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New OR Employees - Don't Leave Them in the Dark!

New OR Employees

Think about where you work for a second...

  • Where's the timeclock?

  • How do you get to the cafeteria?

  • What number do you call if you're sick?

  • What's the number for the OR desk or the OR Coordinator?

  • What's the process for leaving at the end of the day?

When you've worked at one facility for a long time, some things, like the ones I just listed, are just so commonplace and normal, that you can't even remember a time when you didn't know them.

But what about the new person in your department? Do they know?

All of these questions were at the front of my mind last week as I started a new PRN position in an operating room. Things that I took for granted at my other facility were now unknowns to me. I honestly felt like I was groping around in the dark trying to find out basic information, but it shouldn't be that way! Our new employees deserve to be given critical pieces of information so that they can function and succeed, without having to worry about finding the timeclock or whether or not they have a locker for their belongings.

Day 1 of orientation to a new department must include critical pieces of information so that our employees can focus on learning how our department works, what procedures we do, getting to know our staff, and just generally adjusting to a new place. Don't add to the anxiety by not communicating simple things with them.

Here are a few reminders:

  1. The tour you gave the new employee with they interviewed is long forgotten. There's a good chance they interviewed at other facilities during the time they came to yours, so don't assume they remember where anything is. Because chances are, they don't. Give them a tour and show them where everything is in the department.

  2. Everyone wants to get paid, and finding the timeclock shouldn't be like playing Hide and Seek. I suggest that you walk with your new employee from where they park their car directly to the timeclock. This way, they can have a clear mental path of where they need to go when they arrive for their shift.

  3. After you get to the timeclock, walk to the locker room. This is the path that they will take every time they arrive at work, so take the time to ensure that they know where they're going. Sure, you know the building isn't that confusing, but to a new employee, every beige wall looks the same, and it's easy to get turned around. Take the anxiety away by showing them where to go.

  4. How does your facility handle lunches and breaks? What about expectations before leaving at the end of the day? Go ahead and explain this information up front so that your new employee knows what's expected of them.

  5. Have a handout ready with important phone numbers and email addresses. What number do they call if they're sick? What's the number to the OR desk? How can they get in touch with leadership if they have a questions?

All of this is really simple stuff, and it doesn't take a whole lot of time. But it will make a HUGE difference in your new employee's experience. There are going to be plenty of anxiety-filled days as our new employees learn our procedures, get to know our doctors, and figure our their new routines. Don't add to that anxiety and uncertainty by not communicating basic things. Make it a point to communicate the simple things with them, and help set them up for success in your department.

Until next time,


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