The DCCM recommended training programme runs for 8–15 weeks for new graduate nurses. The aim is for new nurses to become familiar with the DCCM environment and the specialities which we provide nursing care. Two preceptors are allocated to go through the programme with the new nurse.
For the first three weeks a new nurse works in a clinical workload sharing capacity with one of their two preceptors. On day one, the new nurse reports to the DCCM reception on the eighth floor (ward 82) of the main building at 7am. They are shown around the hospital, familiarising with the department, introduced to colleagues and given their competency book.
To assist with clinical development in DCCM, new nursing staff receive two books – a competency workbook and a resource book. All nursing staff are encouraged and supported to self-assess and to make judgements about their needs and achievements.
From week 4 to 10, new nurses are allocated their own patients, usually with a preceptor working in the adjoining bed space or in the runner role. During this time the new nurse works with their preceptor one shift per week. In the last week of the recommended training programme there is an informal appraisal with the nurse manager and the nurse educator. This is an opportunity to evaluate the programme and to set clinical goals for the following six months in DCCM.
This is a hospital run 1–2 day course, which is attended within the first few weeks of starting. It provides general information about the hospital and its policies and structure as well as cultural awareness.
DCCM strongly supports ongoing education and development. Regular in-service education is held, usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Multi-disciplinary education is also integrated into in-service education such as simulation, enabling nursing and medical staff to learn together. Monthly study days are also run by the nurse educators. The unit has strong links with the University of Auckland and staff are supported and encouraged to undertake post graduate qualifications. Staff also have the opportunity to attend ANZICS conference.
Peer support is a team of voluntary staff nurses within the DCCM who provide colleagues with a non-judgemental, informal and confidential peer support network – a bridge over troubled waters. Peer support team members are identified by the "gold rose" on their staff ID badge. There is also a designated notice board within the department where information and updates are displayed.
Twice a month the peer support team hold "support breaks". These informal meetings are an opportunity for staff to meet with their peers and talk and debrief on issues relevant to working in this high acuity area.
The peer support team is highly valued in the DCCM for the way they provide confidential support to staff.