Traveler Orientations


Hi Travel Nurses!

I run a lot of the orientations at my hospital and I'm looking for ways to make onboarding smoother and more meaningful.  What are the orientations you've been through at various hospitals like and how well have they prepared you for the actual job?  Is there anything that you find particularly helpful or unhelpful when you're trying to learn the ropes at a new facility? 

I work in a psychiatric hospital but I'm also interested in how medical or other facilities handle training their travelers.


1 Article; 5,766 Posts

The hospital orientation with mission statements and so on can be completely skipped. To the extent that device training, EMR training, and blood policies are taught during hospital orientation, these are necessary. However, shadowing a staff nurse, perhaps with reduced personal census, cuts through a lot of stuff (especially EMR) and is a more effective learning experience on what is actually needed and how to drill it into memory.

As far as clinical orientation goes, my own personal experience is that the shorter the orientation, the more successful the assignment. I'm unsure of why this is, but probably learning on the job is more successful than lots of shadowing (question of degree, I know this looks like I'm contradicting myself). I think part of my own rating about how successful an assignment went is how fast I become productive - which goes along with job satisfaction and efficiency.

I'm an OR nurse, and orientations to the OR are typically the longest of all specialties. And yes, I'll buy into a first time traveler needing more handholding, but for me and most other travelers I speak to, it just raises stress levels the first few weeks. Let me pick a few cases (really difficult day one) to learn roughly where most of the thousands of supplies are and their organization, and then let me learn under fire under a surgeon's distorted sense of time. Getting stuff under such circumstances sears everything into memory. I assume there is a parallel to this in other specialties - if bedside, let the traveler do actual care as soon as possible (despite well meaning executive suite orientation initiatives) for happiest travelers and best productivity for the hospital.

One of the things most frustrating to me is you might be given a stack of policies and procedures to read and pay attention to them. Then you shadow 3 staff nurses that all have their own take on correct charting and implementing policy ("this is how I was taught") - some of which clearly goes against best practices, and you are left with a choice of four ways to practice (well five if you include your own experience), only one of which agrees with the written policy. It is difficult to chart the best practice going forward that also results in least legal liability, or trouble with managers without pointing fingers on who told you what. Just venting here as it is almost impossible to get everyone on the same page.