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Advice for ED Interview

Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I am an RN-BSN with three years experience on medical-surgical. I have an interview for Emergency with another hospital. I meet with Human Resources December 4th. I have switched hospitals 3 times already with good reason (mostly due to relocation). Any advice for interview preparation specifically related to Emergency, or in general?

Dear ED Interview,

You have solid experience with 3 years in, and you landed the ED interview. These are both in your favor. So far, so good.

The most obvious challenge is responding to the 3 hospitals in 3 years question. Re-location is a good reason, as is "it wasn't a good fit". Avoid saying anything negative about a previous employer. If you have family or close ties nearby, it would be good to let them know as you'll be seen as more likely to stay in the area.

Be prepared to ask questions of them, when they invite you to. You could ask what opportunities exist for advancement, for example.

Research their mission and values. Find out if they have any disease-specific certifications, such as a Chest Pain Center, or Stroke Center. Find out what computer system they are using, such as Epic or Cerner, and if you are experienced, let them know. Is there a prominent second language spoken in your area, and are you fluent?

Have you had any customer service training, such as AIDET? Are you aware of which conditions are targeted to reduce re-admissions, such as heart failure?

If you are given a clinical scenario, know that they are not looking for a clinical expert in emergency nursing, but for a safe practitioner. Your response should always include staying with the patient, calling for help, providing support and performing an assessment. If you are able to anticipate interventions, such as obtaining ABGs and CXR for respiratory distress, even better.

Be prepared for "tell us about yourself" (short and pertinent to staying in the hospital, such as "my goal has always been to work ED"). Include a short story if able as stories are memorable. Likewise, be prepared for "what's your greatest weakness" (segue into an actual value, such as "I tend to work overtime, but am actively working on work-life balance as I feel I have more to offer my patients and the team when I make my health a priority. I just joined a yoga class."

Avoid appearing timid or retiring in your interview as nurse managers look for a good fit for their units, and ED attracts strong personalities. Good luck!


Best wishes,

Nurse Beth
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

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