Everybody graduates hoping to find a job soon afterwards. Some can get hospital jobs, but many others can’t or prefer not to. Ever wonder what orientation would be like at a nursing home? I’ll share my experience here.
I got my first job as an RN at a long-term care facility. They actually had a variety of types of patients. One unit had more care-intensive patients with long-term ventilators, g-tubes, and permanent tracheostomies. These patients were extremely immobile and often have infections and wounds.
Another unit had post-acute care patients: they would come to the facility after having knee, hip, or other joint replacements.
Lastly, there was the “typical” long-term care unit: residents who were living at the facility, most in need of assistance with ADLs, who took mostly PO medications.
I was hired for the night shift (with some PMs), floating amongst the units.
They wanted me to have PM experience, since it is busier and more complex. I did 4 days on the floor on PMs, and an additional 4 on nights.
It was ten days long. The first two days were classroom orientation/computer training, so a total of 8 days on the floor.
For some reason, they did everyone’s orientation in consecutive days. I was in the building 10 days in a row. It was difficult. I suspected they might do it to “weed” people out.
I worked with 6 different preceptors. Yes, they were assigned, but it was a sort of informal assignment. One day, I worked with a different preceptor because he was getting an admission and we thought it would be good experience for me.
I enjoyed working with all my preceptors. They each taught me different
things and had their strengths and weaknesses. None of them were unhappy
to have me orienting with them. Since there are only 7-8 nurses working in
the building at any given time, I got to know almost half the nursing staff just
from working with preceptors.
Working on my own, they were a constant support. I had many questions I had to ask them while working, and I have a good relationship with all of them. I would not have been able to work effectively at all without them continually sharing their knowledge with me.
I think I was adequately prepared to take care of my patients after
my orientation. The nurses on the unit were good teachers by example.
I would have liked to learn more about the administrative side of nursing. I
was still new to taking doctor’s orders, relaying lab results, working with the
charts, etc. These things took more time for me to learn, especially since they are specific to each unit. (Working the printer, fax machine, finding documents).
And that’s my impression of my first ever nurse orientation! It was not a painful experience. Actually starting out on my own though, was tough. You can read about how late I had to stay at work once in my next blog post!