Strange interview request? Shadowing a nurse

  1. Hi, all,

    I recently applied for an oncology position and have now heard from HR that the manager will call for an interview soon. Here's my question regarding an unusual request (or is it?)

    Although I would prefer outpt oncology, they don't have an opening right now (only on the floor, and PRN). However, I haven't worked on a med/surg floor in eons - 10 years. And back then it did not go well: I was a new grad, inadequately oriented, on a floor where admin thought it was a brilliant idea to give one nurse 8 stepdown pts on the day shift... lots of OT, unintended (after shift charting) and forced (mandatory 4th shift every other week...) In other words, a nightmare. Since then, I have worked in outpt dialysis for several years and in inpt/acute dialysis for more than a year (acute dialysis doesn't compare to a med/surg floor, though, since the nurse/pt ratios are much lower and there are no CNAs/techs).

    I desperately need a job right now and have always been interested in oncology. My goal is outpt, but I sense that I have to take a floor position first to get my foot in the door and gain experience. I understand things on this floor (and all med/surg floors) have changed dramatically in the past few years - lower ratios, "real" orientation v. the "throw them to the wolves and increase their pt load weekly" I got in the past. Still, I'm not sure that I can - or want to - do it and therefore thought it would be a good idea to shadow a nurse for a day. I would get a feel for the floor, the workload, the culture, how nurses treat each other, etc (I don't think they could pretend too long if there's a problem!)

    Is this an unusual request for a "seasoned" nurse? (I graduated in '98, that's true, but much of that time was spent in a clinic setting and some time at home with young children. So I'm not as experienced in acute care as the years as a nurse suggest.) Would it show weakness/insecurity to ask this question, or is it plain weird and unusual, ruining any chance of getting this job?

    Yes, I could take a chance and just start work if I'm offered the job. But I don't want to risk getting myself into something where I know after a day or two that I'm in over my head or that it's just not for me. Then I'm starting over again, possibly with bad references.

    Thanks for any feedback and input, I really appreciate it.

    DeLana
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    About DeLana_RN

    Joined: Oct '06; Posts: 823; Likes: 849

    4 Comments

  3. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from delana_rn
    hi, all,

    i recently applied for an oncology position and have now heard from hr that the manager will call for an interview soon. here's my question regarding an unusual request (or is it?)

    although i would prefer outpt oncology, they don't have an opening right now (only on the floor, and prn). however, i haven't worked on a med/surg floor in eons - 10 years. and back then it did not go well: i was a new grad, inadequately oriented, on a floor where admin thought it was a brilliant idea to give one nurse 8 stepdown pts on the day shift... lots of ot, unintended (after shift charting) and forced (mandatory 4th shift every other week...) in other words, a nightmare. since then, i have worked in outpt dialysis for several years and in inpt/acute dialysis for more than a year (acute dialysis doesn't compare to a med/surg floor, though, since the nurse/pt ratios are much lower and there are no cnas/techs).

    i desperately need a job right now and have always been interested in oncology. my goal is outpt, but i sense that i have to take a floor position first to get my foot in the door and gain experience. i understand things on this floor (and all med/surg floors) have changed dramatically in the past few years - lower ratios, "real" orientation v. the "throw them to the wolves and increase their pt load weekly" i got in the past. still, i'm not sure that i can - or want to - do it and therefore thought it would be a good idea to shadow a nurse for a day. i would get a feel for the floor, the workload, the culture, how nurses treat each other, etc (i don't think they could pretend too long if there's a problem!)

    is this an unusual request for a "seasoned" nurse? (i graduated in '98, that's true, but much of that time was spent in a clinic setting and some time at home with young children. so i'm not as experienced in acute care as the years as a nurse suggest.) would it show weakness/insecurity to ask this question, or is it plain weird and unusual, ruining any chance of getting this job?

    yes, i could take a chance and just start work if i'm offered the job. but i don't want to risk getting myself into something where i know after a day or two that i'm in over my head or that it's just not for me. then i'm starting over again, possibly with bad references.

    thanks for any feedback and input, i really appreciate it.

    delana
    "shadowing" is pretty common in some places; i don't know about your area. and while it is useful to figure out the layout of the unit, supplies, the size of room you'll be dealing with, where the employee bathrooms are, how many employees hang out in the break room all day, etc., it isn't going to give you a real good idea of the dynamics of the unit. even the problem employees can be on their best behavior for the eight hours you're there. but go ahead and go for it -- you might stumble on some good information.
  4. by   geekgolightly
    You'll at least get to see the ratios and how harried they are on their shift. If it's a bad unit, you'll hear about it from someone in 8 hours of shadowing.

    It's a requirement before being hired at my current place of employment to shadow for at least four hours.
  5. by   RNperdiem
    You wouldn't walk into a marriage, even an arranged marriage, without knowing something about what you are getting into.
    You will certainly spend 32 or more hours a week at work, you want to talk to the staff and get the feel of the unit.
    It can only make you look like a serious candidate to an interviewer. If the place is good, they should have nothing to hide and a lot to be proud of to show you.
  6. by   BrnEyedGirl
    We encourage every new employee, experienced or not, to shadow for a shift. It is also part of our hospital orientation for new grads that they spend a few shifts shadowing on med surg, at least one ICU, and ER. I think this helps us to see how the rest of the hospital functions and to remind us that while we all have different job descriptions, we are all in this together!

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