any cardiac step-down nurses out there?

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    Hello i'm a new grad and i'm going to have an interview for a cardiac step-down unit. I love cardio and i cannot wait!! Can anyone give me advice on how i should prepare for this interview. what are general questions they might ask, what information/disease process is most common that i should prepare for?
    What about for a telephone interview??
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  3. 8 Comments so far...

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    Most of my interview questions were not specific to the Cardiac step-down unit. Most were the standard "What's your definition of caring", "What are your 5 year goals", "What's your favorite part of our Mission Vision and Values" etc.
    There were a few questions about rhythms and unit specific knowledge. I did my preceptorship on that unit so the manager already had some confirmation of my unit specific knowledge, so If your prospective manager doesn't know you, then you may get more cardiac specific questions, but nurses are usually hired to these units with the knowledge that some orientation will be required.
    nurse441 likes this.
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    Quote from blueflyRN
    Hello i'm a new grad and i'm going to have an interview for a cardiac step-down unit. I love cardio and i cannot wait!! Can anyone give me advice on how i should prepare for this interview. what are general questions they might ask, what information/disease process is most common that i should prepare for?
    What about for a telephone interview??
    You will most likely get the standard interview questions and they will probably ask about your clinical experiences. On a cardiac step-down unit, you will see lots of chest pain, heart failure, valve issues like stenosis and regurgitation, dysrhythmias, MIs, pacemakers/AICDs, anticoagulation, chest tubes, post-cardiac catheterizations. Some patients will have past medical histories of stents or open heart surgeries such as CABG or valve replacements... or might need those interventions in the near future. There tends to be frequent codes on cardiac step-down units. Of course, cardiac patients tend to have many co-morbidities as well such as diabetes, renal insufficiency, pulmonary issues like COPD, other vascular issues like PVD.

    I'm not sure all that was helpful in preparing for an interview, but I do think cardiac step-down units can be great places for new grads to start as long as you have adequate support and training. The patients are more stable than ICU patients, but can quickly go south so you have to stay on your toes. Also, in some hospitals, step-down units can administer some IV meds that general care floors can't such as amiodarone drips, low dose dopamine, some even take stable vented patients.

    Congrats on the interview and good luck!
    nurse441 likes this.
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    thank you nurses. thats some good advice!!
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    basic interview questions, maybe how you deal with stress? have you ever had problems with coworkers/students and how did you deal with it.
    you are a new grad and so was i, just a panel interview (5 people) short term long term goals..etc
    love cardiac stepdown and best of luck to you
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    Hello, blueflyRN. I know you posted your question a year ago but I am currently in your previous situation. I am a New Grad and I have an interview for a Surgical Step-down unit which includes vascular and cardiothoracic patients.
    Do you remember what your interview was like? Did you get any knowledge-based questions?

    I hope you got the job. Any advice on how I can prepare for this interview? I would greatly appreciate it!!!
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    In some places cardiac step down and tele are the same.

    On our tele unit nearly anything that walks in the door except kids, we do get teenagers at times can end up our our floor. Post partum occasionally. Fractured hip patients if they think fall was related to an arrhythmia. Lots of multi system problems. Can be challenging.

    Ask when you will be expected to be ACLS certified if you aren't already. Does the hospital cover the cost and time of the course.

    Cardiac step down can have more codes because population is at higher risk but on the other hand a lot of codes are averted due to being on heart monitors. Stuff can be treated before it turns into life threatening problems.
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    i'm cardiac step-down.

    My questions were not aimed at cardiology at all. The closest thing that came to it was "Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?" Our hospital is building a new facility where the cardiac unit will be transferred to.

    Anyway, they were your basic questions such as "Give me a time where you had to work in a team. What was your role? how did you handle a difficult team member?" or..."Give me an example of a time you had a difficult patient or family. How did you deal with it?"...Questions like that, not aimed at cardiac.
    go off your clinical/school experiences. This is more what they want to hear, not necessarily working in a coffee shop (unless it fits). so if they ask when you had to deal with a difficult family member, don't tell them about the time you made a cappuccino for someone and you used too much milk and they weren't happy so you made them a new cappuccino. Make sense?? haha.
    try to think back to clinical experiences of specific patients you remember. I have patients i remember in clinicals because i had learned something from them. They stand out to me....so i used them as my example.
    LIke i remember a patient i had that only spoke Hmong. How did i work with this patient??

    Firm hand shake, smile, don't sound too into yourself. One of my friends has been searing for jobs for 2 years now. She was 4.0 student, graduated any honors you could think of. Why can't she find a job? because she goes into her interviews and says things like "Well i should get the job because im a 4.0 student and i have experience in this field because i did my clinicals in this field." I tell her everytime, that isnt a reason to hire you!!! Having clinicals in that field of nursing does not count for "experience", and hiring you because of your 4.0 is not a reason either.

    When they ask "Why you and no one else?" (Chances are they will) try to come up with something YOU have that no one else has, without sounding too into yourself. but still sell yourself. Find that happy medium.
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    Oh and as far as diagnosis goes, most of our cardiac patients are Post-op cardiac (CABG, Valve Repair, pacemaker etc. )
    We get the MI/Chest pain patients.
    CHF
    A-Fib (Cardioversion/medication manage)
    Heart Caths

    We also get the pulmonary patients too so we get the COPD, Trachs, (some of the more stable ventilator patients), Pneumonia.

    We also get the Detox patients.


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