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I didn't land the job because I'm too task-oriented

Nurse Beth   (784 Views 1 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice) Writer Innovator Expert Nurse

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

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Dear Nurse Beth,

How do I demonstrate critical thinking in an interview? I was turned down for a job multiple times and have another interview coming up for the same job. I asked the manager once why I didn't get the job, and she said it was because I "did not demonstrate critical thinking" in my interview, and that I was too task oriented when discussing the position. How does one demonstrate critical thinking?

Dear Too Task Oriented,

Critical thinking is really a high level of thinking. It's analyzing, reasoning, and synthesizing. Intellectual curiosity is also an attribute of a critical thinker.

For example, a nurse without critical thinking skills has knowledge of abnormal lab values. If her patient has a potassium level of 5.0, she recognizes it as abnormal and calls the provider.

But a nurse with critical thinking skills is curious and analytical. Why is the potassium level high? Is the patient on a potassium supplement? Do they have renal insufficiency? Are they a renal patient on an ace inhibitor? 

She, too, calls the provider but anticipates and evaluates the provider's response. She makes her own suggestions if the response is not adequate.  "I'll d/c the potassium supplement, thank you, Doctor.  Did you want a repeat potassium level in the morning?"

In interviews, it's important for you to prepare and improve your interview skills. You must be ready for behavioral-based questions, such as "Can you tell us a time when you broke a rule at work?" In this case, they would be looking for your reasoning ability. For example, you could answer "There was a time when I was Charge Nurse and we had a patient who was dying. He was waiting for his daughter to fly in from out of state. She finally got here at midnight. There was a strict no visiting rule after 9 pm, but I decided the best choice in that situation was to let the daughter stay with her Dad. I borrowed a sleeper chair from the maternity ward and let her spend the night".

In my book below, I give examples of how to answer several behavior based questions, including what not to say when asked "What is your greatest weakness?" and how to answer "Tell us about a time you had a conflict with a co-worker".

That was smart of you to ask your manager why you didn't get the job. I would go further and ask for her help, specifically going over the questions you were asked and your responses. Have her explain how your answers were "task-oriented" and what a better answer might look like.

Best wishes to you,

Nurse Beth

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





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