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Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

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

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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.

Best wishes, 

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!



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 (nursecode.com), author (Your Last Nursing

261 Likes, 9 Followers, 81 Articles, 223,914 Visitors, and 1,650 Posts.

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