Jump to content

Left 1st Nursing job at SNF after 4 months, how do I answer the "why" interview question?

by Hazel1959 Hazel1959 (New) New

I have been an RN for 1 year and 10 months. The first job I was offered was at a SNF, which I accepted. My floor orientation as a brand new nurse was 8 shifts. I was given my own hall with 15 patients after the third day of orientation. The minimum number of patients was 15 but could be as many as 32. I was the only nurse on the floor with 32 patients (permanent residents and rehab patients) many times. Most patients received many meds at each med pass, as well as some type of treatment ( breathing, skin care, blood sugar checks, etc.) Most patients had to have meds pulled, crushed, placed in applesauce and hand fed. I am sure this is typical in most SNF's, but it is impossible to give 32, and sometimes 15, patients their scheduled meds all within the allotted time. In addition to this, documentation had to be done by hand (normal for SNF I think but time consuming). We had no unit manager, she walked out the first week I was there and we never had another one. The nurses had to do the normal duties and reports that she would have done. The employee turnover was like a revolving door. I was afraid that the chances of messing up and jeopardizing my license was too great in this facility, and I quit. I have had several interviews at other SNF's since then, that is the only type of facility that responds to my applications. When I am asked the "why did you leave" question, I have always told the truth, patient to nurse ratio was too high. This promptly ends the interview. Are all SNFs the same??? I have another interview in the morning and I dread that question. How can I answer it without sounding like I just gave up too soon. Sorry this is so long!! The a.m. interview is at another SNF!!


Specializes in Emergency, Tele, Med Surg, DOU, ICU.

SNF's by nature will have a lot of patients. That is the way it is. At 56 years old, in their eyes they are taking a chance at you. So when you say you quit because the patient to nurse ratio was too high, you just talked yourself out of the job. Perhaps saying it was not a good fit or it did not align with your long term career goals - would be a better choice of words

nurse beth makes a good post about this, check her archives!


Has 25 years experience.

This nurse is not 56. You're mixing this post with the one above.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

This nurse is not 56. You're mixing this post with the one above.
Per posting history, the OP (original poster) is 56 years old.

To answer the question, usually it is a horrid idea to complain about a prior employer or say anything to portray them in a negative manner, even if your complaints may be accurate. The interviewer may wonder if (or when) you'll start griping about the staffing issues at the new facility.

Always keep the conversation light, breezy, and upbeat. You left your last job to explore other opportunities and steer your career in a different direction. You are grateful for the array of opportunities your previous employer bestowed upon you during the four months you worked there.

Avoid any mention of unsafe or suboptimal staffing because this complaint will make you look like a whiner, especially since you'll be interviewing at another SNF. Also, avoid painting your previous managers in a negative light. Good luck to you.