Is the term multi-tasking now synonymous with working hard?

  1. I just got a new job, but one of my recent interviews didn't go so well and I'd like to discuss it. The interview was for a home health RN job where I would be working with one patient at a time. When the interviewer asked me what I thought my weaknesses were I told her that I didn't like multi-tasking, didn't like being constantly interrupted in my tasks, which was why I was interested in working with one patient at a time in home health.
    This did not go over well at all. The interviewer jumped on it and told me that in home health I would be expected to demonstrate flexibility, for example a client might need to reschedule an appointment and that would require me to adjust my visit schedule. She said that home health was face-paced (another buzzword) and that I would be expected to do my work efficiently because there would be multiple clients to see each day. She said that home health was not an easy job.
    As politely as I could, I told her that I was fully capable of being flexible, hustling and working hard, and that those things were not the same thing as multi-tasking. After giving it a moment's thought, the interviewer agreed with me. However, I think that she remained suspicious that I was not a hard worker and was searching for an easy job.
    Is multi-tasking now synonymous with working hard? Should I just write "I am a fast-paced multi-tasker!" in bold letters at the top of all future job applications?
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    About Lemon Bars

    Joined: Apr '14; Posts: 113; Likes: 110
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    8 Comments

  3. by   AJJKRN
    I bet you just unintentionally hit a nerve like when people say to us nightshifters that the patients just sleep all night. Oh man that has not ever been the truth for me! She might have just thought that you thought that working with one patient at a time would be easier and less-overwhelming, like you said, or she may just get easily offended no matter what someone says. Gotta love interviews and first impressions huh...
  4. by   Sour Lemon
    The weakness question is a stupid one. "I only follow the rules that make sense to me." would be my honest answer. Or, "I never attend mandatory staff meetings because they're boring and unproductive."
  5. by   llg
    Hmmm... that gives me something to think about. Thank you.

    I think you have a good point. It's currently fashionable to equate working hard with muliti-tasking -- and that's a shame. As you know, they are not the same thing. But it seems that many people have fallen into the trap of thinking that the more tasks you can squeeze into a day, the better -- even if things aren't being done as well as they could be. That's a sad fact of modern life that needs to change.
  6. by   KeepinitrealCCRN
    You can definitely work hard without multi-tasking and you can also multi-task without working hard. We as nurses must do both at all times and how dare we take a break! Also staffing, upper management etc. force us into this and we are able to do it and adjust but it affects the patients. Yes, we can multi-task but the constant interruptions and having your mind change gears all the time causes room for errors and things falling through the cracks. I think your answer was a great one unfortunately she did not like it but maybe that wasn't the job for you and hopefully your new job is going great!
  7. by   Nurse Beth
    Here's some examples of how to answer "What's Your Greatest Weakness?'.

    "I'm very direct and focused in my work but I'm working on practicing reflective listening with my patients. I'm starting to see how much I can learn from my patients when I create a space for them to share their concerns."

    or

    "English is a second language for me and I am fluent but working on learning all the idioms to better communicate with my patients."

    Avoid using cliches such as
    "I'm a perfectionist". Always turn a negative into a positive. Also avoid using weaknesses that are not germane to the job, such as "I'm not skilled at Excel" (doesn't matter in home health). Likewise, do not use a weakness that is a core skill , such as "I'm not good at math" because your safety could be called into concern.

    There are tons more examples in my book below. Best wishes, Nurse Beth
  8. by   altavista
    the term "multitasking" is, IMO, a useless word because it is means different things to different people.

    First, technically speaking, the human brain cannot parallel process and perform two independent tasks at the same time. That would require two independent brains.

    In practical terms, multitasking means being interrupted from one task to do another task (seemingly) more urgent, then returning to the first task to pick it up again. Research has shown the this "multitasking" is a terribly inefficient way of completing tasks because it takes time to figure out where you left off on the prior task, why you were doing what you were doing, etc.

    It is best to finish one task, put it away, then start another. When that is not possible, it creates a lot of emotional stress keeping track of where one task was left off for another, then remembering to return to the prior task, etc. It is good management practice to create a work environment where tasks can be completed... more efficient, more productive.
  9. by   Lemon Bars
    Quote from altavista
    the term "multitasking" is, IMO, a useless word because it is means different things to different people.

    First, technically speaking, the human brain cannot parallel process and perform two independent tasks at the same time. That would require two independent brains.

    In practical terms, multitasking means being interrupted from one task to do another task (seemingly) more urgent, then returning to the first task to pick it up again. Research has shown the this "multitasking" is a terribly inefficient way of completing tasks because it takes time to figure out where you left off on the prior task, why you were doing what you were doing, etc.

    It is best to finish one task, put it away, then start another. When that is not possible, it creates a lot of emotional stress keeping track of where one task was left off for another, then remembering to return to the prior task, etc. It is good management practice to create a work environment where tasks can be completed... more efficient, more productive.
    Well said! I have also read that this is true. If only we could convince managers of this.
  10. by   Nurse Beth
    In an interview, instead of framing something as negative "I don't like multi-tasking" frame it as something positive "I enjoy working 1:1 with patients and meeting their needs"

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