1. Luckowski, Amy MSN, RN, CCRN

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As a new staff development instructor, I found it challenging to keep track of new orientees, especially new graduate nurses. It was difficult to remember what types of patients and experiences each new nurse had. Feedback from the preceptor for the orientee was often not heard by the orientee. Communication occurred separately: The preceptor would talk with me separately from the orientee and give me feedback about the orientee's progress and the orientee would not be part of the conversation. The orientees would also tell me how they thought they were doing in a separate conversation. All of these factors made judging whether the orientee had enough orientation and was competent to perform his or her duties a hit or miss situation.


I developed progress meetings as a more efficient way to track orientee's progress and facilitate communication between all parties involved. At the end of each week, I plan a meeting in the orientee's unit in the mid to late afternoon. I found that after lunch I can be available and the orientees have completed a good portion of patient care and can talk for a few minutes. I meet with the orientee, preceptor, and nurse manager in a quiet room or desk not far from the unit and patients. If the manager cannot attend I will forward a copy of the evaluation form. The evaluation form is shared with the orientee in orientation class. Either I ask a question and fill it out or the orientees fill out the form ahead of the meeting. The first part of the form asks for a list of types of patients, new procedures done by the orientee, tubes, IVs, medications, problems, and new learning experiences to get a general overview of what the orientee has experienced in the past week. We also discuss and document strengths and those areas that the orientee is working to improve. This allows for immediate positive feedback and discussions on strategies for improvement of performance. We can identify problems early and start working on them. Often the preceptor, staff development educator, and manager can offer suggestions on common problems encountered by a new nurse such as time management techniques and report giving skills. We also document performance goals for the following week. The preceptor reviews what types of patients and experiences are still needed so that the preceptor can plan future assignments.


Progress meetings facilitate open communication. Everyone involved knows the orientee's progress. The orientee has a good sense of his or her own progress during the entire orientation and feels the supports from all team members. If more orientation is required, this tool gives concrete evidence to present to management. Although it can be difficult to schedule progress meetings, the outcome is worth the effort. One of the recent graduate nurses stated: "Progress meetings were helpful in allowing me an opportunity to review types of patients I had and types of nursing interventions done." Another stated, "I appreciated having scheduled time each week to find out how I was doing and felt very supported."