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This is a discussion on Inappropriate interview question? in Forensic Nursing, part of Nursing Specialties ... For nursing positions involving regular contact with sexual assault victims... Do you feel that...by NurseKoko Mar 24, '09For nursing positions involving regular contact with sexual assault victims...
Do you feel that it's appropriate to ask a candidate if he/she is a victim of sexual assault? Is it legal?
I'd appreciate your feedback. I suppose I can understand why a potential employer would ask this question, but the answer to the question wouldn't necessarily predict a nurse's effectiveness in dealing with sexual assault victims.
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- Mar 24, '09 by ghillbertI can't imagine any job interview in which it would be appropriate to ask if someone has been a victim of sexual assault.
- Mar 24, '09 by caliotter3I believe that the answer to that question would be used to "disqualify" people from the job. If an interview for this type of position is in your future, I would find out from an employment attorney if this question is legal.
- Mar 24, '09 by NurseKokoI can't personally see the logic in using the question to disqualify candidates (or asking the question at all, for that matter). If I were interviewing for an Oncology job, would it matter if I had ever had cancer? And if I had, wouldn't that experience allow me to better empathize with my patients?
- Jun 29, '09 by smithem2I personally do not know if it is illegal to ask someone this question but I do think that it is inappropriate. Why would this be necessary to qualify or disqualify an individual for this position. At this point I would be questioning whether I even wanted to work for these people if they are willing to ask a person that question! How unsensitive!!
- Jun 29, '09 by llgIt might be illigal ... but then maybe not ... I don't know. I am a nurse, not a labor attorney and I am not qualified to give legal advice.
However, I can see why an employer would want to know that information and would want to discuss the applicant's feelings about sexual assault. Some employers might have a bias and believe that people who have been victims themselves would make better counselors. Other employers might have the opposite bias and be concerned that someone who had a history of sexual victimization might have trouble being objective and totally professional in their judgments when faced with a case that triggers their personal memories. The bias could go either way.
My personal experience with NICU parent support groups is that past experience with having a baby in the NICU can be either an asset or a handicap for a NICU nurses and for parent-to-parent support groups. It depends on the individual person and the individual circumstances. Sometimes, caregivers or support personnel transfer their own personal feelings and responses onto the current patient and that hurts their ability to help the patient. Other people can better separate their own personal stories from that of the current patient and can sometimes use their past experiences to help them in their profession/support role.
So ... I can understand why an employer would want to know about that ... but I don't know if it is legal or not.