How to sell yourself on a med/surg interview

  1. Hello! My primary interests in nursing are in psychiatric nursing and pediatrics. I have some tech work experience in both of these fields, and did my senior practicum on an adolescent med/surg floor. There are not alot of opportunities in my area for peds or even psych as a new grad, so I'm expanding my options. I went on a med/surg interview yesterday and was grilled as to why I did my practicum with adolescents if I was interviewing/interested in an adult med/surg floor and the fact that I only had one acute med/surg rotation during school was also questioned.

    I would really just like a job at this point (I'm 19 days away from graduation) and although I would like to work in one of my desired specialties, I also think I could do med/surg for a few years to get my feet wet. How do I turn my varied experience and interest in specialties to my advantage? Any advice?
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    About pinkiepie_RN, BSN, RN Pro

    Joined: Jun '07; Posts: 1,024; Likes: 294
    Specialty: General adult inpatient psychiatry

    4 Comments

  3. by   SummerGarden
    Quote from dolcebellaluna
    i went on a med/surg interview yesterday and was grilled as to why i did my practicum with adolescents if i was interviewing/interested in an adult med/surg floor and the fact that i only had one acute med/surg rotation during school was also questioned.

    i could do med/surg for a few years to get my feet wet. how do i turn my varied experience and interest in specialties to my advantage? any advice?
    i think you should consider revamping your resume!!! it sounds like it is heavily weighted toward peds. as an adn prepared rn new grad i did not do a practicum but i have a job! i did clinicals on every floor in the hospital to include icu and the er, but much of my time was medical surgical nursing (hours anyway). so i did not emphasize clinicals on my resume (it is school so who cares?) i emphasized my work experience and mentioned my interest to use medical surgical nursing as a way for me to grow as a new grad and enhance my skill set to pursue my interest later. i think if you were grilled as you wrote it is because your resume seems biased toward one interest over the job you are tying to obtain. think about that, would you not be hesitant to hire a new grad who has peds written all over her resume and you are trying to find someone who will be happy with the position you are offering??? especially since you have so many choices???? make your resume reflect the fact that medical surgical nursing can benefit you and your future employer, despite an interest in pediatric nursing.

    also, re-read your post.... do not let the interviewers make you feel inferior or out of place due to your peds interest. first of all, school is school so you have no rn peds experience. besides, even if you only had one rotation of acute med surg it does not matter it is still just school! i think the comment you made about wanting to get your feet wet is poignant and valid. plus, if you want to add something discuss that though kids are physically different in many ways compared to adults they are still human beings. you will be working with disease processes of adults that affect children so your experience can and will transfer in the future. therefore, a job starting out in medical surgical nursing is a good way to go...!! gl!
  4. by   86toronado
    I agree with MBARN. Sell yourself by being really enthusiastic, and talking up how important having a solid adult med-surg background is for any nurse. Mention specific skills that you would like to work on (ideally opportunities that would present themselves on the floor you are interviewing for, say EKG interpretation for a cardiac floor), and say that while pediatrics may be a long term goal of yours, your practicum taught you that it is best to be a confident med-surg nurse before trying a specialty.
    Best of Luck!!
  5. by   pinkiepie_RN
    Quote from 86toronado
    I agree with MBARN. Sell yourself by being really enthusiastic, and talking up how important having a solid adult med-surg background is for any nurse. Mention specific skills that you would like to work on (ideally opportunities that would present themselves on the floor you are interviewing for, say EKG interpretation for a cardiac floor), and say that while pediatrics may be a long term goal of yours, your practicum taught you that it is best to be a confident med-surg nurse before trying a specialty.
    Best of Luck!!
    Oooh! That's a really great idea. I do have applicable skills and if I can't get that speciality right out of school, I want solid skills to be able to break into something somewhere down the road.

    Peds being a long term goal of mine was also hard to sell, because they asked me about my 5 year plan and while I can cater that to previous interviews I've been on (peds, psych, ed) it's hard to think of where I want to be in 5 years with a M/S position.

    Thanks alot!
  6. by   pinkiepie_RN
    Quote from mbarn08
    i think you should consider revamping your resume!!! it sounds like it is heavily weighted toward peds. as an adn prepared rn new grad i did not do a practicum but i have a job! i did clinicals on every floor in the hospital to include icu and the er, but much of my time was medical surgical nursing (hours anyway). so i did not emphasize clinicals on my resume (it is school so who cares?) i emphasized my work experience and mentioned my interest to use medical surgical nursing as a way for me to grow as a new grad and enhance my skill set to pursue my interest later. i think if you were grilled as you wrote it is because your resume seems biased toward one interest over the job you are tying to obtain. think about that, would you not be hesitant to hire a new grad who has peds written all over her resume and you are trying to find someone who will be happy with the position you are offering??? especially since you have so many choices???? make your resume reflect the fact that medical surgical nursing can benefit you and your future employer, despite an interest in pediatric nursing.

    also, re-read your post.... do not let the interviewers make you feel inferior or out of place due to your peds interest. first of all, school is school so you have no rn peds experience. besides, even if you only had one rotation of acute med surg it does not matter it is still just school! i think the comment you made about wanting to get your feet wet is poignant and valid. plus, if you want to add something discuss that though kids are physically different in many ways compared to adults they are still human beings. you will be working with disease processes of adults that affect children so your experience can and will transfer in the future. therefore, a job starting out in medical surgical nursing is a good way to go...!! gl!
    part of the problem is that if i don't put my peds and psych tech experience on my resume, i have nothing else to show. i think the main reason i've been getting interviews is because i have some (albeit different specialty) tech experience. i will take the practicum and clinical experience out of my resume and think about the relationship between pediatric and adult nursing. there are commonalities...i just for some reason wasn't expecting to have to explain myself. i'll definitely do some leg-work in case there is another med/surg interview in my future.

    thanks!!!

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