Onboarding Survey Results

Nursing students taking notes for nursing exams

During a recent research project that centered in onboarding of new faculty, respondents of the open ended questions stated when asked how to improve the onboarding and orientation experience, the participants identified three major themes: providing a mentor, having a structured program, and having policies and procedures to follow. The respondents felt that by adding a self-assessment component to the onboarding and orientation program it could help direct professional development activities.

Based on this data gathered from the research, a structured onboarding and orientation program that includes a mentor, self-assessment tools of required competencies that could be used for professional growth and having policies and procedures to follow would improve the onboarding and orientation program.  An additional recommendation is to use mentors during the first year as part of the onboarding and orientation program.

Having a mentor, doing a self-assessment, and having policies and procedures were brought forward as being important.  This information can provide a structure for onboarding and orientation processes.

There were five recommendations from the research.

  1. The onboarding and orientation programs should be at least one year in length.
    This length of time would allow a through onboarding and orientation program to be presented, new nurse educators to do a self-assessment for professional growth, and self-growth to be measured.
  2. There needs to be a self-assessment tool of nurse educator competencies to assist new nurse educators to identify professional growth needs. 
    In the introductory part of the orientation program, new nurse educators should complete the self-assessment and develop a plan for mastery of competencies in collaboration with the onboarding and orientation mentor.  With the mentor’s collaboration, new nurse educators can execute this plan and then measure if it has been successful to improve nursing education strategies.
  3. The contents of the onboarding and orientation program should include concepts related to the themes developed secondary to the ranking of the importance of the competencies. 
    The program should focus on the competencies in a sequence based on the ranking of the competencies’ importance.  This would allow nurse educators to focus self-growth on the most important competencies first.  The sequence of the program concepts should emphasize the personal traits needed to facilitate students successfully are first.  The second concepts must focus on methods of facilitation and communication with students, and then instructional strategies for classroom and online facilitation methods should be presented.  The fourth group of concepts to be presented centers on program evaluation and modification, and lastly the competencies that focus on curriculum and program development could be included.  The final competencies could even be introduced during the second or third year of teaching. 
  4. The program should include clear orientation of the policies and procedures of the institute in which new nurse educators work. 
    Although this is often included or faculty is directed to review the policies and procedures, the participants felt there needed to be a formal process for this.  Therefore, the nurse educator competencies should be matched with the program’s policies and procedures.  This association would help ensure new nurse educators understand the policies and procedures in relation to the competencies that must be performed.
  5. The program should include a mentor component. 
    Specht (2013) concluded the use of mentoring is an essential strategy to ease the transition of novice nursing faculty into their new roles as nurse educators.  Specht (2013) continued to say in her study this mentoring resulted in a decreased level of role conflict and role ambiguity.  In support of recent studies, this mentoring should include developing reciprocal relationships that foster open communication.  Formal and deliberate planned activities over time enhance the development of novice faculty (Wilson, Brannan & White, 2010).