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ICU Nurse Educator interview

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Specializes in ICU. Has 7 years experience.

Hi friends! I am a BSN with almost 5 yrs bedside ICU experience. I am interviewing for an ICU educator position with my current hospital next week, full time for two ICUs at sister hospitals. Does anyone have tips for this type of interview or questions to ask? How important is a portfolio? I am new to the educator role but am passionate about continuing education especially with how many new grads our ICUs have. We haven't had an ICU educator since before I was hired (about 2 yrs ago). I know what I would like to offer based on the education I've received at my previous employer, but how do you start from the ground up? I've already successfully scheduled balloon pump education with the machine representative for us. I am on the unit council and education & professional development committees. What is something you would do differently for ICU education?

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

You start with assessment. Don't just go charging in their with your ideas (based on your opinions and preferences) for things to improve or programs to improve them. Start with assessment.

Involving the staff and the current leadership team (managers, physicians, staff, etc.) in identifying and prioritizing the units' needs will greatly improve your chances of having their support for your programs. Also, asking them about how they like to receive education (online? small group classes? articles to read? big group classes? time of day? skills stations? etc.) is important.

Remember: it's not about pleasing you with the topics, methods, etc. you need to satisfy your audience, too. Mix in some of what they "need" while you give them some of what they "want." You gotta find out what they want to get their buy-in. That goes for managers and physicians as well as for the staff.

If asked during the interview what your ideas are or favorite ways to teach are ... it's OK to answer the question about what your preferences and ideas are. Just be sure to include a couple of statements about doing some assessment first to be sure you are including their preferences and priorities, too. No one wants to hire a new leadership team member who is going to go off in a direction that is not consistent with the unit's priorities.

Also, given that you have no experience as a unit educator ... I also recommend saying that you intend to link up with the other educators in that hospital and use them as resources. (I would also recommend checking out the ANPD website to find resources about Nursing Professional Development. They have lots of good resources, including "how to books," online courses, regular webinars that are free to members, etc. I might not emphasize that in your interview, but I would definitely do it.)