in charge of orienting someone, after letting them do some of the things they know how to do, I let them read the policy and procedures manual. This can be done during down time when you are caught up and when it is quiet on the unit where you work. Let them assess a resident for charting. I am not very good at orienting people because I am worried that they will think that I am talking down to them. Just go with the flow and always keep the P&P manual handy so that they can review it.

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