1.3 Plan an effective orientation

mod4-documentsOrienting a student to a new placement involves both practical and relational tasks. Many students in the research conducted for this project identified how helpful a thorough orientation to the placement setting was, in terms of making them feel more comfortable in their new environment, and easing the transition into a new experience. [1] One common way of ensuring that none of the key areas are missed is to create a checklist before the student arrives.

Students need to know:

  • The physical layout of the placement
  • Where you work and how to find you
  • Who to go to if you aren’t available
  • Their workspace, including computer and telephone access
  • The location of any equipment they will be using
  • The names and positions of staff they will be working with
  • Dress code
  • Where and when to eat and take breaks
  • Location of bathrooms
  • Where to store their things
  • The chain of command at the unit/agency
  • Daily schedule, including when they are expected to arrive and leave for the day
  • The general culture of the agency (i.e. how formal an environment is your unit; political mandate, if appropriate; your colleagues’ roles; previous students’ roles) [2]

Click here to open a printer-friendly version of the above checklist for student orientation.

[1] McCarty, M., & Higgins, A. (2003). Moving to an all graduate profession: preparing preceptors for their role. Nurse Education Today, 23, 89-95. doi:10.1016/S0260-6917(02)00187-9
[2] MAHEC Office of Regional Primary Care Education. Setting Expectations: An Educational Monograph for Community-Based Teachers. 1-25. Available online: https://portal.utpa.edu/portal/page/portal/utpa_main/daa_home/hshs_home/pasp_home/pasp_preceptors/preceptors_files/Setting%20Expectations.pdf