3. High quality induction on all units
To help ensure delivery of excellent standards of patient care, it is important that doctors have practical knowledge of their new location and work setting. Induction is a fundamental prerequisite for this. Induction is multifaceted and includes expounding statutory regulations, imparting essential safety information, occupational health input and orientation to the clinical environment. It is also an important way to ensure that new starters feel valued as a member of the organisation from the beginning.
It is very important that the newly arrived doctor gets a comprehensive introduction to the clinical environment they will be working in. This vital component should not be overshadowed by the need to impart large quantities of corporate information, such as fire evacuation procedures or human resources protocols. While this is important, clinical effectiveness and patient safety rely on familiarity with the clinical environment. Delivering corporate induction need not be resource intensive, for example it could be delivered by electronically and in streamlined ways. This can free more time for face-to-face clinical orientation. Induction activities will normally be undertaken within work hours during the first week of employment. Where the employer, in the interests of the service or the quality of the training, requires the employee to undertake specified induction activities before taking up post, then the time spent on these activities should qualify for some form of recompense; either time off in lieu or payment. Employers should agree local policies to clarify the level of recompense9. Innovative programmes exist that use technology to customise induction, to avoid unnecessary repetition of components previously covered elsewhere.
The clinical induction should be individually tailored to the new doctor’s needs and experience. It should focus on providing them with the practical information that they need to care for their patients safely and effectively. This should include:
an introduction to all relevant staff, with a description of their roles
familiarisation with the layout of the hospital and relevant clinical areas
discussion of the local unit protocols and how to access them
demonstration of how to operate any unfamiliar equipment
an explanation of how to order investigations and prescribe pharmaceuticals.