Positive work environment

Nurses General Nursing


I am soon to graduate from a BSN program and in the job market. What do you look for in a positive nursing work environment? What types of questions should I ask during interviews to assess what type of work environment I might be joining as a new employee?

Lynn Casey RN

46 Posts

This is a hard one!I went to the CCU where I was going to work and had a look around.On outward appearances it looked great!They had made up poems about the DR's,had pictures of the group in extracurricular activities(ie dress up tea parties,beach parties etc).They had several photo albums on the unit,a kiddie board(pics of kids and pets)and a joke book.Sounds great eh?NOT!They were so "clicky" they ignored all new comers.A twelve hour night being ignored is extremely painful.They would make a point to discuss activities without me and if I offered up something relevant,I got eyeball rolls and was told I wasn't being spoken to,mind my business!I took it personally until I noticed they did this to everyone new.Then,if I was sharing a moment with a DR,they couldn't handle that and would interupt or cut me off.The head nurse was one of them,and had the balls to tell me I could never aspire to be as good as any of them and should pick one as a mentor!Thank God,I wasn't a new grad and had a mentor already who made me realize this was the most ignorant pathetic group of people I ever had the displeasure to work with!I told the head nurse I picked them all as a fine example of how not to be and moved on.After I left I set a good example about what is tolerable vs unacceptable behavior and 20 left behind me!Now the average experience base in this CCU is less than a year!

Anyhow,go to the unit before you take the job.Ask about the activites outside of work,groups etc.Good Luck!

sharann, BSN, RN

1,758 Posts


There are positive environments out there, and you are smart to be concerned about working in one. I left a very mean environment (my 1st 3 months new grad) and am now in a much better and cohesive place.Like Lynn, these nurses did all they could to let me know I was NOT one of them,a nd that if I played the game right,I might deserve to be...one day.They talked amongst themselves in their own language(not English).They did so all night and in front of me. This was alienating and humiliating.Thank goodness I am in a more nurturing and down to earth place now!!! You shouldn't nor must you stay in a unfriendly place.There are plenty of hospitals that will be glad to have a positive individual.

Observe the atmopshere...Use your gut feeling.Also,notice how the staff interact and how they react when introduced to you.Good clues.

Good luck!



349 Posts

I agree with the other posters...go there first, observe the staff in action. I would even go so far as to ask if you could tour the unit with another staff nurse or something for 30-45 minutes. I had a horrible experience in my first job, too, and when I went to interview on other units, the very first thing I did was ask to walk around with another nurse to get a feel for the unit. The nm's honored my request, and I took a job on a unit that made me VERY happy. Also ask about things like rn to pt. ratios, how assignments are made, scheduling (I prefer self-scheduling), and maybe even see if you can be introduced to a few of the docs. And, as another poster said, TRUST YOUR GUT. One thing I've learned is that more often than not, that little voice that speaks up and tells you something's not quite right is often correct, and ignoring it can be bad. Be on high alert, keep your eyes and ears open, especially for conversations happening around the unit. In fact, I would suggest that if you have time, go to some units now and see if you can 'take a tour.' Tell the nm you're going to graduate soon, and are just interested in checking out various units you may want to interview for. That way, you can practice your 'homing' skills and will have a better idea what to watch for when you're going on a 'real' interview. Good luck!!

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