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What are the differences between orientation and skills checklists?

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Skills checklists must clearly identify expectations and should be completed by staff members who know how to use them. Criteria for safe, effective performance must be clearly defined, and everyone participating in the evaluation process must have a common understanding of the criteria and the basis for assigning ratings.

The format for skills checklists may vary, but most contain similar information. Regardless of how they are used, skills checklists should:

  • Be learner-oriented
  • Focus on behaviors
  • Be measurable
  • Use criteria validated by experts
  • Be specific enough to avoid ambiguity

Orientation checklists specify the knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to perform safely. The information for an orientation checklist would come from the position description for that job classification and would outline the essential competencies for safe practice in that role. Orientation checklists provide documentation of the initial assessment of competence required by The Joint Commission, as well as the individual's self-assessment.

Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN

(April 2010)