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How Often Do Nursing Managers Ask Clinical and Medication Questions During Interviews?

Did you get asked any medication questions during your interview?

Career Nurse Beth Article Magazine   posted
Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist)

Nurse Beth specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

Dear Nurse Beth, I have been a Cardiothoracic Surgery Stepdown Nurse for almost 2 years now. My hospital is currently restructuring and eliminating the Stepdown phase of care. Because of this change, I am currently looking for new positions in the CTICU. I recently interviewed for a CTICU position and the nurse manager seemed to be very critical of my work experience and my knowledge of the field. He asked me if I started drips on my floor and if so what are the side effects of Neo and Amnio? It completely caught me off guard because I had walked in ready to talk about my work experience. I just wanted to inquire about how often nursing managers ask clinical and medication questions during interviews.

How Often Do Nursing Managers Ask Clinical and Medication Questions During Interviews?
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Dear Caught Off Guard,

It really depends. If a manager is looking for a nurse with equivalent experience to jump right in with minimal orientation, they may ask about particular drugs, drips and device management. For example, a manager interviewing an ICU traveler may want to make sure they’ve had recent and like experience.

In your case, you are a Stepdown nurse and it’s expected that Stepdown has a different level of intensity and interventions than ICU. The questions sound more like quizzing than interviewing. You are right, you should expect to talk about your skills and experience and be evaluated for a good fit for the unit.

A good response would be “While those drips were not administered in Stepdown, I prioritize patient safety above all else. I always make sure I’m familiar with drugs and side effects before I administer them. I look forward to learning new skills and advancing my practice.”

I would say that either the manager was evaluating you for your learning needs, or perhaps was just an inexperienced interviewer. Sometimes new nurse managers, having just come from the bedside, focus overly much on clinical tasks and skills, because it’s all they know until they gain experience.

Managing a patient on an Amiodarone drip can easily be taught. Aptitude and teachability, not so much.

Hi! Nice to meet you! I love helping new nurses in all my various roles. I work in a hospital in Staff Development, and am a blogger and author.

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I just finished a grueling round of interviews for a few institutions (phone, online/video, email and in person). Interview styles are so varied. Most people dont ask medical questions, and if they do, they are usually "critical thinking " medication questions. Sometimes its about how you process the situation more than the getting the medical stuff exactly right. That being said, I usually brush up on basic meds as pertains to whatever position i am applying for, just in case theres a pesky pharm quiz.

Just an FYI, I think i am an okay interviewee, having been offered a couple of positions in the past few weeks. But the positions i applied for would probably not be considered as technical as, say, Cardiac,ICU or oncology positions, so perhaps those ones ask for more medication knowledge in interviews.


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