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"When Was the Last Time I Wow'ed a Patient?"

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by Mully Mully (Member)

Mully specializes in SICU.

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I recently went to a job interview and one of the first questions I was asked is, "When was the last time you wow'ed a patient?" Up until this point I thought the interview was going pretty well. I had worn my nicest suit, shaken my interviewers hand firmly when meeting, smiled when appropriate, and all of the rest of the textbook niceties of the dreaded interview. You are reading page 4 of "When Was the Last Time I Wow'ed a Patient?". If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

maelstrom143 has 10 years experience and specializes in PCU.

397 Posts; 13,221 Profile Views

I recently had a similar question on a phone interview. Except my question was, " When was the last time you went above and beyond for a patient?" I can't remember exactly how I answered, [...].

Seriously??? What is considered "above and beyond" when dealing with a patient? I have done this for 8 years. I have held a lot of hands. I have cleaned a lot of backsides, started a lot of IVs, given shots that the patient swore he never felt...held family members as they cried and said goodbye, held the hand of a dying patient as she let go...stayed after work because I promised I would spend time with a patient and so I did...these are people just like us, there but for the Grace of God go we...what we do will come back to us and should not be viewed as "above and beyond" anything. Our actions are guided by our desire to help another fellow being. Shame on that interviewer for asking you such an asinine question.

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461 Posts; 8,216 Profile Views

"When was the last time you 'wow'ed a patient?" is not the same question as "when was the last time you went the extra mile for a patient?" Since the question itself makes so little sense in the nursing world I guess it would be fine to answer one that you think is sort of close to that - and does make sense, which is probably what I would do - but it seems as though the person asking the question wants to hear about a reaction of some sort from the patient, because how would you know they were 'wow'ed otherwise?

It's the kind of question someone who is not a nurse or who hasn't been near a patient in decades would ask. It sounds like something someone in sales or marketing would ask so there is some risk in re-interpreting the question. It doesn't indicate a lack of imagination on the part of the interviewee if they are flustered by it.

That was my first thought when I read the OP..... This is the type of question that would be asked by someone who has no experience as a nurse and has never had to care for patients in a hospital. Many of the patients I have had to help take care of have dementia or are zonked out on meds, and won't remember who you are or what you did for them the next day. As was mentioned earlier sometimes we have to do things that the patients don't like for their own good, but they don't see it as help or appreciate it. Someone with experience would understand that.

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I'm not a nurse, but please don't flame me. Let me give you a different perspective on the question.

As an interviewee you should be greatful for a question like this. The interviewer just lobbed you a softball. (S)He is giving you an opportunity to brag on yourself. They are trying to find out if you are the type of nurse who goes into work and just puts their time in and leaves or are you the type of nurse who cares about their patients, enjoys their job, and will go "above and beyond" for the patient.

A lot of you are acting like (s)he asked when was the last time you "wow-ed" ALL of your patients. (S)He didn't. They asked for when you "wow-ed" ONE patient. Of course there are going to be people who you can never please. The majority of people are going to be neither thrilled nor angry. Occassionally you are going to impress one person.

Many of you have described situations where you have "wow-ed" the patient, and you don't even realize it.

One person mentioned putting lotion on a patient's feet, because they enjoyed it. You patient may not have said they were "wow-ed", but I bet they noticed that no other nurse did that for them and were greatful when you were on duty.

Another person mentioned that the patient would say wow is it over after you started an IV. I guarantee that they noticed that you didn't hurt doing a procedure like some of the other nurses did.

Here is an example of when an ENTIRE FLOOR OF NURSES "wow-ed" me enough as a patient that I wrote a letter to the CNO and copied my surgeon (who was chief of services at the hospital). I was in the hospital for 4 days following surgery. I can't stand to be still even if I HURT, so I "ambulate." The floor I was on had 4 wings extending from a central nurse's station. Three to four times each day I would walk 10-20 laps around the floor. EVERY SINGLE NURSE I passed gave me a warm smile and spoke to me. They said "You act like you want to leave us" or "You go girl" or "I can't keep up with you" or even acted like they were calling a race and I was in the lead. It was the warmest, friendliest group of nurses I have ever encountered. You could tell they all enjoyed their job. No one had to encourage me to keep walking, but a patient who was reluctant to walk would have continued walking just to enjoy the praise from the nurses on that floor.

That's not the only thing that the nurses at that hospital did to "wow" me. The letter I wrote to the CNO was 3 pages long and mentioned something each of my RNs and CNAs had done "above and beyond" that made my recovery better.

I compare that experience to when I spent 5 days in another hospital following surgery. Only 1 nurse spoke to me when I walked the hall those 5 days. The others didn't even smile.

The nurses in both hospitals hung my IVs correctly, gave me the correct meds at the correct time, checked my vitals, etc. but the nurses at the first hospital made me feel safe and cared for.

The next time you go on an interview think about all the little things you do without even thinking that make your patients more comfortable or feel safe and cared about. Actually even if you aren't interviewing, you should think about it. It just might surprise you at how much you do and give you a real sense of pride.

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1,735 Posts; 19,650 Profile Views

I ignored this thread for days fearing a lecture and a op really asking us this seriously......glad to see that was not the case

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461 Posts; 8,216 Profile Views

"I'm not a nurse, but please don't flame me. Let me give you a different perspective on the question.

As an interviewee you should be greatful for a question like this. The interviewer just lobbed you a softball. (S)He is giving you an opportunity to brag on yourself."

You make some interesting points, but I still think it's a poorly worded and presented question. More like something a PR person would come up with. A straightforward "Give me at least one specific concrete example of how you went above and beyond your normal duty for a particular patient" would be better. Keep in mind who is being interviewed here. Contrary to what the general public may think, to be a nurse these days, you must be a college graduate, and in many cases these interviewees have bachelor's and master's degrees. And those nursing degrees are not easy to get. IOW they for the most part have sharp and analytical minds as well as being caring etc. Maybe some of the problem lies in that many of us feel somewhat uncomfortable bragging on ourselves and maybe understate our accomplishments a bit. That might be a good potential answer to the favorite interviewer question "What do you consider to be your biggest weakness?"

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To kind of toot my own horn here....

I wow patients every single day I work. I'm an amazing nurse (despite my inferiority complex as an LPN). I say I know this because I receive more compliment cards than any other individual nurse at my ER. I put an NG tube down a guy 2 weeks ago, and just last weekend I had another member of the same family. The patient was extremely apprehensive, but the mother of NG tube patient from the week before piped up and said, "Don't worry. He took care of _____ last week. You're in great hands!"

During the entire septic work up from IV to catheter to ABG the mother of NG guy did nothing but rave about my amazing skills, even when I had to use two attempts for the ABG she still praised me. Now that is something special, and I felt pretty damn good about myself the rest of the day.

I hope everyone else gets to feel like that at some point.

LPNs can draw ABGs at your facility??

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31 Posts; 1,345 Profile Views

As I nurse of 40 years all I can say is WOW. Hospitals are so concerned with Press Ganey scores and "client" satisfaction they forget patient outcomes some times. Be thankful you didn't get that job. It doesn't matter how many times you go "above and beyond" focus will be on what you did "wrong".

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Heidimc specializes in gastro, elderly, stroke.

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so true

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Heidimc specializes in gastro, elderly, stroke.

7 Posts; 656 Profile Views

Ha wow'd a patient yet again have to agree great thread! when you take 15 mins off your break when you have no time to eat to get them a paper is that wowing? when you spend endless shifts getting abuse from a patient and manage to keep calm and not be angry even though ur tired and short staffed and the relatives yell at you the day after cause you forgot one tiny thing ( all you wanna say is I spent 3 days arguing with physios/docs/social/OT so your dad wouldnt go to that home he hates and he kicked me spat swore as was confused and then you start on me too?) I stand calm and say im sorry we are trying, apologise again. that wowing? daily basis. We do this for the patients cause I always have and always will think of them as my mom or dad

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1,917 Posts; 15,114 Profile Views

That question makes me gag. How cheesy... So, the person that got the job probably played the game and said, "Oh, I searched the entire hospital for chocolate ice cream, because the patient threw the container of vanilla at my head when I brought it in the room for them. I just knew they'd prefer chocolate! Sure it was a diabetic patient, but the customer is always right!"

"Wowing" a patient isn't nearly as important as providing excellent, appropriate nursing care. What did you end up replying??

I could not possibly agree more. That question made me gag as well. We are nurses. Our jobs are to care for our patients, not entertain or "wow" them. Geez.

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Altra is a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

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One can only hope this management fad passes. It is endemic across so many industries.

I recently placed a call to my cable company to fix a technical issue. The tech on the phone was courteous, intelligent, and a good communicator. The problem was solved fairly quickly and I was pleased. But then the conversation turned to the "customer service survey". Knowing that my responses were important for the tech's evaluation by management and that her compensation would possibly be directly tied to aggregate survey scores, I did my best to answer the questions as positively as possible. But they bordered on the ridiculous and I eventually said to the questioner, "you know, this is just TV cable ... it's not a life-changing event, and I've said all that I have to say about the experience. Thank you."

Also recently I was surveyed by telephone by my bank. Again ... the questions were melodramatically ridiculous. "Can you imagine a world without XXX Bank?" Yes, seriously -- that was an actual question. And again I ended the conversation there, telling the surveyor that the question demeaned the intelligence of both of us ... thank you for calling and have a nice day.

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LadyFree28 has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma.

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One can only hope this management fad passes. It is endemic across so many industries.

^I have been waiting for 13 out of the 20 years of this "business model" of healthcare...that's all the years I have worked in healthcare. Wish I had the antidote! :nurse:

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