I love allnurses, I lurk here quite frequently and am always finding great advice. Anyway, I need your advice, as a student nurse graduating in an acclerated BSN program in early September and have several interviews lined up soon. I want to make the best possible choice and I really want to shadow on the floor before I accept an offer.
Do you have any advice on what to look for when I am shadowing? Any red flags? Types of questions to ask, etc.?
Any advice would be great!
May 1, '04
Good luck with your last semester & interviews! That's great.
Here are some things I would be looking at during a shadow:
The staffing matrix (that is how many patients per nurse, how many ancillary staff to help you)...are you responsible for teaming with LPNs/LVNs, do you have nurses' aids (what do they do? It differs from place to place), who does lab draws? who does EKGs and respiratory treatments? Is there a unit secretary? Is there a monitor tech (if tele floor)? Is there a charge nurse- if so, what are the responsibilities? How do they designate who is charge? (some places have regular charge nurses, and some places rotate the job among staff RNs).Are there float nurses or IV teams to help with admits or tough IV starts? Is there a lift team (to help lift/transfer patients)?
The reason I ask this -is that some places offer lots of support staff, some don't. A red flag is when you as the RN have a huge load of patients and no aid or just one single CNA for an entire floor, and you have to draw your own phlebotomy & do EKGs and resp. treatments, and sometimes there's no unit secretary, so you have to also put in orders,etc . (yes I have worked in nightmares like that). Some places have charge nurses who have a partial patient load or no patient load, and these can help staff nurses with patient care. But other places give the charge nurse a full patient load, and it is harder. You will be asked to be charge nurse sooner than you expect,so find out early.
Also-ask about how much orientation new employees get & what shifts are available.If you can- find out about turnover rates (hard to get that info sometimes until you've been working there awhile- can you ask around?)
That's a lot of questions, but important ones I think. I would ask the nurses if they like working there, or if it is different than what they expected. If you are afraid they can't answer honestly, ask them what they would change about their workplace & what they like.
Best of luck! I think it is smart of you to shadow before accepting a position.