“How can we help student nurses get the most from their short rotation through our intensive care unit [ICU]?” This question came up during a brainstorming session with my instructor, Diane Benson, RN, EdD, while we were discussing ideas for my senior project. We had been talking about the absence of a formal orientation for new students as well as the lack of useful written materials available during their ICU rotation.

Our ICU at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka, Calif, is the clinical rotation site for 2 schools: Humboldt State University and the College of the Redwoods. The students’ brief rotation through our unit ranges from a couple of days to 3 weeks. When the students arrive, they are usually unsure of themselves, unsure of procedures, and unsure of machines and terminology. If they need information, they have to...

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