Tips for becoming a solid CC nursing candidate... - page 2

by TheBlackDogWaits | 3,107 Views | 12 Comments

I would love some feedback regarding skills that are high on the priority list for a student candidate looking to work in a critical care unit. Work as a student PCT. Check. Get into a step down unit for beginner basics and... Read More


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    If you work as a tech in the area of your interest (ICU, et al), your coworkers and manager will have already decided based on your personality and work ethics whether or not they want to hire you on as a new grad nurse. The interview would only be a formality. I've sat through interviews that bombed but we hired them anyways because we knew they were an awesome coworker as a tech and vice versa. However, if you don't have an "in" like that, all the interviewee has is maybe 20 minutes to sell themselves to us. All we have to go on is what you say and how you present yourself in that brief period of time. We see a lot if resumes and portfolios. Extra curricular stuff is great too, but it comes down to #...meaning something like this... 3 new grad spots open...25 interviews...500 applicants for those positions that hr weeded through. It's a tough job market now so you should also talk to recent grads to see their experiences with the job market.
    CrufflerJJ likes this.
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    Quote from StudentEtc.
    You know, I guess I'm just hoping that I can bank on the idea that I'm not wasting years of time and effort for someone to tell me that everything I'm doing this for is null if I don't pass a personality test. I have such a wonderful rapport with all of my colleagues, and I have for many MANY years. So, forgive me if I find it incredibly amusing that even though I've clarified my expectations, I can't get a more straightforward idea of what it is I could be doing * other than character development * to be more available for my future colleagues to utilize. Is there no one out there who can communicate explicitly about my inquiry?????
    Sorry if I'm only amusing you, rather than giving you the answer you had hoped for. Please take my answer as a response hoping to provide some input as to what you are expected to show when you're sitting in front of the interview panel for a slot in your ICU.

    You had written "I'd rather approach it as if I'm preparing for the job, and not so much preparing for the interview..." and "...technical skills - not necessarily character development ... skills that would encompass a solid knowledge base once I start, so that I am immediately able to contribute to the success of my team and my patients."

    Sorry if this comes across as somewhat blunt, but are likely putting the cart before the horse.

    As a new grad coming into the ICU, I have almost no expectations about the "technical skills" you bring to the table, other than:
    - be able to thoroughly assess your pt
    - be familiar with basic drugs, consider effects/side effects/contraindications

    Other than these 2 things, I think that new folks coming into the ICU are not expected to be fully up to speed on hemodynamic monitoring, vasoactive drip titration, assisting with bedside invasive line placement, running dialysis/CRRT, managing pts on balloon pumps/IABP.

    To be blunt - everything you had hoped for IS NULL if you don't pass a personality test (the job interview). We've had plenty of highly intelligent people either interview for our unit or get into the Fellowship only to crash & burn after the fact. Intelligence and motivation themselves are useless if you:
    - don't LISTEN during report
    - don't pay attention to what your preceptor is telling you
    - ignore monitor alarms
    - don't ask questions
    - don't listen/observe/examine your pt & watch for changes in their condition
    - focus solely on neato-keen technical skills & procedures, while ignoring the "big picture" of your pt dying in front of you
    - are sloppy and not OCD about critical details of your pt & their current therapies
    - are a "me me me!" type person, not a team player

    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.

    As a person who has not worked in an ICU, you should have zero expectations about truly understanding the tasks/knowledge of an experienced ICU nurse. At this point, you might wish to skim the info available on icufaqs.org or in Paul Marino's "The ICU Book." Just try to be familiar with the stuff on an overall level, not a functional level.

    Every ICU is likely different, and my perspective is that of a person who fits into my organization's ICU. I'd be surprised, though, if any ICU expected a candidate (even a nurse with years of experience outside the ICU) to be up to speed on the ins & outs of ICU equipment/procedures/technical minutiae. At best, be familiar with the basics.
    Cheever1 and CrabbyPatty like this.
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    Thank you, Cruffler. I honestly do appreciate "blunt", and my frustration was mostly about the fact that I never asked about interview styles or preparation for an interview. It IS unfortunate that my personality will dictate whether or not I get the job, since I can be (not always) socially awkward to a fault. Your clarification makes much more sense to me; your summary of expectations is entirely more realistic to me than my preconceived notions of what I'm expected to know as a cc candidate, whether I'm a new nurse or not. To be sure, I AM putting the cart before the horse, but only in theory. I wanted to know what there is to know, and if there is a way to know it before I am in it. And now I know there is not a way around experience and relationships. This was really great feedback; just what I was looking for. Thank you.
    CrufflerJJ likes this.


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