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Questions to ask perspective employers!

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by brookorrn brookorrn (Member) Member

brookorrn specializes in med-surg/or/ambulatory/geriatric psyc.

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I am currently a nursing student beginning my hunt for a job. I have several threads on here that tell what kind of questions the employer will ask me, which I am thankful for those, but I don't know what kind of questions to ask the employers in order to find the right job for me! Can someone help!? Please, I have searched and searched to no avail! If there is a thread out there that addresses this issue, can someone point it out to someone who does not seem have the capability of finding it? thanks in advance!

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Ask how you will be oriented. Will you have a CONSISTENT preceptor throughout your entire orientation (this is best), or will you be assigned to a different nurse every day (not a good arrangement). Ask to see and take home a copy of the job description, orientation skills check-off sheet, and employee evaluation form. Ask how and when you will be evaluated. Are you expected to do self-evaluations? (If so, keep a notebook from day 1 of employment to jot down notes about your work performance. For example, if you care for a particularly complex patient, or work especially well with a particular patient or family member, make a note of it to mention on your self-eval. Also make note of learning experiences such as near-miss med errors.)

If you are going to a specialty area, ask whether there are any certifications that you must obtain, and how you will go about doing so. Your employer should provide this training on-site, or locate and PAY for a class (both tuition and work hours) at another facility. This pertains to certifications like fetal monitoring, ACLS, PALS, NRP, etc.

Ask about the length of orientation, which should be a minimum of 6-8 weeks for a general med/surg unit, and up to 6 months for specialty areas like any ICU, OR, L&D, ER. Once orientation is complete, who will be your mentor? Will you have an identified person on your shift to whom you may address clinical questions, ask for assistance with complex patients, ask for assistance with employee issues, help you to navigate hospital politics, etc? It is my personal opinion that this service should be available to you for your first year of employment.

Ask about the average length of tenure of the nurses working on the unit and shift to which you will be assigned. RUN, don't walk, away from any unit and/or shift that has less than 50% experienced nurses (meaning more than 2years experience on that unit). Units which rely too heavily on new nurses are not a good place to start out. You will not have adequate resources to guide you in your care of patients, develop critical thinking skills, help you to prioritize and organize your care, or guide you thru the system of hospital politics. Any unit with a high turnover should raise your suspicions about poor working conditions, poor leadership and management, and poor patient care. Don't accept a job on a "suspect" unit just because it is the clinical area that interests you. It will not be worth it.

Ask about the resources the hospital provides to you to further your education. Is there a unit-based educator or CNS who will provide inservices? Does your hospital provide CEU courses? Are you allowed to attend outside conferences?

Ask about scheduling and on-call. What shift will you work? 8 or 12 hours? Rotating, or not? (If possible, try to avoid rotating shifts. This is very hard on your body, and often too big of an adjustment to make, when added to the stress of starting a new job and new profession.) Is on-call required? If so, how many hours per pay period? Are you paid for being on-call? Are you provided with a beeper, or required to use your own cell phone for contact?

Ask to shadow a nurse or two or three. The more the merrier. You will gain perspective on teamwork, cohesiveness, employee satisfaction, quality of care, etc. on the unit.

Good luck!

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GingerSue has 20 years experience.

1,842 Posts; 28,398 Profile Views

the above are all good ideas

I was going to say to ask about your orientation,

who will be your preceptor, who will be your ongoing

resource person, who will be your supervisor.

Ask about ongoing education opportunities -some employers

will help with courses or tuition if you agree to work for them

for a agreed upon period of time.

Ask about scheduling - will you be making your own schedule and

days off, or will someone else be doing this? Maybe there is a master rotation, or maybe staff self-schedule.

Ask about being on-call, working over-time and whether you will be paid for this or if you will be given time off to make up for the over-time.

Ask if shifts are 8 or 12 hours with breaks.

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Daytonite has 40 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

2 Followers; 4 Articles; 14,602 Posts; 101,633 Profile Views

hi, rn2008lpnfirst!

here's a link to lists of questions to ask employers for as well as a link to what to do if asked an inappropriate question:

here are some questions i have saved in a file as well:

  • what kind of professional advancement is available to nurses here?
  • what are some of the attributes of working for your hospital?
  • if i were to get a job offer from another hospital, why would i want to work for this one?
  • what is the criterion you will use to select the person you are looking for?
  • what kind of support can i expect from the nursing educators and preceptors?
  • how does the hospital handle new grads that might be slow in becoming oriented to their new jobs?
  • how long have you been the manager of this unit and what is your nursing background?
  • how many nurses have quit and how many hired for this unit in the past 6 months? how long have some of the nurses been working on this unit?
  • who will be precepting me? can you tell me something about them? will i always have the same preceptor or will there be more than one?
  • have you ever had a new grad who didn't seem to work out? how was it handled?
  • if for any reason it seems that orientation is just not going well for me what will happen and who should i talk to about it?

i have just read some information on what to do if asked an inappropriate or illegal question in a job interview (since there are some things employers aren't allowed to ask you about), and the resource gave three suggestions for handling this kind of situation:

  1. answer the question and ignore the fact that you know it's illegal or inappropriate
  2. answer with, "i think that question is not relevant to the requirements for this position." or something similar.
  3. refuse to answer. if the question was an illegal one, contact the eeoc (equal employment opportunity commission) office after the interview and report the person/business.

questions about the following are illegal to ask at a job interview here in the u.s.:

  • your personal life (married, divorced, children)
  • family planning
  • pregnancy
  • provision for child care
  • religious preference
  • club memberships
  • height
  • weight
  • dependents
  • age (birth date)
  • ethnic background
  • maiden name
  • native language
  • physical problems
  • psychiatric problems
  • spouse's employment and/or earnings
  • credit rating
  • home ownership
  • automobile ownership

welcome to allnurses! :welcome:

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loricatus specializes in ED, ICU, PACU.

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Ask for the percentage of new grads that stay one year & that make it through the orientation period (the dropout rate). Also, ask for particulars on the reasons individuals did not make it through orientation & the one year mark.

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brookorrn specializes in med-surg/or/ambulatory/geriatric psyc.

75 Posts; 2,049 Profile Views

Thanks everyone for your replies! These questions are great and will give me a base to use to find that perfect job (hopefully)! I am soooo excited that I wish I could begin my career today!

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NRSKarenRN has 40 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

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have you seen this thread: wondering why you can't get hired or promoted: resume + interview hints!

from hospitalsoup.com:

questions for management positions

questions to ask the employer

why is this position open?

how many current postions are open on unit?

what is hospital turnover rate, retention rate new grads after 6 mo and 1 year?

what is facility doing to promote retention employees?

educational opportutnities: are CEU classes provided, pay for confernces, certification classes, continuing education, tuition reimbursement to advance career

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