The learner, with your assistance, will assume responsibility for orientation to the agency and unit consistent with the amount of orientation that any new staff member would need.
Health Authorities expect learners to complete part or all of their orientation program in advance of the experience. The learner will be informed by BCIT about the agency expectations for orientation.
It does not matter what shift the learner starts on. The learner starts on a specified day on whatever shift you are working. Each learner has been informed that it is her/his responsibility to contact you well in advance to obtain the shift rotation and to prepare for the experience.
You will have to feel this one out – it will vary from learner to learner, from unit to unit and from day to day.
Ask the learner how much responsibility they feel ready to handle.
Ask the learner to summarize the level of work they managed in their previous clinical placements. Generally the learners begin with one buddy shift, and then take on one or two clients/patients in the first set of shifts.
BCIT carries liability insurance that covers the actions of learners who makes an error in the course of learning experiences. Of course, if you direct the learner to do something that is incorrect and a liability results from the action, you will be liable for your actions in directing the learner incorrectly.
Identify any expected times when you will be away from work. We appreciate you taking the responsibility to find an appropriate replacement.
If the learner is ill, or must be absent for some other valid reason, they should notify you and the unit in advance, as well as the BCIT instructor. These absences will be recorded by the BCIT instructor.
If you are ill, the learner should work with an experienced RN for that day if one is available and willing. If an appropriate replacement is not possible, the learner should not report for work, or stay on the unit if already there. If you are off for an extended period of time, then a replacement needs to be found.
If a unique learning experience arises and your workload permits, encourage the learner to take advantage of it (e.g. if a special test or procedure is being performed on another nurse’s patient or an in-service is being offered). However, do not be afraid to deny permission. In many instances it is more valuable for the learner to focus on the current nursing assignment than to be stimulated by something new.
Remember, the learner’s primary objectives are to experience the reality of nursing practice and polish their professional nursing knowledge, skills, attitudes, and judgments. Ask yourself if the learning experience achieves any of these primary objectives.
If the situation has been created because of a heavy workload, learners should stay with you until the work is completed. No overtime hours can be claimed.
If you volunteer to work overtime or to do extra shifts, the learner is not required to work these. However, extra shifts may be an opportunity for the learner to make up for absences.
If you change or trade shifts to get a particular day off, the learner should be allowed to decide whether to continue on your regular schedule and work with another nurse or to change with you. Changing shifts with you is preferred. In either case, the learner should work the same number of shifts.
We have also noticed that if the learner works with too many different nurses, evaluation of practice and progress may be inconsistent.
Learners in preceptorship may take verbal orders, including phone orders if an RN hears them and co-signs the orders on the doctor’s order sheet.
If the learner makes an error, agency policy must be followed. This learner is also required to complete a BCIT Safety Event Reporting form. The learner is required to inform the instructor of the error within 24 hours of occurrence.
BCIT learner may not be responsible for narcotic control. Learners are to follow BCIT and agency guidelines regarding medication, narcotics, and controlled drugs.
Learners may perform focus of practice specialty nursing skills if the:
- BCIT instructor, preceptor, and agency agrees.
- Learner participates in the related agency in-service program or approved alternative.
- Learner is supervised directly by the assigned preceptor or BCIT instructor until the learner is considered safe by the BCIT instructor to practice the skill independently.