Interviewing for ICU...

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    MSTICU (Med/Surg/Trauma ICU)

    I am a new graduate, this is my first job interview for nursing and I am very excited about this opportunity. Please give me some interviewing tips. Especially questions I should have and be prepared to answer. Strengths and Weaknesses, 5-10 year plan I am prepared for. That's just about it though.
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  3. 15 Comments so far...

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    Is it a behavioral interview? If so, be prepared to give examples where you dealt with various situations and how you resolved them in a good way. I'm also a new grad and when I interviewed for two positions - one of which was in an ICU - they were both behavioral interviews and I prepared by thinking of various situations I had been in and how I dealt with them. I'll give you some examples if your interview is behavioral.
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    Also, some ICU's give you scenarios when you interview so maybe think of how you would respond to that (example: you find a patient in resp distress - what would you do, a Dr. prescribes sedative for already zonked out pt - what would you do etc). A question like why the ICU is a good fit/why that floor/why that hospital is always a good one to prepare for. I also highly recommend making a career portfolio if you are doing an in- person interview - it helps you to stand out, and depending on how lengthy and nicely put together it is, shows them how much you want the position (i.e. put extra time and effort into preparing). It also shows them what makes you stand apart from other new grads, especially if you have extra experience beyond nursing school and/or some good accolades. When they ask you if you have any questions, I think its always good to ask something about 1. How does this program/residency go basically 2. What do you look for in your new graduate residents (when they say something, I would try to as subtly as possible get a word in about how you match what they are looking for). If it is a behavioral interview, try to frame your stories using the Situation, Action (you took), Result, and What your learned technique. Smile and try to find a way to let your passion show - not in a crazy way, but let them know this is the job of your dreams and you have the dedication and enthusiasm that makes you worthy! I had a panel interview for the ICU and it was very intimidating but I was successful, so I could maybe give you a few tips on those too, if you'd like.
    Cheever1 likes this.
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    I have no idea. What is a behavioral interview? What are other kinds of interview? It will be face to face and not on the phone.
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    I won't bore you with the usual interviewing tips that are ridiculously obvious (i.e. arrive early etc), but I will say I would take the time and money to invest in a real ladies - or mens, depending on who your are - business suit. I would not go for business casual, because if this is your dream job, then its worth it to go all out. I bought a business dress, blazer/dress coat, black opaque panty hose, and dress shoes with slight heel and I think that is the best bet. While precepting on the same floor I saw girls going to interviews for that floor in business casual (nice enough clothes) but they would also do crazy things like wear Toms shoes to the interviews. Toms are nice for casual wear of course, but never for an interview! Similarly, I feel that colorful purses - even if by a nice designer/brand - shouldn't be worn at an interview. Just my friendly two cents
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    I am sure it may be a panel or atleast 2 people, director and clinical coordinator. What is a career portfolio. My goodness it sounds interesting and a great idea. What goes in it, how long should it be?
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    I was thinking of a nice professional pantsuit. With some nice accessories maybe a pin on my lapel, discreet earrings. Dress shoes.
    hearts895, RN BSN likes this.
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    Behavioral interview is very common in nursing and basically they ask you to give various stories of how you dealt with a particular type of situation. For example: Tell me about a time when you dealt with a difficult patient or difficult patient scenario and how did you resolve it? Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a difficult/challenging situation or environment and what you did? Or tell me about a time when you were part of a team, what made that team good, and how you contributed etc. Those are just some examples of behavioral questions I've been asked.
    Cheever1 likes this.
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    Quote from DEE S.
    I am sure it may be a panel or atleast 2 people, director and clinical coordinator. What is a career portfolio. My goodness it sounds interesting and a great idea. What goes in it, how long should it be?
    A career portfolio is where you put in a bunch of things showing what you have done - i.e. certificates, awards, a nice write up of all your volunteer activities, detailed write ups about any externships you have done etc. You can also include extra copies of your resume and cover letter. I used a nice report portfolio that you can find at Office Depot for about $4. It has a black cover with about 7 sheet protecters sewn in (so 14 pages) that you fill with your content. It also had a spine insert so you could put your name on it.
    nursetaminator likes this.
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    Quote from DEE S.
    MSTICU (Med/Surg/Trauma ICU)

    I am a new graduate, this is my first job interview for nursing and I am very excited about this opportunity. Please give me some interviewing tips. Especially questions I should have and be prepared to answer. Strengths and Weaknesses, 5-10 year plan I am prepared for. That's just about it though.
    I occasionally participate in panel interviews of candidates for our ICU.


    You will need to be able to explain WHY you want critical care - what draws you to it. If asked your future plans, it is generally not wise to say that you want 1-2 years of CC experience as a prereq for applying to a CRNA program. That would be an instant "fail."

    Experience as a PCT/extern (especially if it's in a CC unit) is very helpful. ACLS certification isn't a requirement, nor is it really much of a "plus" for a candidate. If hired, you'd be going through a bunch of added classes in any case.

    Be able to express excitement, a willingness to learn, and the fact that you do not know it all. Teamwork is a biggie. You would need to be able to fit in with your coworkers, and be willing to offer help and ask for it when needed.

    Be able to tell about the sickest patient for whom you cared during nursing clinicals. What did you see/experience/learn?

    If you could shadow for a shift in the ICU (and were well received), that would also help your candidacy.

    During your interview, you might have a clinical question or two thrown in your direction (stuff involving DKA, DIC, HIT, sepsis, ARDS, renal failure, cardiac arrhythmias, ...). You will not be expected to know everything. You may not even be expected to know the "correct" answer to the questions. What you will be expected to do is to be honest & say "I don't know, but here's how I'd find out" rather than trying to BS your way through things.

    Good Luck!
    scrubs&studs, nandosport, mimi90, and 4 others like this.


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