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GME Best Practices: Surgery resident/RN orientation

In order to improve collaborative care, during the Surgery Residency orientation boot camp, the program dedicates a whole afternoon to nurse/physician collaboration. This begins with a RN/MD lunch, where all nursing staff from the surgical units are invited to a lunch mixer. This is a great way for introductions and to meet the new residents who will be joining their team/floor on July 1.

Following lunch, each resident is teamed up with a nurse, care coordinator or social worker on their new service. The residents spend the afternoon experiencing what it’s like to function in that person’s role. Those providers help the resident navigate the service, show them where to get supplies, introduce them to other staff on service, all while making a friendly connection with a new colleague. Another great benefit of the afternoon is that the resident gets to see how busy these colleagues are, and all the different directions they might be pulled in during the course of the day. This allows the resident to understand why their page might not be returned immediately.

Following the afternoon session, the program holds a debrief for residents to talk about their experience and the importance of collaborative care.

Possible talking points for afternoon session:

  • Hand hygiene
  • I-bed use to prevent falls
  • IV pumps – review with RN
  • Labeling specimens in room and where labels are kept
  • Where supplies are kept
  • Discharge process and discharge by noon challenge
  • Who to talk to when there are nursing care concerns on a patient and how to find those people
  • Occurrence reports – how and why to enter them
  • Needing to call the nurse any time stat orders are put in for a patient and why
  • Department of Surgery call progression and paging etiquette
  • Pre-procedure process
  • Surgical checklist – review one including pregnancy screening policy
  • How to find which nurse has which patient and their Ascom number
  • RN/MD rounds – each time with each patient
  • Providing an introduction to the unit PCA and asking about their role
  • Providing an introduction to the unit PCS and asking about their role
  • Providing an introduction to a care coordinator or social worker, if not already shadowing one, and asking about their role
  • Available resources: their role, how and when you consult them:
    • Acute pain/chronic pain
    • WOCN
    • Palliative care
    • Physical therapy/occupational therapy
    • Nutrition
    • Pharmacy

With questions on this program, email Lureye Myers at

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