Why Getting Off Orientation Isn't a Race

Melissa Mills
July 5, 2022
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You just started as a CNA. Five other new grads began at the same time. You silently sat in the classroom the first day and wondered which one would get out of orientation first. And, you hoped it was you! 

Stop right there! Getting out of orientation shouldn’t be a race. Completing a thorough orientation program is the difference between confidence and feeling stressed on the job and safety or disaster during resident care. And, not being thoroughly trained can lead to feeling like you want to quit the job you were so excited about getting. 

So, let’s talk about why orientation is so important.

Benefits of a Thorough Orientation

Orientation isn’t just a way to check off the boxes so your name appears on the schedule. It’s a program for you to expand your knowledge and practice your skills. A good orientation program should:

Reduce anxiety. Once you finish orientation, you should know what to expect on your shift. This keeps your anxiety levels in check and your ability to do the job well on the right track. 

Help the entire team. If you’re trained well, you’ll need little help and won’t have a ton of questions once you’re out of your own, which keeps you and the whole team productive. 

Increase job satisfaction and retention. It’s true! Being trained well will help you love your job and want to keep it! In fact, a good orientation program increases the chance you’ll stay at the job for more than three years by 70%.

What to Expect During Orientation

You might be wondering what a good orientation program looks like and what you should expect to learn. 

Spending time doing actual CNA work. They'll match you with another CNA who will train you. You'll work alongside them right away, and they'll give you more tasks to do independently as they feel you're ready. Some of the things you'll be checked off on include:

  • Personal care activities (bathing, dressing, assisting with meals)
  • Transfers, lifts, and other movement activities
  • Infection control processes
  • Measuring and recording intake and output
  • Learning resident schedules and routines
  • Learning about the facility and your team
  • Charting expectations

Learning how to support residents’ rights. You must remember that the nursing facility is where you work, but is home to those you care for daily. They have rights and should be involved in their care and given choices as much as possible. Orientation gives you a chance to watch how other workers do this efficiently.

Observing and putting care tips and tricks into practice. The CNA trainer has probably been at the facility for quite some time and knows how to give care quickly yet effectively. They can show you tips that save you time and keep you safe. 

Take Your Time

We know you might feel ready and want to get that on-the-job experience as soon as possible. But you must spend time learning the ropes in orientation to be confident, competent, and safe when providing hands-on care.

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