An effective orientation ensures that new nurses are prepared to deliver competent care to patients. In organizations with several critical care units, opportunities exist to achieve standardization of core content applicable to all critical care areas.


This quality improvement project, conducted in a large children’s hospital with multiple critical care units, was designed to centralize critical care orientation and standardize its content, as well as to measure learning outcomes of the revised program.


Before initiation of this project, a 2-day critical care orientation class was held regularly for newly hired critical care nurses. Nurses attended this class at different time points in their orientation. Critical care units also held unit-based orientation classes. Nursing professional development specialists and representatives from each critical care unit collaborated to redesign the 2-day critical care orientation class in order to standardize content taught across the organization, increase attendance at the class, and reduce redundancy of topics covered in unit-based classes.


The redesigned program included online modules followed by 4-hour sessions that built on the knowledge gained in the modules. The sessions used multiple learner engagement strategies. Learning outcomes were evaluated using pretests and posttests.


Between June 2017 and March 2018, a total of 150 nurses completed the redesigned program. Median posttest scores increased significantly from median pretest scores for each critical care orientation session.


The program achieved the goal of standardizing education and increasing critical care nurses’ knowledge.

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