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How would you answer this?

Interview   (2,005 Views 9 Comments)
by LUCBSN LUCBSN (New) New

886 Profile Views; 11 Posts

I'm a new grad RN and have only been on a handful of interviews, so bear with me...

So I had an interview yesterday and it went very swimmingly. Didn't feel like an interview at all, just felt like an easy going conversation. But there was one question that I kind of had trouble with and it's been haunting me all night how I pretty much tried to flail through it...

The manager asked - What are some challenges nurses face and can you give an example from experience?

Being a new grad, I could only come up with examples from my clinical rotations or my CNA job. When I answered, I talked about my experiences during my psych/behavioral health clinical where I worked on an adolescent unit. I encountered a lot of patients 6-17 years old dealing with drugs, gangs, DCSF foster system issues, etc. I talked about how a challenge nurses face is that within our scope of practice, there was only so much we could do with these patients. We could listen to them, give them advice/education and administer the prescribed drugs during their stay but ultimately I felt like their problems wouldn't go away unless the root of their issues were resolved and nurses aren't exactly equipped to completely fix them (ex. we can't exactly follow a patient and ensure they're done with gangs or adopt a patient from the foster system so they can get out...). I said how there are sometimes legal and ethical issues that limit our care.

I think maybe I was overthinking the question because the manager kind of looked at me weird and said "That was a really valid and great answer but can you give me another example?" So I thought for a moment and decided maybe he was looking for a more general floor nurse type example since I was interviewing for a med-surge floor and not a psych floor. So I tried again. My second answer was how one day at my SICU clinical, my preceptor and I were kind of torn between 3 really demanding and critical patients. I said how a nursing challenge I have seen often is simply the issue of time management and how I wish we could do so much more for patients during our time together but it's just not possible since we have to try our best to equally distribute our attention.

He looked at me again like that wasn't really what he was looking for.. At that point, I felt like I was just rambling and overthinking everything. He even tried to restate the question but he had a hard time doing so.

So as a newbie, can I ask how you more experienced nurses would have answered his question? What was he looking for?

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11 Posts; 886 Profile Views

I'd also just like to point out that I thought maybe he was looking for a conflict-with-coworkers type scenario as the challenge.. but I had already answered a question regarding that earlier in the interview so I didn't want my answer to relate to that :)

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amoLucia specializes in LTC.

5,204 Posts; 46,036 Profile Views

I think he was looking for you to describe more what the situation with the 3 SICU pts was all about. Maybe like how one was fluctuating diabetic & wanted a soda, one was excitedly yak yak yaking about a lost sweater with visitors with declining O2 sats and one pt was finally dozing but had been incont BM (stinky). Like who did you address first & how, and why not the others, and how did you manage them?

Sounds like he was looking for you to discuss your priotorizing skills and your interventions.

jmo (and I made up those pts)

Edited by amoLucia
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62 Posts; 673 Profile Views

"What are some challenges nurses face and can you give an example from experience?"

This becomes easier to answer once you have 1 year experience at least. I would have talked about the patient workload, low staff ratios, and burnout that is prevalent in nursing. Then, talk about how you would handle this type of situation and what you can learn from it. Mention about your ability to manage time and prioritize as one of your skills.

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amoLucia specializes in LTC.

5,204 Posts; 46,036 Profile Views

"What are some challenges nurses face and can you give an example from experience?"

This becomes easier to answer once you have 1 year experience at least. I would have talked about the patient workload, low staff ratios, and burnout that is prevalent in nursing. Then, talk about how you would handle this type of situation and what you can learn from it. Mention about your ability to manage prioritize as one of your skills.

(bolding mine)

Alarmingly, to be seriously honest, I don't know that I would ever, EVER bring up these kind of issues voluntarily MYSELF, in an interview. I would not want to be perceived as a 'whiner' by the mgt. To be seen as a possible future chronic complainer (or troublemaker) is NOT how I would want to present myself as a potential employee.

Now if the interviewer presented me with those issues by her/himself, then YES, I would talk about those situations and highlight my management & prioritization skills. I think that would be a very wise, smart & skillful maneuver as suggested by PP.

To voluntarily broach 'hot topics', even in the abstract, one would have to be very adept & skilled to deftly and cautiously 'low key' that line of questioning. I would hope that a prospective interviewee was not being deliberately 'sandbagged' by a recruiter.

Just my cautionary opinion ... trying to insure that OP wouldn't shoot herself in the foot!

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62 Posts; 673 Profile Views

(bolding mine)

Alarmingly, to be seriously honest, I don't know that I would ever, EVER bring up these kind of issues voluntarily MYSELF, in an interview. I would not want to be perceived as a 'whiner' by the mgt. To be seen as a possible future chronic complainer (or troublemaker) is NOT how I would want to present myself as a potential employee.

Now if the interviewer presented me with those issues by her/himself, then YES, I would talk about those situations and highlight my management & prioritization skills. I think that would be a very wise, smart & skillful maneuver as suggested by PP.

To voluntarily broach 'hot topics', even in the abstract, one would have to be very adept & skilled to deftly and cautiously 'low key' that line of questioning. I would hope that a prospective interviewee was not being deliberately 'sandbagged' by a recruiter.

Just my cautionary opinion ... trying to insure that OP wouldn't shoot herself in the foot!

Well it does answer the question directly. I don't think it makes you a potential "whiner" as you say. If you don't give example on how you handled the situation, then yes, it may may look like a whiner before you even get hired. The whole point was to show how you can handle this type of situation, which you can't deny, is actually prevalent everywhere you go. From this question, you can also demonstrate "loyalty" based on your answer.

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amoLucia specializes in LTC.

5,204 Posts; 46,036 Profile Views

SkyDrift - I'll meet you halfway!!!

I would still worry that OP (as a newbie nurse) would be able to carry off this kind of inquiry with a response that wouldn't be perceived with great scrutiny.

Truly, my mantra has largely been 'when in doubt, err on the safe (cautious) side'. I'd shy away from any situation that could open up a can of worms for this newbie prospective job applicant. As a newbie, OP prob doesn't have enough experience to be a 'whiner'. But answering too 'snowflaky' idealistically could be just as defeating. She's already flustering in her interviews now.

But you are so right. Answering questions is paramount and honesty is critical but I stand by my opinion to not open up oneself. It is my hope that OP would be able to provide strong, positive responses. I think there's a fine line there.

So we're BOTH right!

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11 Posts; 886 Profile Views

Thank you for the feedback :) I'll take all this into account.

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Buyer beware has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in GENERAL.

1,137 Posts; 11,286 Profile Views

This nurse manager is not prepared asking those kinds of questions for as you say you don't have any experience.

But that that alone begs the return question (which I think is reasonable), "hello, I just told you I don't have any experience yet!"

Maybe you should be the nurse manager already.

But she's really just trying to find out if you hate nursing yet.

Now, after school, that MAY be an issue.

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