Nursing at CHKD

New Graduate Nurse Orientation

Alysia Woods, RN, says she appreciated the 16 weeks of orientation for her job in the NICU.

Alysia Woods graduated from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in the spring of 2004 and started work in CHKD's NICU that September. "My orientation lasted 16 weeks, and it did a good job preparing me. I've talked to some of my friends from school who had much shorter orientations at other hospitals, and it's much harder for them. At CHKD, you feel comfortable because there's an atmosphere of teamwork."

Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters Health System believes in the value of its employees. Every effort is made to provide our nurses with the tools and resources necessary for success. An important first step in the process is orientation. CHKD's comprehensive new graduate nursing orientation is a 10-16 week program that provides nurses with the classroom and clinical experiences needed to get them started on a successful career in pediatric nursing.

Classes during the first week of orientation provide general employment information and cover the health system's philosophy and policies, role expectation and special services. Pediatric concepts are highlighted and core clinical skills are reviewed. Topics addressed during that first week include:

  • CHKD services and resources
  • Pediatric clinical concepts and skills
  • Policy highlights
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Networking opportunities

The following weeks will immerse the new graduate nurse in their specific department. Information covered include patient population and patient care routines, department environment and unit specific policies. Dedicated staff nurse preceptors will also provide supervised clinical experiences and bedside instruction, all overseen by unit based education coordinators and/or mastered prepared nurse specialists. The length of this preceptored clinical component varies with each department, and with the previous experience of the new graduate nurse.

Additional orientation programs are included depending on the department and role. These programs include classroom sessions, computer assisted modules and self-learning activities. Some of examples include:

  • Computer training (hospital information systems)
  • Life support training, including CPR, pre-arrest Decisions course, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, and Neonatal Resuscitation Program

Additional clinical programs are provided as appropriate for each department and may include:

  • Building Excellence in Pediatric Nursing Care
  • Central Venous Line Management
  • Parent CPR & Safety Awareness
  • Burn Care Course
  • NICU Progress programs
  • PICU Critical Care classes
  • Emergency Department Internship
  • Operating Room Internship

Once orientation is complete, each new nurse is assigned a mentor for a period of one year to provide further support and role modeling. Both preceptors and mentors are hand-picked, specially trained staff nurses.