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The quick and dirty on this is the patient who is going to die right in front of you very soon. There's usually at least one that's obviously going to die. If someone's vital signs are trending towards shock, if someone had really bad right lower quadrant abdominal pain but it suddenly stopped and they feel better, a kid with asthma who was wheezing and still looks bad but you can't hear wheezing anymore, etc. There isn't really a study guide for a question like that just because they could ask you absolutely anything. If you don't notice right off the bat that someone is going to die immediately, you can always ask them to repeat the question and take time to think to see if you can find the correct person. There's no shame in thinking for a minute before you answer.
There isn't a study guide because...you were supposed to learn that sort of prioritization in nursing school. Sometimes, too, there's no one correct answer, because the question is designed to elicit your thought process, not just to see if you spit out a one true incontrovertible answer.
Also remember that "Get more information" is very often the best answer when being asked a what-would-you-do scenario. "Call for help" is also perfectly appropriate. "Delegate (appropriately) so you the RN can do ... " also is often a good idea.
Thank you GrnTea. I have been an RN/BSN for 13 years; however, have been in a different specialty (managed care/pharmaceuticals) for the last 8 so these scenario type questions are things I need to brush up on. When I met with the Nurse Manager a few weeks ago, she didn't ask any question like this. I am meeting with the Educator this week and am really not sure what types of questions she will ask.
Are you sure the interview will be "situational" as opposed to "behavioral"? The latter format is the one that is used predominately in most health care organizations in my part of the country. Behavioral interview questions usually begin with "tell us/me about a time when you __________ (specific situation)". You are expected to focus on your own actions and thinking... not on policy or vague generalities (I always think it is better to. . .)
On the other hand, situational interviews are intended to assess your recall of the correct "stuff" in a situation that may or may not have come up in your realm of experience... so you may not have any frame of reference except what you have learned. Not very effective for interviews unless the candidate is coming from an environment that is the same as the job in question. If this is the case, I would suggest that you be very honest - acknowledging when you have not had any experience in that exact situation.