The methods used by nurses to learn technical or complex responsibilities affect their effectiveness and subsequently, the quality of care and services received by patients and families. This underscores the importance of conducting nursing management orientation in a manner that promises effective management. It is evident that the modern-day nursing has evolved into a complex field that is tied to a myriad of factors such as technology. On the other hand, nursing standards and principles are ever-evolving, creating the need for exposure to these changes for new nurse managers. Equally the scope of practice for nurse managers is evolving and as such an orientation program should cater for all these aspects.
The nurse managers play a critical role in the success of a care facility. Nurse Managers ensure that all nursing roles are undertaken in line with the organizational and national nursing standards and guidelines and ensure that nurses uses the resources allocated to them in the most economical manner (Sellgren et al., 2006). However, without proper nurturing of nurse managers, this can be hugely compromised.
The Nurse Managers act as a vital liaison between the administration and nursing practice and as such since nursing is a vital component of care; it is important to ensure that a nurse management orientation is sound and effective. Nurse Managers hugely affect the landscape of nursing within an institution. From the virtue of being nursing leaders, they can influence nurses and the administration as well, as a way of ensuring that there exists a healthy interplay between nurses and the administration. From a financial perspective, these managers may influence how resources within the nursing domain are utilized. It is the core to any organization’s ambitions to maximize utility with minimal resources (McGuire & Kennerly, 2006). Although nurse management orientation may be an expensive endeavor, it secures the financial future of the organization, its image and subsequently the quality of care provided by the organization.
An orientation program begins with identifying the needs of the target population. As such, to ascertain that whatever the management has in mind about the orientation program is in line with the needs of the new nurse managers, focus groups were set out for three consecutive days with the administrators and other key stakeholders to pin down the pertinent points of reference that will be the focus of the program. The following questions were used to guide the focus groups;
- What is the information you think would be most helpful to you as you begin working in this institution and the community in general?
- What conditions do you perceive as critical in helping you cope with the demands of service within this institution especially now that you are beginning?
- What are you strengths and weaknesses as a Nurse Managers from a personal perspective?
- Considering that we offer on-going support for our workforce, what do you think the institution would provide for you to make you an effective Nurse Manager?
- Now that you are aware of the orientation program, what logistical information do you think would facilitate an effective program for all new Nurse Managers?
- Hospital managers
- Incoming Nursing Managers
- Human resource managers
- Serving Nurse Managers
- Visual aids
- Questionnaires and interview sheets
Time is a very important concern bearing in mind that the incoming nurse managers and facilitators are also serving clinical personnel. Therefore, the orientation program should be realistically short to ensure that during the basic activities of the institution and care process is not compromised. Therefore, five days is within the realistic range since in five days the orientation program can go to completion without necessarily compromising care.
Desirable cultural values within the healthcare environment are derived from the mission and vision of the organization. Nurse Managers’ scope of practice focuses on key issues in administration, leadership, and practice. The Nurse Managers need to be informed about the role they will have to pay in accordance with the organizational mission and vision including their much-needed input in the organization’s strategic plan. The following key elements will be discussed within the orientation program in line with the organizational culture;
- Extraordinary service
- World class quality care and service
- Unreasonable results or outcomes
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Making a difference to the community
- Certainty into the future
Key orientation areas
- Scope of practice
This area will cater for the incoming Nurse Managers’ responsibilities and roles that are characteristic to their new fields. These will cover the managerial and clinical responsibilities.
- Core skills and competencies
On the other hand, competencies and skills for Nursing Managers are pretty different from the nurses’ and as such, the orientation plan should expose the incoming Nurse Managers to the new skills and competencies that they should possess (Kleinman, 2003).
- Safety management skills
Safety concerns are becoming an important aspect of nursing care. Failure to observe safety standards may expose the organization to a myriad of risks, ranging from legal to financial. Therefore, the plan should incorporate the inculcation of safety and risk management skills.
- Nursing standards and principles
Nursing as a field is ever-evolving and as new technologies and complexities are arising there is the need to revise nursing standards and principles. On the hand, considering that nurse managers influence nursing practice and supervise their fellow juniors, it is important that the orientation program exposes new Nurse Managers to the emerging nursing standards and principles.
- Unstated job requirements
This caters for aspects such welfare of workers, staffing techniques and how they can be involved in these aspects. Although it is not core to their practice, it is important to expose new Nurse Managers to these aspects.
- Assignment of mentors and shadows
Learning in nursing is an enduring journey. Furthermore, the nursing orientation program is not a practical but a rather a theoretical approach. To ensure that the skills acquired during the orientation plan are achieved, it is important to support the orientation program with a mentorship plan that allows post-orientation consultations and clarifications when something is unclear (Smith et al., 2001).
During the five-day plan, regular evaluation of skills and competencies acquired will be done as a way of exhibiting where knowledge disparities of deficits exist within the program. This ensures that weaknesses are addressed early enough so as to avoid unnecessary wastage of time due to extensions.
Once the program has been completed successfully, and the evaluation conducted, the post-program period forms a critical component of the whole orientation. In this case, the post –program preparations act as the milestones for the organization and the new nurse managers. As such, a small party to make the completion would cap the success of the program. This would then be followed up by a physical orientation to the workplace settings. The office designed for the new nurse managers should be cleaned in advance and the tables and chairs, stationery and calendars well set.
Kleinman, C. S. (2003). Leadership roles, competencies, and education: How prepared are our nurse managers?. Journal of Nursing Administration, 33(9), 451-455.
McGuire, E., & Kennerly, S. M. (2006). Nurse managers as transformational and transactional leaders. Nursing Economics, 24(4), 179.
Sellgren, S., Ekvall, G., & Tomson, G. (2006). Leadership styles in nursing management: preferred and perceived. Journal of Nursing Management, 14(5), 348-355.
Smith, L. S., McAllister, L. E., & Crawford, C. S. (2001). Mentoring benefits and issues for public health nurses. Public Health Nursing, 18(2), 101-107.