Cath Lab: Orientation

By: Doug Langager, RCIS, Winchester Medical Center, Winchester, Virginia (Posted excerpt from the original CLD article by editorial staff) Over the past 20 years, I have been involved in training cath lab techs and nurses in some capacity or another. Throughout my total 30 years of cardiac catheterization experience, I have found one of the greatest deficiencies across labs to be the variation and disjointedness of the new hires orientation process. The orientation models currently in use typically leave new hires feeling overwhelmed. Many labs have adopted a sink-or-swim orientation process where definitive, didactic training plans are frequently thrown aside in favor of lab time. Physician demand for laboratory time and the patient load require efficiency, job knowledge, and manual and intellectual dexterity. Given current working conditions and employee expectations, new employees are required to develop quickly, since "time is muscle" in emergency cardiac medicine. In many cases, time spent on training is viewed as an annoyance that slows things down. Preceptors have limited time to develop skills required for independent (on-call level) work. Many excellent nurses or technologists are rendered ineffective as preceptors because they are not given the skills or tools to teach, guide, and evaluate a new team member. The transition from new employee into an accepted cath lab team member should be easier than it is. Our goal should be to make the new employee’s first impression a positive one. So, what does your lab do that works? How were you treated as a new employee? Read the original December 2006 article in full at: