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How do I incorporate Joint Commission survey requirements into my staff orientation?


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Many organizations conduct mock Joint Commission surveys. These are an excellent way to maintain survey readiness. Consider some ways that persons new to the organization and/or new to their respective specialties may be acclimated to the Joint Commission survey process. Newly licensed professionals have quite a bit to absorb as they assume their roles of nurse, physical therapist, etc. Joint Commission readiness could be part of orientation in those precious hours devoted to classroom learning.

Choose a particular topic, perhaps one that has been troublesome for your organization in the past (e.g., medication storage), and give learners easy-to-understand information about survey compliance. Divide the group into surveyors and practitioners after they have had a chance to absorb the information provided. They might role-play actual survey conditions, asking and having to respond to specific questions or justify patient care interventions. This could be done in the classroom or in various locations throughout the hospital.

If you have the luxury of small groups of learners and several staff development specialists, you might consider walking about the organization. Have the learners (facilitated by the staff development specialists) walk about the organization as though they were surveyors and actually observe unit activities. Later, they will return to the classroom and discuss their observations. This type of preparation is less threatening for new employees and helps them be more comfortable when confronted by mock surveyors during a drill or real surveyors during the actual survey process.

Adrianne Avillion, DEd, RN

(November 2010)