Hospital orientation isn’t just for new grads. Whether you’ve moved to a entirely new hospital or moved to a new unit/floor, you need to know the lay of the land. Now if they could, most nurses would prefer to skip orientation all together and just miraculously know where everything is and how the unit flows. But we all know that’s not the case, so here are four things that you can do to help get yourself your next orientation process.
Expect the Mundane, but Necessary
HIPAA compliance, fire safety, the color of codes — can all seem obvious until you need them. When you start working at a new hospital, there can be a lot of redundancy in the training. Even in times of short staffing, some hospitals may require you to watch training videos and take tests on fire safety just like new employees do. Instead of tuning out during the lectures, make a game out of trying to figure out how this hospital or unit is different than what you’re used to.
Remember to be Flexible
Nurses are creatures of habit; this is how you save lives. Unfortunately, when working in a new location, your habits and styles of working may need to change to match the new location. This can create some friction between you and the other nurses. It can be difficult, but try to resist the urge to make statements that reflect what you did in other locations. It may insinuate that your old way was better. Just remember: doing things differently, is just that – different! Different doesn’t mean wrong.
Be the Genuine You
The first few days of meeting people can be awkward, and in your efforts to make a good first impression, it can be easy to overdo it by being too sweet or too polite. The more that you act like the real you, the easier it is for people to get to know who you are. If you aren’t sure about something, just ask. A quick explanation of “this is how I’m used to doing a task, is this right?” will show others that you are willing to be trained in the right way.
Create the Right Kind of Boundaries
The word “no” is one of the hardest words for nurses to use. We all want to appear as good team players and help each other out — and we should do it as much as we can while we are at work. But that is where the boundary has to be drawn. There are times when you are available to work and there are times you are not. Sometimes, as nurses, we need a fresh start (or place) to practice flexibility and create the opportunity for defining and setting the right boundaries for yourself. Communicating clearly to your new colleagues and charge nurses, will set yourself up for success. Orientating to a new place, doesn’t have to be viewed as just a necessity. Remember, that change brings new opportunities!
Johanna Galyen is a Registered Nurse, blogger, mother of 4 (including two teenagers who are taller than her!), and an avid cruiser of the Caribbean. She’s worked in Telemedicine and the Emergency Room. Her favorite nursing work is with Operation Renewed Hope, an international charitable mission bringing healthcare to rural areas. She’s been to India, Chile, and Albania.