Have you ever hired nursing assistants and, after HR paperwork and a quick tour of your facility or agency, sent them off to a full day’s work? Does orientation seem like a waste of time with CNAs? After all, many of them don’t stick around long, so why bother? Well, here’s a tale from my past that spells out the problem with that theory:
When I started my first job as a new nursing graduate, it was on a busy hematology/oncology unit at a big teaching hospital. I was green, intimidated and in need of a good orientation. Did I receive it? Nope…instead I was thrown into a full patient assignment. (There was a preceptor assigned to me, but she was busy with her own caseload.) When I expressed my concerns to my preceptor, she said to me, “Look, we know an orientation would be nice. But, you’re a warm body to fill a spot on this shift. Just do the best you can because none of us have time to help you.”
What happened? Well, thankfully, I avoided causing any harm to my patients! But, my stress level went sky high; I felt alienated from my co-workers; and I spent my days off worrying about work. Before long, I developed strep throat and walking pneumonia. After a month, I transferred to another oncology unit where the staff was willing to orient me.
So, guess what? Once again, the heme/onc unit was short staffed! Their neglect of my learning needs was shortsighted and cost them another “warm body”. And, as time went on, I found out that the cycle continued; very few nurses wanted to work on that unit. Their attitude about orientation harmed everyone: the supervisor, the staff and the patients!
It’s the same with nursing assistants. If they are not oriented properly to their role within your workplace, they are likely to become stressed, overwhelmed and anxious to move on to another job. This vicious cycle is part of why CNA turnover is so high across the United States.
There is good news. Studies have shown that, on average, when an organization institutes a high quality orientation, their turnover rate decreases by 50% within two years! That’s one reason why we developed a complete CNA Orientation Program entitled, “Getting Off to a Good Start”. We wanted to help you with your aide retention rates AND provide the tools and support that nursing assistants need when they begin a new job.
“Getting Off to a Good Start” includes information on professionalism, communication, teamwork, patient rights, infection control, time management, stress management, personal wellness, customer service, cultural diversity, quality improvement, documentation and LOTS of practical client care tips. And, the program gives the learner SIX hours of inservice credit…right off the bat!
If you want more information on our CNA Orientation Program, please feel free to give us a call at 877-809-5515. We’re happy to answer any questions you have and/or email you a preview of the program.
Linda Leekley BS, RN