Open Heart Unit interview

  1. I will graduate from nursing school with a BSN in May '05 and will be interviewing for an open heart unit (O.H.U.) position. I haven't formally interviewed with the nurse manager yet, but I have discussed my interests in working with vasoactive meds, lines, and vents. I made no mention of wanting to pursue anesthesia school. The nurse manager has told me that the orientation program for new grads is "second to none" and said that it costs $40,000 to train a new graduate to be an O.H.U. nurse. There are currently several nurses on the unit who are getting their experience for N.A. school. I have a hunch that this manager will ask for a 2-year time commitment from me during the interview. Here are my questions for critical care nurses who interviewed for a critical care unit who knew that they wanted to go to N.A. school:

    1) What did you say when you were asked a "Where do you see yourself in 5 yrs" type question?

    2) Were you asked to commit to a certain # of years? If so, how did that work, i.e. did you sign a legal and binding document, verbalize an agreement, etc.?

    3) Would your supervisor and co-workers sign recommendation forms for you even though you only had very minimal time out of orientation?

    I want to approach this interview with ethics and good character while staying true to my long term goals. I sincerely appreciate any help you could offer a soon-to-be new graduate.
  2. Visit Kiwi profile page

    About Kiwi

    Joined: Feb '04; Posts: 506; Likes: 6
    ICU RN, BSN

    8 Comments

  3. by   rn29306
    Congratulations on BSN graduation and your upcoming interview. I was in your shoes in May of 2001. My orientation to a 2 unit ICU / CCU (no open heart) included a 2 year contract for new grads. I was told that it was 20K (in 2001 money) for them to get us up and running, considering classroom time and 6 months of orientation (4 on days, 1 on nights - I must have been a good boy, I off orientation after 5 months).
    Signing a contract unfortunately is something you as a new grad will have to do no matter where you go, if I am mistaken someone please correct me.
    I was asked the 5 year question a during my manager interview. In my opinion, if they ask, then they better be ready for an honest answer. I replied something akin to "either finishing up anesthesia school or already graduated". We then talked about anesthesia school, what made me choose it, and so forth. I felt it gave her insight to my goals, dreams, and work ethics, which only paid off for me in the long run. I guess each individual manager is different, that is something you will have to judge for yourself. Also, you would hate for your manager to hear your anesthesia plans from one of your coworkers while doing that gossiping thing. I feel if they ask, then tell them. I'm sure your manager would rather hear it from you then secondhand anyway. Don't think that you can keep the fact that you are planning on anesthesia a secret from the unit. Someone will find out and it will spread like wildfire.
    I would not try and obtain a eval from someone who was "minimally exposed" to my work ethic, training, and unit patient knowledge. I sat in on interviews for the upcoming SNRA class and if the manager of your unit gives you an average eval, BAD NEWS FOR YOU. This is just from what I have seen.
    I realize I have been rambling, hope this helps. Let me know if I can stumble through any more questions.
    Oh yeah, the contract I signed was legally binding, with the only thing to pay back was the sign-on if I were to quit or go less than full time for 2 years. I got into anesthesia school at the 3 year mark, so no problems. No facility is going to sink 20-40K of funds into you without a binding contract (at least around here).


    rn29306
  4. by   janet r. gowen
    Quote from rn29306
    Congratulations on BSN graduation and your upcoming interview. I was in your shoes in May of 2001. My orientation to a 2 unit ICU / CCU (no open heart) included a 2 year contract for new grads. I was told that it was 20K (in 2001 money) for them to get us up and running, considering classroom time and 6 months of orientation (4 on days, 1 on nights - I must have been a good boy, I off orientation after 5 months).
    Signing a contract unfortunately is something you as a new grad will have to do no matter where you go, if I am mistaken someone please correct me.
    I was asked the 5 year question a during my manager interview. In my opinion, if they ask, then they better be ready for an honest answer. I replied something akin to "either finishing up anesthesia school or already graduated". We then talked about anesthesia school, what made me choose it, and so forth. I felt it gave her insight to my goals, dreams, and work ethics, which only paid off for me in the long run. I guess each individual manager is different, that is something you will have to judge for yourself. Also, you would hate for your manager to hear your anesthesia plans from one of your coworkers while doing that gossiping thing. I feel if they ask, then tell them. I'm sure your manager would rather hear it from you then secondhand anyway. Don't think that you can keep the fact that you are planning on anesthesia a secret from the unit. Someone will find out and it will spread like wildfire.
    I would not try and obtain a eval from someone who was "minimally exposed" to my work ethic, training, and unit patient knowledge. I sat in on interviews for the upcoming SNRA class and if the manager of your unit gives you an average eval, BAD NEWS FOR YOU. This is just from what I have seen.
    I realize I have been rambling, hope this helps. Let me know if I can stumble through any more questions.
    Oh yeah, the contract I signed was legally binding, with the only thing to pay back was the sign-on if I were to quit or go less than full time for 2 years. I got into anesthesia school at the 3 year mark, so no problems. No facility is going to sink 20-40K of funds into you without a binding contract (at least around here).


    rn29306
    The training you will receive in an OHU is tremendous you will expand your knowledge base and work closely with the physicians and anesthesiologists during this time. The current ICU hold for post OHS is twelve hours in an uncomplicated case then they go to stepdown, the off pump versus on pump cases will give a great variety of insite into the developing trends in nursing and medical practice in this field.
    Ihave been nursing for over a quarter of a century and find that the more experience one gathers during the early years benifits greatly in the choices for advanced practice in future years.
    A two year committment is not very long when you understand it will be at minimum six months to one year prior to your being able to function in this field with confidence and accuracy in decision making this will be most benificial to you in your future practice
    With nursing as in all careers utilize your time well and learn all you can in your journey through life it makes you a better person, and better caregiver.
    I always think of my patients in terms of what I would want delivered to my family members if they were in that bed it helps to both motivate me to be better and humbles me to allow the best care possible in all aspects of the patients needs to be delivered.
    God Bless You in your career
  5. by   Kiwi
    Thank you both for your candid advice. Do you think it would it be possible for me to apply for N.A. school during the second year of my contract so that I could potentially start N.A. school after the commitment runs out?
  6. by   cjs04
    Quote from ether
    Thank you both for your candid advice. Do you think it would it be possible for me to apply for N.A. school during the second year of my contract so that I could potentially start N.A. school after the commitment runs out?

    This might be a stupid question, but here goes:


    Let's say you did have to sign a contract for 2 years. Then you applied to NA school after working 6 months (grad in May 05, apply in December 05)... lo and behold you are accepted for the Jan 06 class... but you still have 1 yr on your CVICU nurse contract.

    COULD you pass on your seat in NA school for this term and take the seat for next term allowing you to fulfill your 2 year contract AND still know you are accepted to NA school for next term (Jan 07)

    Has anyone ever heard of that - being accepted but then having to postpone going to school (playing devils advocate - what if you found out your were pregnant and wanted to have the baby then start school)... would you have to reapply? What if you were in the middle of your program - then how does it work?


    cjs
    (oh yeah, congrats on your new job :hatparty: )
  7. by   Kiwi
    cjs, I'm curious about that as well. It would be great to at least get your stats in to the admission committee the first year around so they could offer a spot for '07 or tell you how you could improve.
  8. by   athomas91
    i find it incredible that hospitals are still getting nurses to sign contracts...there aren't enough nurses as it is - how can they afford to do this?!?! i have quite a few friends that did this out of school - and they DID NOT fulfill the contract and there was nothing anyone could do about it -
    if possible - get a copy of the contract - have someone with legal knowledge look over it before you sign it -
    good luck.
  9. by   TraumaNurse
    One of my classmates had started the program in 2003 but found out she was pregnant right after starting. She dropped out, had her baby and then started with me in 2004. The school saved her seat for her and she did not have to re-interview. Another of my classmates was accepted in 2003 but decided she was not ready for school and turned down the seat. She was placed on an alternate list but had to reapply for the 2004 class. Not all schools will do this, so it is very program dependent. I don't think many programs will hold a seat just so you can fulfill an ICU contract.

    Also, when signing contracts, you have two choices: sign it and complete your obligation, or be prepared to pay back whatever money you recieve. If you do not take any bonus/sign-on money, then there is nothing to pay back. People leave units all the time for different reasons before their contract is up. You just have to be willing to pay back what you were given. That said, if you leave prior to your commmittment, you may also have a very ticked off manager who will not provide a good reference. It is all unit and manager specific.
  10. by   jewelcutt
    I don't think I would pass on an acceptance until the year afterwards. In fact, unless there was a pregnancy or death in the family, I don't know many people that would wait. I've had two friends that left contracts early. A sign on bonus of a couple thousand wouldn't be enough to hold me back a year also. Plus, once you get accepted into school you start thinking about things differently, you can't wait for it to start. Many people apply before they are finished with certain prereqs, degrees, certifications, or experience. I think a year under your belt is a good thing, then feel free to apply. In the meantime, study for GRE's, shadow multiple times if possible, start talking to the directors of all programs of interest (starting early will help them remember you), start writing an entrance essay, etc. There is a lot of work in applying for school, and even though I started a months early it was very stressing. Once I turned in the applications I was tremendously relieved and once I had interviewed it was like a ton of bricks had been lifted from my shoulders. It's kind of funny, now when my friends and I look back on it we wonder what we were sooooo worried about all the time. All of our anal behavior is very entertaining now. My friend and I had our interview on the same day. I left my coat and "professional bag" in the interview room and had to go back and get it, whereas my friend kept reapplying her lipstick every fifteen minutes.
    Anyway, the point of the story, apply when you feel ready and start early.

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