What Is the Answer?
When referring to teaching a staff member, a subordinate, or a student about a set of skills, the correct word to use is ‘orientating,’ ‘orientate,’ or ‘to orientate.’
1) I was assigned to orientate the new nurse aide. [orientating the new worker with his tasks as a nurse aide]
2) She is good at orientating new students. [for instance, orientating new students with the school policies]
3) The nurse who orientated me yesterday was very patient with me.
‘To orient’ or ‘orient’ refers to direction or focus.
1) He is a very music-oriented person. [Meaning, “music-focused” or “musically inclined”]
2) I oriented him to the fastest route going to downtown. [Meaning, “directed to” or “gave directions to”]
3) He is orienting the new students to the laboratory. [“directing to” or “showing the way to”]
The Last Leaf
However, you will also find that some grammarians do not consider ‘orientate’ a legitimate word; they use ‘orient’ in all cases; to them, ‘orientate’ is superfluous or unnecessary. If you want to go by this grammatical position, then that should be fine. It’s just a matter of removing ‘orientate’ from your vocabulary. Meaning, you use ‘orient’ (and never ‘orientate’) in whatever case—and use it consistently.
However, if you want to take the higher road of grammar, or if you are simply a stickler like me, then use both words accordingly. This just takes a sharp mind and a quick wit.