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  1. Three days ago I had an interview for a part-time clinic position at a nearby hospital. The interview was actually quite intense and fast-paced, it was a panel zoom interview with 5 upper staff members. I was booked for a 30-minute slot and when I tried to enter the call a bit early was told another interview was in progress. It seems that they were interviewing quite a few people in a row. The interviewer who would be my manager kept her face very neutral so I wasn't too sure what she thought. I honestly felt like I did okay, I did fumble over words a few times due to nerves but didn't get the vibe that I was bombing it or anything. The manager let me know that they hoped to have a candidate selected by the end of next week. My question is if I am not selected as a candidate, what is the likelihood of me being interviewed again should another clinic position open up with the same manager? Another nurse was telling me that once a manager interviews a candidate they are unlikely to re-interview them at a later date unless they were close (second best) to getting the initial job. From your experience, is this the case? I would be interested in reapplying at a later date but want to know honestly how good my odds would be at this location if I don't get the job this time.
  2. I was in an interview the other day and was asked about a mistake I have made. I was kinda at a loss for words and sat there for a moment thinking of what I could say without taking too much time/silence to answer...and I thought about a time when I had made a wrong time medication error. I told them about a pt who had a Lipitor ordered for 1800 and I gave it at 0800. I went on to say that my unit manager was notified, doctor was notified as well being given a one time order for that med, that the patient also ended up being fine, and how I had to fill out all of the proper paperwork for the incident. I also went on to say what I learned from the experience and things that I put in place to ensure that it didn't happen again. But when I was driving home, I had that "why didn't I" moment and started thinking about other things I could have said that may have been a better response. Was this wrong to admit during an interview??? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks 🙂
  3. Nurse Beth

    New Grad Losing Hope of Getting Job

    Hi Nurse Beth, I graduated from nursing school in December 2019. I passed my NCLEX Feb 2020. I just moved to Minnesota in January. I have no nursing experience in a hospital, no CNA experience, no hospital volunteer experience. I have applied to 20+ jobs and have been rejected to all. The farthest I have gotten were 2 job interviews (one of them was a phone interview). I did not know I should have been searching for jobs way before graduating, so I'm a little behind. My question is: should I just apply to CNA jobs and work myself up from there, start looking for long term care RN jobs, or be patient and apply to more hospital jobs. I am really losing hope. Thank you so much! Dear Losing Hope, CONGRATS on graduating! It's way too early in the game for you to lose hope. You are 20 applications and 1 month in. Many new grads take months to land their first job. You're experiencing a bit of reality shock. Yes, it definitely is recommended to start your job search while you're still in school, and more schools should tell their students. For now, the best thing is to optimize your resume and hone your interview skills. I would love for you to read my book listed below, because I have so many tips for you from an insider's point of view. Right now it's all about strategy, and finding a way to stand out from all the other applicants. Landing a job is your full-time job right now. Resume You must individualize your resume for each organization. I sat in on a phone interview with a nurse from Ireland who was applying to the hospital where I work in California. He knew exactly what part of town we are located in, and that we were recently Stroke certified. He knew our mission and values and said he was working on his conversational Spanish (large Spanish-speaking population). You can see that he was a savvy interviewer and he definitely stood out. Have you learned to optimize your resume for automated tracking system (ATS) software by using keywords from the job posting? Important. Using the right words can get your resume in front of a recruiter Interviews Your resume landed you 2 interviews, but your interviews didn't get you to the next level. They are looking for someone who is a safe practitioner, and who will fit in. Candidates don't always understand that. For instance, an applicant prepping for a Tele interview may misguidedly study up on heart block interpretations. But a hiring manager knows you do not have experience, and they are not looking to trip a new grad up on their knowledge. Let's say they give you a scenario where you are alone with the patient in the room, and the patient collapses. They want you to answer that you'll stay with the patient, assess and support, and call for help. Initiate BLS if the patient arrested. This shows you understand your limits and are safe. Now if you think critically by saying you anticipate an EKG or labs, that's even better. Likewise, you can count on being asked some standard behavioral questions, and you need to prepare your answers. You will likely be asked "What's your greatest weakness?" A standard answer is "I'm a perfectionist" Standard, disingenuous, and it doesn't help you to stand out. An avoidance answer is "I'm not good at public speaking". It's not relevant because public speaking is not a skill required for the job. An unwise answer is "I can't handle stress" because stress management is required to succeed as a nurse. A good answer is "I'm not a natural at delegating. I try to do everything myself. I'm beginning to understand that it takes all of us working as a team to get it all done. In my last clinicals I made a point to ask my PCT to please take a set of vital signs for me because I was passing meds. It worked out great, and I'm going to keep practicing" In this way you turned a weakness into a positive. Notice the word weakness was never used in the response. Always be prepared with a couple of questions when asked "What questions do you have for us?" A good answer is "Do you have shared governance, or what ways are there to get involved in projects once I get through orientation?" I have a bookful of tips like these for you. There are bold risky moves, such as cold-calling, but there's a right way and a wrong way to do a cold-call. Consider re-locating if need be to land that all-important first job. You don't say where in Minnesota you live, but Mayo Clinic is known for being new grad friendly. Best, best wishes to you 🙂 Nurse Beth
  4. What's Your Greatest Weakness? This question most assuredly will be asked. It's dreaded by most people, because it raises a fear of vulnerability and besides, who wants to reveal their weaknesses? The key is to take control and turn it around into a positive. Here's how to turn it into an interview win for you. They Don't Want to Know Your Weakness The first thing to understand is- they don't really want the truth! They definitely don't want to know your personal weaknesses (you binge on ice cream, you're insecure, you get jealous). You won't get points for candidly coming clean and telling them you forget your mother's birthday. It's designed to see if you demonstrate self-awareness and are committed to professional growth and improvement. Show them that and you will be an outstanding candidate. Don't Give These Answers to "What's Your Weakness?" Do not say "I'm a perfectionist" or "I work too hard" The interviewers have heard these too many times, and it's disingenuous on your part. Do not say "I panic when I get overwhelmed" or "I can't do math calculations" because math skills and stress management are both core skill sets needed for the job. Do not say "I'm not good at public speaking" or "I struggle with Excel formulas" because these are not skills required for the job and it will be seen as a copout. Guidelines for Composing Your Answer When talking about a negative, be brief and matter of fact (de-emphasize the negative) Spend one quarter of your answer on your weakness and three quarters on how you are improving (re-focus) Frame your weakness as an opportunity you've identified for professional improvement and growth (self-awareness) Speak to your action plan (initiative) Avoid using negative words such as weakness or failure (positive focus) Use positive words such as challenge and area for growth (positive focus) Describe the progress you've made in a story or example (stories are memorable) Close on a positive note (leave positive impression) In this way, you have skillfully turned a weakness into a positive while still owning it. Choosing Your Weakness When choosing the weakness you are going to use for your interview, pick something work-related and fixable. Make sure that it's not something critical to the job, but that it is something germane to the job. Your goal is to present a genuine weakness that does not damage your potential for the position. Answer Examples "English is my second language. I read and write well, but I want to be more comfortable with idiomatic English. I'm taking an English as Second Language course at the community college." " I don't always delegate as much as I should, because I always want to do everything myself! I've come to see that delegating is important in order to work as a team and get everything done. Every shift on my last rotation, I made it a point to delegate more each day. It's still out of my comfort zone, but I'm improving daily." "I'm working on my time management skills. I'm learning to batch my tasks whenever possible, and to carry enough needed supplies with me. When I anticipate what my patients might need, I'm better prepared and save time." Rehearse Your Answer Rehearse out loud with another person until you feel comfortable with your delivery. Each time it should be a little bit different while still including all your talking points. Do not memorize your answer. Tip: Be prepared with two answers, as they may listen to your first answer and then say "That's great, thank you! Now can you tell us about another weakness?" Good luck! I think you got this! Related articles: How to Prepare for Your Inteview How To Answer The Most Common Nursing Interview Questions Why You Need an Elevator Speech Uncensored Thoughts of a Nurse Interviewer Job Interview: What are your strengths and weaknesses? For answers to more of your career questions, be sure to visit the Ask Nurse Beth Advice Column.
  5. Hello everyone! I am looking for 100% real advice and insight into my situation. To start I have been a nurse for 3 years but I have worked at a psychiatric facility for most of that time with one company. I recently accepted a job at a recovery center for detoxing patients and residential. The staff is very friendly, so there are no issues there. Is it chaotic and disorganized? Yes, but that is almost every detox or psychiatric facility so I can manage that. My issue with this is that I have been hearing that nurses have been left by themselves on the overnight shift with 18 or more patients that may be actively detoxing. They use recovery coaches (RCs) and sometimes an RN will have one RC or none at all on nights. There is no security and it was a female RN left alone in a building with 18 male patients. To me, this is concerning because I am going to be working nights and I was not told that I may be alone on a night shift during my interview. Is this typically the standard? Am I being paranoid about the situation? I am just picturing a medical or behavioral emergency happening on the shift being by myself or with an RC ( they are not medically trained ). I am still on orientation (week 2) and by looking at my schedule, it looks like my orientation is ending next week. I have pondered on the thought of not continuing here based on this. When I work in psychiatric units the patient was more of a handful, but I was never alone with that many patients and I always had back up during code grays. Can I please have some guidance here?
  6. MyAimIsTrue

    Typical orientation time for new hire?

    I've just completed my first year of nursing (whew!) and have accepted a new job. They are giving me two weeks of orientation, so eight shifts. To me that doesn't seem like much, but is this typical for an experienced nurse?
  7. Dear How to Answer, You ask a really good question. Everyone dreads the behavioral type questions that put you on the spot. I'll give you a formula for answering your question and others like it. I call them the "negative" interview questions because they prompt for a negative response. But the last thing you want in an interview situation is to leave the interviewer or interviewers with negative associations about you. You cannot possibly anticipate every version of a negative question you may be asked in an interview, but you can learn and apply principles for answering negative interview questions that will get you through any question. Your goal is to turn a negative into a positive. You do this by framing your answer in a way that ultimately places you in a positive light. For example, in your case, "What is the one thing you least liked in your last job?" you could answer, "There were many things I liked about my last job, but there was one thing I didn't love. I worked as a waitress, and when it was really busy, the kitchen would get behind and dinners would be delayed. This would make the customers upset, and they would take it out on me, their waitress. I learned to anticipate those times and tell my customers ahead of time that it may take a few more minutes than usual to get their meal, but would they like some bread or maybe a free beverage while they waited? If I did this before they became irritated, it would pre-emptively de-escalate the situation. I think sometimes it actually made them feel they were getting special treatment- that was my goal, anyway. At first, I would be irritated by the kitchen staff for being slow, but the other thing I learned was that the kitchen staff was just as stressed as I was. I realized we were all a team and needed each other to make it work." By giving this example, you have turned a negative into a positive. More so, you have demonstrated that you are a good team player and understand customer satisfaction. Being a team player and having customer satisfaction skills are both skills that nurses need and employers look for. Note that you never said, "I have great customer skills," (which is not a memorable statement), but instead you gave a memorable example of your great customer skills. Follow the 70/30 rule. Segue from the negative to positive as quickly as possible.When talking about a negative, spend only about 30% of your time on the negative. Spend 70% of your time on the positive. In the example above, most of the time is spent on your skills and solutions to the problem, and not the actual problem. Strategically Pick Your Examples Pick an example that helps show why you are the best candidate for the job. You could have said, "I didn't like the hours or my scheduled shifts at my last job", but this example does not show your problem-solving skills or adaptability. There would be no point. By contrast, if you said, "I worked in a dentist's office answering the phone and making appointments. I love to learn and wanted to learn more skills, such as how to do billing or take Xrays", you could go on to elaborate what you did to take advantage of learning opportunities. You will be seen as someone who sets goals and seeks challenges. Watch the Tone Even though you have been prompted to answer in the negative, take care with the words you choose. For example, never say, "I hated..." instead say, "It was uncomfortable", "I disliked...". etc. Avoid highly emotive words, and always take the high road. You will sound more professional. Final Point Again, you cannot prepare for behavioral questions by memorizing answers. Rather, incorporate the principles. If you are presented with a question you can't answer, for example, "Tell us about a time you had an ethical conflict with a co-worker", you can say. "While I haven't had that exact experience, I have had..." and segue to another example you have prepared to do with conflict. The interviewers will go with it. Hope these tips help you in your next interview! For more tips, read my book below. Best wishes, Nurse Beth
  8. Tell Me About Yourself Preparing for the "Tell me about yourself" question is critical to the success of your interview. But it's such a broad question that it's hard to know where to start. It's important to be focused and purposeful in your response. Everything you choose to say should be planned and have a purpose. Answer Purposefully It's probably not relevant to landing a nursing position in the ED that Valentine's Day is your favorite holiday, or who your favorite band is. So how do you decide what to say? You have your whole lifetime to pick from, so how do you narrow it down? Think back to a time when you were on a first date with someone who you knew you wanted a second date with. You shared things about yourself designed to further attract this person, right? So you already have experience in selectively choosing what to share about yourself. It's the same in an interview. Identify the traits and characteristics they are looking for in a candidate. For example, one thing every employer looks for is trustworthiness. Read the job description, and then read their mission statement to understand the kind of employees they are looking for. Look for keywords. You may very well be a perfect fit for the organization and share the same values, but if you don't tell them, they will never know Talk in Stories Superlative words are soon forgotten, but stories are remembered. Rather than saying " I'm a very loyal person", say "Once I commit to something, there's something in me that makes me see it through. Two summers ago, I planned to go on a mission trip to Mexico as a Youth Group Leader. I knew most of the teens in the group and we had been planning this trip all year. They were so excited! At the last minute, a close friend of mine invited me to go on a Caribbean cruise with her and her family at the same time. I really wanted to go with them, but there was no way I could back out and let the kids down. I went to Mexico and have no regrets." See what you remember from this article a week from now. You may not remember anything else, but you probably will recall the story of the Mission trip to Mexico. Present-Past-Future Model One way to organize your thoughts is to use the Present-Past-Future model. Present: Tell them where you are now in your job or school situation Past: Tell them about your previous work placement Future: Tell them you hope to be employed by them Here's an example of how to answer "Tell me about yourself:" Here the applicant started in the present, segued to the past and ended optimistically in the future. She/he also communicated (in code) "I am a leader, a people person, a self-starter, savvy (I understand about pt satisfaction), and loyal"...right? That's how to answer "Tell us About Yourself", friend! Hope this helps you nail your next interview. Related Articles: How to Prepare for Your Interview Uncensored Thoughts of a Nurse Interviewer
  9. Crawdadssing

    Bombed New Grad Interview

    How do you pick yourself up after a really terrible interview? The manager took several phone calls during it, she made faces at a few of my answers and after every behavioral/clinical question she told me what I answered wrong and the answers she was looking for. I left feeling defeated. Is this typical?
  10. I have worked in the ER most of my time as a nurse, but I also have home health and clinic nursing experience. For a long time I’ve desired to switch into L&D or NICU/Pediatric nursing as I really feel this is where my passion and niche with nursing is at, and yet if I apply I can never get a call much less an interview for these! Even once a hospital called and told me “well you don’t have experience for that but we’d love to have you in our ED”. Has anyone else had this issue? Any ideas on what I can do to get myself considered for these specialties I’ve wanted to work within for so long?
  11. Hi all, I recently interview for a hospital position that I applied for day shift but after interviewing I was told the day shift was given to someone internally so they only had nights available. Unfortunately I couldn't take the night shift position. My recruiter was nice enough to allow me to interview for another position which was psych. After interviewing I don't think psych is a good fit for me. I have no prior psych experience and to be honest im afraid to work on a dangerous unit. Would I be wrong to turn this position down ? I don’t want to waste my recruiters time or the hospitals time god forbid I don’t like position?
  12. Hi, Gang: I'm collecting a compendium of Interview Questions and best answers for folks prepping for a correctional nursing job interviews. Could you chime in with yours even if you might have posted elsewhere on this forum? It would be good to have them all in one place for newbies searching this site (I will also include them on a special section of my blog). Thanks for all the time and effort you spend helping new correctional nurses learn the ropes! 🤓
  13. BarefootNurse3

    Resume, Cover Letter, Interview Help

    I keep getting rejected from hospital jobs, even new grad jobs! I'm getting very discouraged. The only RN job I've held is at a SNF in the short term unit but I'm really eager to leave. Sadly, SNF experience isn't acute care experience so it doesn't count when I try to apply for a non-new grad hospital position. I live in California and the job markets competitive. I will have my BSN by August first, but I'm wondering if that will offer much benefit without acute care experience. I'm wondering if I should remove my previous jobs (teacher/medical assistant) and my second associates degree to make room for more information about my current RN job or add in clinical experience from nursing school? I did my senior preceptorship on a med-surg/telemetry unit. Lastly, I've tried to edit the summary as I feel it is weak but I've read conflicting information. I've read that some people don't even believe a summary/objective line is necessary since everyones objective is obtaining a job. I'm unsure what to put for the summary and how to change the bullet points of skills. Also, I've looked at various resources for practice interview questions to keep myself prepared. If anybody has any nurse pages with common interview questions I would really appreciate that! Any help would be greatly appreciated! 🙂 I'm going to start looking at hospital jobs in different states because I don't think I can stay in a SNF. If anyone knows of any states that hire new grads, I've been looking at Colorado because I heard Arizona is seeing a lot of COVID patients right now. Resume Blank.pdf CoverLetter Blank.pdf
  14. Look at your resume!!! Please don't send a resume if you have none of the job qualifications, unless your cover letter has explanation. eg. enrolled in education program etc. I was taught in LPN and BSN program how to prepare a resume. Is this a lost art being skipped?? Also agree with our BB members that calling facility and finding out who is department manager, then forwarding your resume to them along with hr is great idea. I work in smaller organization than hospital but has taken me over two months to get open positions advertised and three weeks to get resumes sent to me...those that sent to me directly have interview same week. Resume Writing References Resume Tips: Perfecting Nursing Resume, Cover Letter, Online Job Applications Good Writing Skills Are Essential Get the Job! Getting Your Desired Position 101 One Strategy To Land a Nursing Job: The End Around How To Get a Job As a New Grad Nurse How I Got My Dream Job! I got a job!!!! BOO-YOW! 3rd-Party Resume Tips & Cover Letters Resume versus CV – What’s the Difference? Resume versus CV: Which Is Right for You? These 5 things are making your resume look dated Nursing Student Resume Sample Resume Tips for Nurses Nurse resume sample How to write a cover letter that sells your skills Tricky cover letter mistakes to avoid Expert Resume Writing Tips You Need To Know Now Final Cut: Words to Strike from Your Resume How to Answer Difficult Interview Questions Job Interview Questions Questions Interviewer Shouldn't Ask Questions during the job interview should be related to the job you are inquiring about. The following questions is illegal to ask during a job interview here in the U.S.: Your personal life (married, divorced, children) Pregnancy Provision for child care Religion Club Memberships Dependents Ethnic background Native Language Physical Problems Psychiatric Problems Spouse's Employment Credit Rating Home Ownership Questions You Should Ask (From Hospital Soup) Resigning From A Position Check your facilities policy and procedures--most require that you give notice equal to amount of vacation provided, often 2-3 weeks; long term employed RNs can be 4-5 weeks. Managers often need 1-3 months notice to be eligible for rehire --don't burn your bridges. Resign from a healthcare job the right way Books Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job: The ultimate guide to landing your first nursing job...and your nexT! How to Become a Nurse: The Exact Roadmap That Will Lead You to a Fulfilling Career in Nursing! (Registered Nurse RN, Licensed Practical Nurse LPN, ... CNA, Job Hunting, Career Guide How to Answer Interview Questions: 101 Tough Interview Questions Cover Letters: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful Cover Letter (employers, targeting, creating, questions, resume, job hired, dead, winning, application, interview, career)
  15. Dear Nervous, Thank you for the kind words about my book Your Last Nursing Class...How to Land Your First Nursing Job and your next! It's fine to buy time and give a thoughtful response, but one minute is a long time in that situation. There's a difference between not rushing to reply and freezing. When you freeze during an interview, you can handle it a couple of ways. Candidly Own It "I'm sorry, I'm just having a brain freeze for some reason. Can we come back to it in a moment?" said openly and sincerely. -gains time and sympathy Segue This is my favorite. If you are asked a question you did not anticipate, segue to another topic. For example, if you are asked "Tell us about a time you broke the rules at work" you can say "I haven't had that exact experience but I do remember a time in school when we were warned never to be late to clinicals. I was rushing into the hospital entrance with just a couple minutes to spare and there was a lady in the lobby looking very lost. I asked her if she needed help and she answered in Spanish (I speak Spanish as well). She was trying to find the ED because her husband had been admitted from a traffic accident. I felt like I couldn't just point the way, so I took her to the ED and found someone to help her. I was 15 minutes late to clinicals." Sense of Humor Using a sense of humor in an interview is risky because if you are already nervous, chances are you won't have the confidence needed for an effective (funny) delivery. On the other hand, when humor does work, it's powerful. "Drawing a blank! My Mom/husband friend warned this would happen if I didn't eat breakfast! Why are they always right?" This could be funny or lame. Prepare The number 1 reason for a brain freeze is not enough preparation. Practice and practice some more with friends. Consider videotaping yourself. There are about 10 interview questions you are very likely to be asked. When you are prepared, you gain confidence. A couple of examples include: Tell us about yourself (there are some things you must not include) Why do you want this job? What is your greatest weakness? (pro tip- have 2. See book for why) What questions do you have for us? Tell us about a time... (you had a conflict with a supervisor, coworker, observed unethical behavior, broke the rules, etc) In the book below, I give you the answers nurse managers are looking for - for each one of these and many more, such as the situational question posed to new grads (you are in a room and your patient stops breathing/appears in distress/etc.) Finally, it's important to control your nerves. Hiring managers do look for confidence and an extreme case of nerves can cause you to lose the job. Remember, they like you, they've already picked you out among others. Be positive, don't try to be perfect, be yourself, and know that they are people just like you. Best wishes, Nurse Beth
  16. How do you answer this question? What are some examples of strengths in nursing and weaknesses that have a positive spin? Nursing Job Interview Mistakes & Questions... 4 Common Nursing Interview Questions and Answers Related topics... How To Answer The Most Common Nursing Interview Questions How to Answer "What's Your Greatest Weakness?"
  17. Recently went on a job interview for a position I would really like. I had previously interviewed (& declined due to extremely low salary) a different position with this company 2-3 years ago.. When I went to the most recent interview, the same Director I interviewed before was on the panel again. He introduced himself & didn't seem to recognize/remember me. I started to remind him but he was walking slightly ahead of me to sit down for the interview. 4 other people came in at that time & sat down. One of them I recognized as a family member of someone I know socially. I didn't say anything about it either because I didn't want it to appear I was trying to use that for any reason. The interview itself seemed to go well. It lasted about an hour. I sent a follow up "thank you" to everyone for interviewing me. The Director responded stating I "was welcome" for them meeting with me & "it was good to meet with you..again." That was it, nothing about when/if I would hear anything about the position. Obviously after I left he must have remembered us meeting before. I seriously was NOT trying to hide the fact we had interviewed before, I just felt by the time the interview was over it was not appropriate to bring it up as he asked me if I knew my way out to the lobby, I said yes & left. I was still feeling positive about the interview but now, his email, I feel sick to my stomach. I don't know if I should leave it alone & just what to do. Feedback would be appreciated.
  18. It's Spring and it's New Nurse Graduation Time! Last week I attended one of two New Grad Banquets hosted by my hospital for the graduating classes of our local colleges. This one was for our community college ADN program (my alma mater). The purpose of the New Grad Banquets is to celebrate new grads and for the students to meet us and get a sense of what we stand for. At the same time, we begin to identify the stand out candidates. We are looking for new grads who will be a good fit. CONGRATS! and welcome! The conference room, located at a very nice local hotel, was beautifully decorated. Round tables were dressed in floor length heavy-weight white tablecloths with shorter square black overlays. Black folded napkins stood upright at each place setting. Red twist-wrapped hard candies were strewn for accents. Each table had a centerpiece tent placard printed with the name of a nursing unit- ICU, ED, MedSurg/Oncology, MedsSurg/Peds, L&D, etc. Students could sit at any table they chose, and table-hop. Encircling the room were long, narrow tables featuring trifold conference style poster boards showcasing each nursing unit, to encourage circulating and conversation before dinner. Large colorful banners with our hospital name, logo, and mission statement swooped down from the ceiling. The first hour was to meet and mingle. Our hospital's Versant Program Director, Nurse Recruiter, CNO, Nurse Managers, Directors, and Educators were all there to congratulate the nursing students. And to make mental notes. We are looking for new grads who will be a good fit. After awhile, the Nurse Recruiter announced that dinner was served and said a short prayer. Seated at my table, I focused in on our group and listened. They all had such interesting stories of why they had chosen nursing, and how they overcame challenges to get through school. Each one inspired me. Sitting back and surveying the room, I noticed the same animated conversations going on at every table. The room was chock full of bright, fresh young people. You could feel the positive energy. But I know that fewer than a handful of these bright young candidates are going to land a job in acute care within the next six months. What separates the successful candidates from their peers? Here are two stand out candidates I met, and my uncensored thoughts (in bold). New Nurse Grad STAND OUT Candidate A I met Javier, whose wife had delivered a baby that morning in our hospital! Now you certainly can't plan that kind of attention-getting event, but it definitely worked in Javier's favor that night. It's their first, a healthy girl, 9lbs 12 ounces. His mother-in-law urged him to leave as both mom and baby were doing well, and to attend the banquet. Wise mother-in-law. Javier is on the quiet side, a big guy with an open face and humble demeanor (he's teachable, he listens well. Non-entitled. He'd be appreciative to be selected ). He gave the impression of solid. Steady. Family guy with family values. A good fit The Program Coordinator and I texted back and forth later about Javier (all names are covered by the hearts). I'm sharing the texts to because hospitals do compete and pursue new grad nurses who stand out. Right or wrong, first impressions count for a lot when hiring. Javier made a good first impression because he is authentic and genuine. His values are a good match for ours. New Nurse Grad STAND OUT Candidate B This young woman wowed! Ashley approached our table with her hand extended, introduced herself, and shook everyone's hand. We were all still talking about Javier's baby. Ashley hadn't heard yet that Javier's wife had delivered. She instantly teared up, which I could tell embarrassed her a bit. (OK, a spontaneous cryer. I get her. Like me) Turns out Ashley has children of her own, so it was a mother moment. We bonded. Warm and assertive and nice... a good fit First impression: outgoing, confident, spontaneous. Ashley seated herself and asked us some well-planned questions. "Does the hospital support nurses who go back to school?" (do we ever! what days do you need off?) "Your Peds unit is imbedded on MedSurg. Do you plan to expand?"(she knows about us. Did her homework) "I want to go on and get my NP. Do you think it's important to get MedSurg experience?" (smart, smart girl- she shared her future goals while asking our advice) Ashley came to the banquet prepared and with purpose. She understood that this was a working dinner, and she worked it. Turns out she is President of her Nursing Class (why was I not surprised?). My uncensored thoughts: The window for Versant applications has not even opened yet at our facility- no matter! Don't wait for her app-do whatever it takes to hire this young woman. Do not let her get away. Call her in the morning. New grads who stand out and are good fits have the best chance of getting hired. YAY!! We found some awesome new grad nurses! I hope my uncensored thoughts help you understand what's important to hiring type folks. And the very best of luck to you in landing your first nursing position. But you need more than luck! You need to prepare. For example, how can you make your resume stand out?
  19. mads197

    Job decision dilemma

    Hi there! I'm getting ready to graduate in May with my BSN and am currently interviewing for jobs. My dream is to work in peds and go become an FNP. I was unable to land a job in peds at the local hospital where I live now but have an offer for adult med-surg (not very excited about it). I also have a more enticing offer a few hours away towards where my family lives in the pediatric ICU. I'm very torn because I'm so drawn to the peds job, but don't want to move away from the life and friends I have here in town. However, if I stay, I'll have the comfort of the town I love and friends I know but then I'll be sacrificing the job that'll give me more experience I desire. Does anyone have any advice about which choice to make? I'm trying to weigh my pros and cons but seem to be running in circles here.
  20. HI, I am an PMHNP student due to graduate in May 2020. I am anxious about interviewing for my first position and curious about what kind of questions I should ask and would be appropriate. In other words are there any strategies you would suggest when when interviewing or questions a new graduate should ask that may not be so obvious. I am primarily interested in out-patient clinic or substance abuse treatment centers. I have 10 years nursing experience in various settings, primarily ER in a psychiatric hospital as an ER nurse and also MH crisis evaluation. I also have 3 years experience in a substance abuse treatment facility, and a couple years acute MH and ECT treatment. I am obviously interested in salary negotiation but not too worried about this conversation other than not understanding what kind of pay structure is more reasonable/desirable... salary? RVU's? Confused how pay structures work and what this means for me when negotiating. I am also curious if it is reasonable to ask about on boarding, orientation, or mentoring? As a new grad, I think my ideal scenario would be to enter a clinic with a team that is supportive toward training and mentoring. Is it reasonable to ask for a grace period, or lower client volume while learning the ropes? Also, should I expect to be paid less while orienting/training in this fashion? What seems daunting to me, or what I fear is that I will enter into a job an be expected to take a full load of patients while learning how to be a provider, look up best practices for my patients, navigate insurance companies and document in the medical record all within a 15-30 minute patient contact window. These are my two big concerns but I am wondering if there are any other suggestions for hidden nuances of the practice environment that I should have on my radar? also, Please forgive me if this topic has been posted and answered several hundred times, but I could not easily find my answer through the search feature.
  21. TheCommuter

    Hard and Soft Skills

    I attended an all-staff meeting that was being facilitated by the hospital administrator, chief nursing officer, and a couple of other members of the site leadership team. I will never forget a statement the administrator made. "We are now hiring nurses for personalities. We no longer hire nurses for their skills," he said. I raised my hand and kindly asked him to elaborate on this statement. He explained that almost any newly hired nurse can learn the skills necessary for bedside nursing. But what management desires in a nurse, and what they cannot teach every individual, are certain work-related social skills such as basic courtesy, getting along with others, caring for patients as part of a team, maintaining camaraderie, and being a good coworker and the type of caregiver that patients and colleagues will like. He went on to say, "Now that Medicare reimbursement rates will be determined by patient satisfaction scores, it is important that we hire and retain nurses and techs who have good attitudes." I clarified, "So you will now hire people based on their soft skills and hope they are able to grasp the hard skills?" The administrator and chief nursing officer simultaneously confirmed that, yes, they would hire staff based on the personality conveyed during the interview process. The old way of hiring prospective employees would be gone forever. Nursing Requires Two Types of Skill Sets In the nursing profession and in other occupations, there are two types of skill sets: hard skills and soft skills. What are hard skills examples? The hard skills are the hands-on, technical, procedural skills that a typical bedside nurse needs in order to perform the job effectively. Examples of hard skills include starting peripheral IV lines, performing dressing changes, inserting urinary catheters, administering injections and checking vital signs. What are soft skills examples? Soft skills are the intangible social skills that an employee needs in order to facilitate communication and navigate the workplace successfully. Soft skills are comprised of the personality traits, positivity, cordiality, work ethic, dependability, workplace etiquette, behavioral competence, emotional intelligence, reliability, communication style, personal habits, optimistic attitude, interaction, and unspoken social graces that come together to render someone a desirable employee. A person who does not possess soft skills is often viewed as an undesirable employee, even if he / she has a wealth of hard skills. Employers Can't Train Soft Skills It has been said that employees can be trained to perform the hard skills, but the soft skills come from within. For instance, an organization can easily teach someone to apply a wound vac machine, but they cannot train this same nurse to have empathy for others, communicate effectively, or change the selfish personality that she has displayed since middle childhood. Soft skills are important enough to make or break a person's career because, although a pleasant person can thrive in the workplace without a high intelligence level, a very intelligent individual with hard skills will struggle in his or her professional life without polished soft skills. In fact, the Center for Public Resources did a national survey and found that 90% of the time people are fired for poor attitudes, inappropriate behavior and poor interpersonal skills rather than deficient job skills. A lack of soft skills will impede the ability to foster interpersonal relationships in all aspects of life.
  22. To be perfectly blunt, interviews can be rather nerve-wracking because a lot is at stake. After all, you really want to be considered for this available position, and you only have one chance to make a good first impression on the interviewer. Another aspect that adds to the stressful nature of the interview process is the fact that you are most likely competing with many other applicants for that prized job opening. Based on my personal experiences, the vast majority of the most common nursing interview questions have remained constant and unchanged over the handful of years that I have been in this profession. Without further ado, here are some of the most common interview questions. Tell me about yourself Although the interviewer is not wanting to listen to your life story, he/she does want you to describe your personality, educational attainment, career goals, and professional experiences. Tell me what you know about our company You should conduct some research and be at least somewhat knowledgeable about the entity that might very well become your future workplace. You will look good to the interviewer if it appears that you have been doing your 'homework' on the company. So, tell us what you know about _____ nursing Insert any nursing specialty into the blank space provided. You will stand out to the interviewer as a candidate who truly has passion about the specialty if you know more about it than the average person. If your dream is to work as a nurse in a well-baby nursery, you'd better be knowledgeable about the area in which you envision yourself working. Tell us what your current/former boss would say about you The interviewer is basically looking for clues that will shed light on your work ethic and interpersonal skills. Direct quotes work well. "Jill always said I was dependable" is a direct quote that says a lot. Tell me why you want to work here Your reasons for wanting to work at this place of employment should be positive. Also, make a connection between your career goals and how they can be achieved at this company. Describe to us how you perform under pressure The settings in which nurses work can quickly turn into pressure-cooker environments. To be blunt, the interviewer does not want to hire anyone who is so emotionally fragile that they'll shatter like plate glass when faced with the day-to-day pressures of the job. Discuss your biggest strengths and weaknesses The interviewer wants to hear about strengths that would be assets in the workplace. Since we all have weaknesses, the person conducting the interview will know you're a boldfaced liar if you deny having any. Are you a team player? Healthcare facilities prefer to hire people who work well with others, have good social skills, get along well with patients and visitors, and can pull together as a team for the sake of patient care. Discuss your salary requirements This question is sneaky. Some companies have strict pay grids and other facilities are unionized, so salary typically cannot be negotiated at these places. However, smaller workplaces may offer some wiggle room for negotiating the salary. The important thing is to not price oneself out of the market. What motivates you to be a nurse? Companies prefer to hire healthcare workers who are motivated by intangible ideals, not concrete realities such as money. Even if cash is your ultimate motivation, do not elaborate on your need for money. Recall a difficult situation and describe how you handled it If you have healthcare experience, they want to know how you have dealt with angry doctors, emotionally upset families, or difficult patients. If you lack healthcare experience, you can discuss a difficult situation that occurred in school or a previous workplace. Tell us why we should hire you This is the last time to truly sell yourself to the interviewer. Emphasize your positive attributes, reaffirm that you are a team player, and tell them why you are the best candidate for the position that they need to fill. Do you have any questions for us? Ask the interviewer a question or two, whether it pertains to nurse/patient ratios, length of orientation, or educational opportunities. You might appear uninterested if you have no questions. By the way, please read Part 2 and Part 3 of this series for more interview questions and how to answer them! Nursing Interview Questions (Part 2) 10 Toughest Nursing Interview Questions (Part 3) Want a laugh? Check these "nursing interview" toons... Nursing Job Interview Stories Job Interview: Phone Not Ringing Nursing Job Interview Mistakes & Questions... Great video on Nursing Interview Tips - Check It Out! Most Common Interview Questions For Nurses.pdf
  23. Hi everyone! I work bedside in the NICU for about 8 months. I hate it. Management sucks, completely understaffed so I've found myself in unsafe situations and so, on. I have a contract with them that I knew I would break eventually because I knew I wouldn't end up there for even a year. I applied to a plastic surgery clinic position (cosmetic - Brazilian butt lifts, breast implants, tummy tucks, etc.) This plastic surgery is all over TV in my city even though he's just starting practice and he's pretty popular on social media. I had to do an online test, a phone interview, interview with the doctor and manager and finally an interview with his business advisor today (which I've never heard of having to do before). They all absolutely loved me. However, are these red flags? 1)I would be the only registered nurse working in the entire clinic. Surgeries are Tuesdays and Fridays and the doctor would be in another clinic Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays doing other surgeries. On M, W, F, I would be the one seeing every post-op patient from Tuesday and Friday by myself without having the doctor to consult. I would do patient education, dressing changes, and other stuff that for right now I don't know.. 2) I would have to write his progress notes. They use Nextech, which I'm not familiar with but I'm really good with computers. However, writing his progress notes? That seems weird? He said it's because since he's only there Tuesdays and Thursdays, he wouldn't have a chance. 3) No insurance and no 401k. The business advisor told me they're in the process of getting it for the employees. My current job has both. Because of this, when we spoke about pay, I told them I would want the highest they're offering because it almost matches my current job. Surprisingly, they agreed and said I could be looking toward raises in the future. 4) They have another building they plan on moving to, that's bigger and owned since they're currently renting out. It's already built according to everyone, so the business advisor was trying to assure me that this is a real thing and that if I'm part of the team as they grow, it would be a huge learning experience for me. But how do I know that's really happening? 5) I would be with him Tuesdays and Thursdays as his scrub nurse I guess. He has 1 medical assistant currently and hiring 2 more. Do they help during procedures? What would be my role? I guess this isn't a red flag but I'm just confused. 6) He only wants a brand new RN. Isn't that weird for something so big like surgeries? He said he doesn't want nurses with bad habits and that he wants someone young because he's young and wants someone with him that's in the long-term. He told me his extremely strict, demanding but nice. He says he just wants his clients to get the best work, but how does he expect this with a brand new nurse? 7) Last but not least (sorry) - the staff briefly mentioned (like VERY briefly) that their only RN left. They have been in practice for less than a year, so I don't know what may have led her to leave beforehand? I might be looking into it too much but I feel like that's a major red flag? Anyway, thanks so much guys. EVERY single comment means the world to me. My parents and other family members have been telling me I'm crazy for leaving my current job which has good pay, insurance, 401k and room for growth but I'm so depressed in that job. Breaking my contract is also something that will be big because of the money and the fact I'd be burning bridges with this hospital franchise but I don't mind, as long as I'm not making the wrong decision. But I'm not sure if I'm getting red flags. 😞
  24. Nurse Beth

    Why You Need an Elevator Speech

    We all could use an elevator speech. And if you ever plan to look for a job, or network, then you need an elevator speech. An elevator speech is a short persuasive speech to tell others about you, and to pique their interest in you. You should have your elevator speech polished and ready when the opportunity presents. Today I was chatting with Laura, a senior year nursing student who is graduating in two weeks and hopes to work in our hospital. We were standing in the hall on the third floor outside the elevators when who should step off the elevator but my good friend and Versant Residency Director, Ashley. Me to Ashley: "Hi, Ashley! Hey, let me introduce you to Laura. Laura has just submitted her Versant application." Me to Laura: "Laura, meet Ashley! She's our Versant Residency Director. You want to remember her name! LOL It's Ashley" Laura extends hand: "Hi" Missed Opportunity Laura missed a golden opportunity to make a lasting impression. Here she was, face-to-face with the person who is going to put her application in either the REJECT pile or the KEEP pile....and she missed the moment to make herself memorable. What could Laura have done differently? "Hi, Ashley. I'm so glad to meet you. I've heard such nice things about you from my Clinical Instructors. I've applied to your Versant program, and I want you to know I am passionate about Pediatrics. I want to work here because of the way your Pediatrics Program is growing. My son's pediatrician is Dr. Pal, and he practices here. He's told me several times how he prefers the nursing practice here at Happy Hospital. My name is Laura Lee. I hope you'll take a second look at my application. Ashley, would it be OK if I call you later in the week to touch base?" An Elevator Speech Should: Be short. Sixty seconds tops, thirty is better. Succinct but impactful. Be memorable (personal example helps). Be energetic and enthusiastic Be goal-oriented (networking, job seeking). Tell them what you're passionate about. End with a Call to Action if appropriate for the situation. An elevator speech can be modified for use at a Meet and Greet, any networking function, a conference, or a job fair. Here's an example of a very short job fair elevator speech. The goal here is to engage the recruiter in conversation and to spark their interest. "I'm Laura Lee, nice to meet you. I'm a newly graduated nurse. I've been in school forever, and can't wait to start my nursing career. I am passionate about Pediatric nursing. Can you tell me more about what your hospital is looking for?" Practice, Practice The more you practice, the better you will become. You have to practice out loud, and not just in your head. Without practice, you will tend to ramble and repeat yourself. Again today, I talked with another 4th-semester student who started out very focused. "Hi, I love it here, it feels like family. I want to work in L&D. I've loved it ever since I cared for my sister when she had a long recovery following a C-section...." She continued at length after that, but I confess I soon tuned her out for two reasons. One, she is a soft-talker and her voice ebbed and flowed. We were in a noisy crowd of people and it became too hard to keep asking "What?, sorry?" Keep a strong, even pitch. Two, I sensed there was no structure, and I could hear enough to realize she was circling round and round and repeating herself effusively. Have a beginning. Have an ending. Try using an elevator speech the next time someone asks "What do you do?" and gauge their reaction. Build on their response and refine your speech. Use it with the next person, and repeat. Practice does make perfect! Delivery Delivery is everything. You need to be poised and confident. Don't be rushed, too intense, or overly effusive. Practice so that you sound casual and conversational. Make eye contact and offer a firm handshake along with a genuine, warm smile. Good luck! Having an elevator speech ready will help you be confident and ready when the opportunity presents.
  25. Be sure to check out my two previous articles on interview questions: How To Answer The Most Common Nursing Interview Questions and Nursing Interview Questions (Part 2) contain plenty of nursing interview questions and answers. This is my third essay on how to answer common nursing interview questions. What are your feelings on working nights, weekends, or occasional overtime? In this situation, honesty is the best policy. If you accept a 12-hour night shift position when you are truly a diurnal (daytime) person, your existence might be miserable for months, years, or however long it takes to transfer to day shift. You might also feel bad if you accept a weekend schedule that causes you to miss your children's Saturday morning sporting events. Tell us about your leadership/management style Honesty is also the best policy when answering this question. It is perfectly acceptable to admit that you feel more comfortable following the lead as you gain more experience. If you are already a seasoned nurse, you can keep it general by saying that your leadership style depends on the situation at hand. If we hire you, how long would you plan to work here? Facilities generally shy away from hiring candidates whom they perceive to be job hoppers, so it would be best to indicate that you plan on establishing a long-lasting relationship with the company. Tell us about a previous mistake and the lessons you learned from it We've all made mistakes, so be honest. The mistake that you divulge may or may not be related to nursing. For example: "I used to delay charting until the very end of each shift, but realized I wasn't making the most of my time. I've learned to chart during the shift to improve my time management." Describe how you maintain competence (stay current) in the nursing profession Nursing is not simply a job. It is also a journey filled with lifelong learning. You can discuss the ACLS course you took earlier this year, or the critical care conference you attended recently, or the mental health symposium you visited, or whatever it is you do to maintain or augment your nursing knowledge base. How did you like working at _________? Fill in the blank with the name of your last workplace. Keep it positive without sounding as if your response is programmed or canned. If you have no paid work experience, offer to discuss how much you liked school, a volunteer job, a retreat or camp, or any organized experience that involved working with others. Why did you leave your last position? If you are still employed the interviewer may ask, "Why are you considering leaving your current job?" Again, remain positive and discuss how you want to pursue other opportunities that lead to professional growth. If your employment was involuntarily terminated or you were forced to resign, be truthful without heavily dwelling on it. However, you must showcase your ability for honest introspection. "I was let go at the end of my 90 day orientation and now realize I was not a good fit for the ER" is a reply indicative of honest self-reflection. Describe your former nurse manager or supervisor I urge you to maintain an upbeat tone, even if you disliked your former manager. You do not want to give the impression that you are a nitpicky complainer. Keep the response positive without engaging in excess flattery. "Carole was a professional who maintained a calm composure, even in stressful situations" will work. If you criticize your former manager, the interviewer might wonder if (or when) you'll personally attack him or her. How would a job with our company help you meet your personal goals? A number of honest responses would be acceptable. "I enjoy demented elderly residents and a position with this company would allow me to come into frequent contact with this patient population" or "I've always wanted to work at a level one trauma hospital and this facility fits the bill" are acceptable answers. The interviewer wants to see you are truly interested in the company and not simply planning to hop to the next job. To date, what has been your greatest achievement? You can discuss an achievement that is either linked to nursing or totally unrelated to nursing. Many nurses say that attaining their nursing degree has been their greatest achievement. Others state that forming a family has been their greatest achievement because it has given them a greater understanding of the human experience. 10-toughest-nursing-interview-questions-part-3.pdf