Med/Surg to Clinic: Tips to Stand Out in Interview

  1. I currently work on a MedSurg/Tele floor (a lot of Urology, but we basically get everything...including all those fun drug seekers and alcohol withdrawal much fun... ). I'm getting married next year and feel like I need something different. I would like a Monday to Friday day job with no weekends and no holidays so that I would be working the same hours as my husband and be able to go to church with him on Sundays. Clinic Nursing sounds like it might be right up my ally. I would also welcome a change from floor nursing. I've worked in Longterm Care/Rehab for 2 years. By next year, I would have been working in MedSurg for 2 1/2 years. I feel like I've gotten some good experience, but now I'm looking for something that's a little more conducive to a normal life I have a year to look around, figure out what I want and what I need to do to look good for prospective employers. However, I have very little knowledge of Clinic Nursing:

    • What kind of clinics should I look into? I know they vary greatly. How about doctor's offices? Walk in clinics? Specialty clinics? What's out there and how do they differ? What should I look for?
    • What questions should I ask in the interview to understand a little more of what would be expected of me and how the clinic is run?
    • What questions should I ask to avoid a clinic that is poorly run?

    Most importantly, what should I do now to prepare to stand out among other candidates and feel competent in my job as a clinic nurse?
    I feel like I probably should take more opportunities to do more patient education. I'm assuming that's a huge part of clinic nursing. I know triage via telephone is a part of it too which honestly intimidates me a bit. What should I do to prepare for that? I probably should take more opportunities to draw blood and place IV's as well. Again, assuming that's a part of it as well. I'm looking to get certified as a MedSurg RN in May so that I can feel more competent in my knowledge as an RN as well as show potential employers that I'm dedicated to nursing and continuing my education. I'm looking into getting my ACLS just because I like to feel more competent and knowledgeable in code situations. I'm currently on the Skin Care Committee too. Trying to do whatever I can while I am at my current job.

    My concerns: I'm afraid of a pay cut. However, I feel like it might be worth it to have a normalish life. I'm afraid of being bored. However, I know I can always go back to floor nursing if I want. I'm sure the clinic is probably just as crazy as floor nursing, but I honestly have no idea since I've never done it.

    I know this is all very vague, but if there are any Clinic Nurses out there that could give me a few tips and pointers that would be great. Tell me what it's like in the life of a clinic nurses and what I should do to prepare!

    Any input would be great! Thanks ahead of time!
  2. Visit Emaline222 profile page

    About Emaline222, BSN

    Joined: Mar '17; Posts: 2
    from US


  3. by   hermioneRN
    What kind of clinic depends on where you live and what kind of work you're looking for. If you live in a bigger city, you could look for clinics associated with hospitals and/or university hospitals. In my experience, these jobs provide lateral pay for nurses who work in affiliated outpatient clinic (however, this may not be the case in all hospital clinics). I personally have only worked in a specialty clinic, so I can't give you too much advice regarding doctors' office or walk-in clinics. You could also look into infusion nursing, especially if you have experience in starting IVs or accessing ports. These outpatients positions sometimes require weekend hours, so be sure to check beforehand. Not all infusion centers are open on weekends.

    If I were you, I would also ask to shadow during your interview. This may not be available to you in every setting, but it may help you get a feel of the clinic and how it is run. As for what questions to ask - I would ask about outlining role requirements and expectations. Some clinics hire nurses for just phone triage, some use nurses for rooming (others use MAs for this). You could ask about clinic goals for the upcoming year, how many patients are seen in a day, etc. I work in a clinic with many physicians, but some outpatient positions have just a few. So, I would also inquire about how many physicians you'll work with personally and what the overall patient load will be (you may not see that many patients in a day, but you'll need to follow up typically - again, this depends on where you end up). Also, ask how they would like you to prepare for your new role!

    I honestly am never bored (am stressed sometimes, but it's a different kind of stress from floor nursing), feel supported by the people I work with, have great relationships with my patients, have joined committees, and am working as an outpatient nurse. It's entirely possible, and it's all about finding the right fit! Feel free to message me if you have any questions.
  4. by   Emaline222
    I guess I have to do some investigating as far as the clinics/doctors's offices around me. I have entertained the thought of Infusion RN but I feel like I am a suckie IV nurse. If I felt more confident in my IV insertion, I would probably go for that...then again, I probably should just take more initiative to start more IVs while on the floor

    Those sound like some good questions to ask. Thank you, exactly what I was looking for. That would be awesome if I were lucky enough to shadow! But I'll try it if I land an interview.

    From how you described your experience in the clinic, sounds like it might just be up my ally. I'll be sure to message you if I have any more questions. Like I said, right now I probably need to do more research on the clinics around me to get a feel of what I want and what's out there. Thanks for your input! Very helpful and appreciated.