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The Transitional Orientation Program:
An Exceptional, Evidenced-Based Internship Program for RNs!

About the Transitional Orientation Program

The Lee Memorial Health System (LMHS) Transitional Orientation Program (TOP) is a cutting edge, evidence-based internship program for newly licensed nurses, nurses wishing to change specialties, and nurses returning to the acute-care setting after an extended leave. Nurses hired into the TOP will receive needed support, education, professional development and mentoring.

Each nurse intern, in the TOP program, will receive an in-depth assessment of their critical thinking skills that are necessary for success in acute-care. This assessment will guide nurse educators in the development of an individualized orientation plan for each intern.

The LMHS TOP’s main objective is to help transition the intern into a safe, competent, confident and satisfied independent nurse! The first year of practice can be a stressful time for new grads, so all participants in the TOP program will also be assigned an Intern Development Specialist (IDS) to ensure oversight of their development and to provide support and mentorship.

How Will the Transitional Orientation Program Help Me Reach My Full Potential?

Since the TOP is a truly individualized program, the classroom content and clinical experiences have been designed to be tailored to the unique needs of each intern.

During the first week of the TOP, interns will be introduced to professional practice and explore such topics as:

• SBAR: Enhanced Communications
• Risk Management/Documentation
• Sabotage Savvy/Conflict Management
• Reflective Learning
• Nursing Informatics/Evidence-Based Practice

In the weeks that follow, each nurse intern will work side-by-side with an experienced nurse, referred to as a Clinical Coach, who enjoys working with interns and who has completed additional education to prepare for the role. During this time the intern will also take part in specially selected Critical Thinking Experiences (CTE). There are a wide variety of CTEs, and they include:

• Equipment/Technology Challenges
• Management of Abdominal Pain
• Management of Chest Pain
• Alterations in Respiratory Status
• Neurologic Challenges
• Changes in Urinary Output
• Management of Metabolic Challenges
• Management of Circulatory Complications
• Infectious Diseases

Rather than the typical nursing school class format, our CTEs focus on the enhancement of critical thinking and clinical judgment. Emphasis is placed on problem identification, management, and differentiation of urgency. Every intern also receives cardiac rhythm recognition training, and unit-based specialty development.

In the TOP there is not a pre-determined length of time allotted for an intern to transition to independent practice. We have found that the typical length of time for orientation may extend from 6-20 weeks, depending on the practice area and the needs of the individual.

The IDS will meet with the intern on a regular basis, at least daily or weekly at first, to ensure a smooth transition to independent practice. The IDS will then continue to work with the intern for a period of two years to assist with professional development, career planning and mentorship.

Each intern will also receive the monthly, new nurse newsletter, N3. This newsletter is packed with evidenced-based information, support, recognitions, tips and tricks and valuable LMHS policy and procedure review.

Transitional Orientation Unit (TOU)

Based upon individual assessment and needs, approximately 30% of interns will complete four weeks on the TOU at Cape Coral Hospital, before reporting to their unit of hire. During this intensive time, interns will be assigned a ‘super’ Clinical Coach and will work with an IDS on a daily basis. Patient assignments on this Medical/Surgical unit are abbreviated to ensure ample, one-to-one, in-depth development.

Transitional Orientation Program Clinical Areas

Here at LMHS, interns are accepted into all clinical areas, intermittently throughout the year. Some of our practice areas include:

• Cardiac Medicine
• Emergency Department
• Intensive Care
• Labor and Delivery/ Mom-Baby
• Medical/Surgical
• Neonatal Intensive Care
• Neurology
• Oncology
• Operating Room
• Orthopedics
• Pediatric Intensive Care
• Pediatrics
• Progressive Care
• Rehabilitation

LMHS has four acute care, and two specialty hospitals. They are: Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, HealthPark Medical Center, Lee Memorial Hospital, The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, and the Rehabilitation Hospital.

How Do I Apply to the Transitional Orientation Program?

For the first five days of most months, candidates should apply online at There will only be one “Intern/RN” position that is posted, as all intern candidates must apply to the program to be considered.

In order for the application to be approved and accepted, candidates must be currently licensed to practice nursing in Florida, and hold a current American Heart Association Basic Life Support card valid for at least 90 days from the hire date.
Once the online application is approved and accepted, the candidate may be contacted by phone for a brief interview by a nurse recruiter in Human Resources. Several more interviews will be conducted during the selection process, as LMHS places a high value on hiring the best candidates for our internship program.

Due to the huge investment in each individual intern’s development, a two (2) year work commitment agreement will be required upon hire into the Transitional Orientation Program.

Lee Memorial Health System Mission…
To continue to meet the health care needs and improve the health status of the people of Southwest Florida.

Our Promise…
We are caring people, caring for people.

Our Vision…
To become the best patient-centered health care system in Florida, through balancing quality, access and cost.

Our Values…
We are committed to the values of safety, respect, honesty, compassion, teamwork, loyalty, initiative, adaptability and resource responsibility.

Last update: 9/05/12

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