Get the Most Out of Your New Job Orientation


If you are a new grad getting ready to walk into your first day on your first job in respiratory care you know the new employee orientation is important to your career.

But even if you are a seasoned veteran of the field who has just changed jobs, making the most of the new job orientation is in your best interests. Dana Evans, MHA, RRT, RRT-NPS, respiratory care director at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, explains how the process works at her hospital and why new employees need to be fully engaged in it.

Not one size fits all

“Our orientation process for experienced RTs is approximately 12 weeks in duration,” Evans said. “This includes training to our NICU, PICU, CCU, and acute care areas.”

New employees also undergo lab-style training on the equipment used in the facility.

Since some of the equipment used at Lurie is not commonly used at other hospitals — the hospital employs modalities such as the VDR, Jet, Biphasic Cuirass Ventilation, and NAVA — the training is essential to ensure new therapists have the skills they need to deliver care. In each case, they try to match the training to the employee, so the length of the training may vary somewhat.

“Lab education depends on their previous experience and comfort level,” she said. “This is one reason why customizing orientation is so important. Experience varies.”

New grads go through an 18-month residency program that starts with 80+ hours of classroom, lab, and simulation training over a five-month period, along with clinical orientation in the NICU, PICU, CCU, and acute care areas. Only then do new grads begin staffing independently.

“The remaining 12 months of the residency is dedicated to an evidence-based practice project,” Evans said. “Residents are taught how to interpret and conduct quality improvement work.” New grads are assigned to a team, and together they select a subject to address, develop a PICO question, and carry out the project. “This may be a literature review, staff survey, or practice change,” she said.

Good advice

Evans says orientation is essential for new grads, but it also helps experienced RTs feel comfortable in their new department and gives them an opportunity to develop relationships with fellow staff members, including RNs and MDs.

She has this advice for new employees embarking on their new employee orientations —

  • This is your time to learn and grow. It is okay to ask questions! Undoubtedly, there will be something new, or procedures that are done slightly differently than you have experienced before. 
  • Be patient with yourself. No one expects you to be 100% immediately. This is particularly true if you are moving into an area of respiratory care you haven’t worked in before, such as moving from adults to pediatrics, transitioning to PFT, etc.

Take full advantage

So, if 2021 finds you in a new job with a new employee orientation ahead of you, make the most of the opportunity to learn more about your new department and the policies and procedures that will help you succeed.

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