SAN ANTONIO, Tex.—A unique and comprehensive approach to training oncology nurses for transition to a new hospital with inpatient and outpatient services improved their confidence in working in the new building, a presentation at the ONS 41st Annual Congress has shown.1

An estimated 1.6 million people will develop cancer in the United States in 2016. The increasing demand for health care services requires hospitals to continue to expand their services, which may involve moving departments to a new building, wing, or floor to fulfill the changing needs; however, this process necessitates that staff understand how the move will impact the patient experience, how their workflows will change, and how to navigate their new work environment.

“What if your hospital asked your entire staff to move a different hospital?” Erin Ferlet, MS, RN, OCN, an oncology nurse at The James Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio, asked the audience.

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Because these transitions take extensive planning and collaboration, as well as education for staff, administrators at The James Comprehensive Cancer Center established and implemented a comprehensive transition training plan to transition 6500 staff to a new 1.1 million square foot hospital.

The unique plan addressed 5 key elements of transition learning: Navigation & Way-finding, Building Safety, Equipment & Technology, Workflow Redesign, and Transition Management.

“After we had our categories made, we wanted a variety of methods to teach the 6500 clinical staff about the transition,” Ferlet explained.

Travel themed kick-off events were use to prepare learners for training and transition, while interactive eLearning units addressed the 5 learning elements. In addition, a transition training webpage provided information, including floor plans, and updates.

An electronic 3D hospital game, orientation tours, and sandbox training were also used. “We wanted to make sure all of our staff had hands-on training to experience the new equipment,” Ferlet said.

Therefore, sandbox training was customized to meet the specific learning needs of each area. It included a 3.5-hour simulation experience allowing staff the opportunity to tour their new workspace, learn new equipment, and understand altered daily work routines.

Training included 1 facilitator per 8 learners with in-hospital training occurring in the 3-month period immediately prior to the opening of the new building. Simulations were conducted in 35 minutes with time leftover for debriefing and reinforcing knowledge and skills.

Metrics ultimately showed that training effectiveness with regard to participant confidence, patient satisfaction, and quality measures were positive.

Ferlet reported that they had a 92% completion rate of computer-based training, a 93.8% completion rate of sandbox training.

She concluded by advising the audience that hands-on training is vital for success, to train close to the move date, use a variety of training methods, and focus on relationships and teamwork.


1. Ferlet E. A unique and comprehensive approach to training oncology nurses for transition to a new hospital. Oral presentation at: 2016 Oncology Nursing Society Annual Congress; April 28-May 1, 2016; San Antonio, TX.