Part 2: The Placement

Activity 2.4: Student Orientation

In this activity you will first watch a video clip about student orientation. There is a reading on the importance of orientation and a sample checklist. The activity ends with a discussion.

Video Clip: Student Orientation

Reading for Reflection:


(adapted from Gaiptman and Anthony, 1993)

The first day of any new placement or job is usually a fairly stressful time. Students feel vulnerable and concerned about the expectations of the clinical placement. The orientation process is meant to give them the information needed to begin work feeling comfortable in their environment.

Once you decide what information you want to give students, remember to clearly explain your expectations. For example, will the student be working on specific aspects of treatment or taking on major responsibilities for clients?

Link the quantity and complexity of the information you give to the student’s level of experience. For example, a first-year trainee may be overwhelmed by a complicated explanation of the organization chart, whereas a more advanced student may be comfortable with that information.

The dilemma is how to orient students quickly, while at the same time making certain they remember the information you are providing. Here are a few suggestions.

Amount of information

The student could feel overwhelmed if you present too much information. It is difficult for the student to choose which information is most relevant. As the supervisor, you can sort through that information and decide which parts are vital, especially during the first week of placement. For example, it is essential to know the department schedule. Advise students of the source and location of the information they need. This enables self-directed students to go find information on their own.

Student involvement

After presenting the information, urge the student to get involved. Inquire about what he or she has already learned or experienced and take that into account. By asking for the student’s collaboration, you will avoid providing too much information. Encourage students to explore for themselves and to ask you questions afterwards.

Helpful material

It is important to provide material, such as a notebook, containing key information. Audio and video tapes can be used to cover certain parts of the orientation process or review the information presented at that time.

The general orientation form (Montfort Hospital example) is part of the student orientation package handed out the first day. The orientation process should also include information specific to the student’s department and discipline.

Useful items for specific orientation:

  • List of department employees and their contact information (telephone numbers and email addresses)
  • Forms commonly used in the workplace (e.g. statistical forms)
  • Standard reports
  • Departmental policies and procedures to be read

(c) 2005 CNFS – University of Ottawa component

Example: Student Orientation Plan

Let’s discuss: Who’s involved?

Now that you have completed Part 2, are there sections of this material that you think will be useful to share with students?

4 comments on “Activity 2.4: Student Orientation

  1. mstraub on

    I found that creating an Orientation binder for the students has been helpful in my practice–we include a copy of the important documents, stage calendar and important dates, list of team members and their extensions, maps of the site, guidelines, etc. We’ve had great feedback from the students on this!

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