By Betsy Slagle

LoadingWhew! Your annual report is submitted. You just graduated another class. Your grads are happily starting their first jobs as brand new certified surgical technologists. Now you can relax for a bit before you have to get ready for the next enrollment. But wait: Your clinical coordinator just informed you he’s resigning and moving away from your community. Your calm transition into the next academic year now has the potential for chaos. No matter what your role is in the faculty hiring process, here are a few tips to get your new instructor up and running ASAP.

  1. Develop a program-specific faculty orientation plan that can be used with any new faculty member. That way you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time a new person is hired. Seriously, take the time to do this, preferably before a new person comes on board. Don’t forget the non-teaching responsibilities such as academic advising or student recruitment. What introductions need to be made? What technology training should each faculty receive? Set timelines for completion per semester or quarter.
  1. Recruit before you have a teaching position to fill. If you have multiple faculty, think about how you can best build your team. What skills does each position require? Identify individuals in your healthcare community who embody those traits and request them as preceptors for your students. Ask them to be on your Program Advisory Committee. Invite them to do a presentation to your students on their surgical specialty. Hire them for some adjunct hours to test the waters. You now have potential instructors waiting in the wings.
  1. Assess your new faculty’s strengths and capitalize on them. Did she come straight from the OR into her first teaching position? If possible, assign her to clinical or laboratory courses, then build towards didactic responsibilities. Not only will she feel more comfortable, but the students will benefit from her currency in the OR environment. Conversely, what areas need to be developed? How can your program assist her in acquiring those skills?
  1. Educate the educator. Work with your administration for funding to send your new faculty member to AST instructors and ARC/STSA Accreditation Fundamentals for Educators workshops. In addition to the great information presented at these workshops, the synergy of meeting and learning with other instructors who share a common purpose is priceless.

Mentor, mentor, mentor! In spite of what we hear in the OR, it’s not “see one, do one, teach one.”   Becoming an effective instructor takes time and nurturing. Be willing to share your own expertise. Provide ongoing guidance, sit in on a class, offer to help with figuring final grades or attach a video to Blackboard. Praise and encourage as she learns, just as we do with our students!