Utilization of Experiential Learning, and the Learning Outcomes Model Reduces RN Orientation Time by More Than 35%


      • Improving RN orientation requires adaptations in the individual, experiences, and environment.
      • Implementation of an experiential learning–based program can reduce RN orientation by 3.6 to 3.9 weeks.
      • RN orientation programs can provide a return on investment for simulation centers and health care systems.



      Nursing orientation and transition to practice is a growing problem for hospitals. Experiential learning including simulation provides an opportunity to improve the transition to practice.


      An experiential learning approach following the Learning Outcomes Model, including simulation and standardized patients, was utilized to increase RN competency in a shorter period of time. The program was piloted at a large independent academic medical center.


      A total of 153 RNs participated in the revised orientation during the pilot year. New graduate and experienced RNs had a 3.6- (34%) and 3.9-week reduction (37%) in orientation length respectively (p < 0.001). Total estimated gross savings for the 12-month period was $702,270.


      The successful design of the orientation required changes in all three areas of the Learning Outcomes Model—the individual, experiences, and environment. Integrating experiential learning theory through the use of simulation-enhanced RN orientation resulted in more prepared RNs, improved communication among administrators, staff, and orientees, and a significant cost savings to the organization. Implementation of such programs may help centers to demonstrate similar outcomes (e.g., as returns on investment, increased buy-in, and obtaining resources).


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