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How to Crush Your Nursing Interview (tips, resumes, and more)

nursing interview tips

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Podcast Transcription

Hello, people. Okay. Let me just make sure I’ve got everybody. Hi, this is Kattie Cleaver. There’s Jerry. Then here’s John and Emily. They’re helping me out here. Oh, and Max down here. They’re helping me get questions. If you guys have questions, please type them in the comments, and then I’m going to go through some points about new grad interviews. Then if I have not answered your question, I will go back to it. I’ll go through the tips I have on my background. There is a cheat sheet in the description. It’s my verbatim exact notes that I’m going to go over, so don’t feel like you have to quickly write things down, just go get your cheat sheet. You good?

 

We’re cool.

 

You have to go to the … Scroll down to their Facebook. Hold on, let’s make sure we got it.

 

Sorry guys.

 

Did you refresh? Maybe not.

 

I did not refresh.

 

Refresh. I’m going to get started. It’s going to take me a second, so you guys do some troubleshooting. Let me get Jerry in there. Jerry usually watches over Hannah, but he’s not right now because he’s just downstairs, so I figured, hey, why not have Jerry here?

 

I obviously did new grad interviews myself. I went through the process myself. Now I interview new grads with my unit, and I know some people that … It’s kind of creepy that I can see me on the other computer. Check out, yeah. There’s the link for the cheat sheet. I’ve done the interviews, and then I’ve also talked to people that really do this frequently. I do it intermittently, but people that do it a lot. I know some HR people, and talk about the process, what people look for, what I’ve looked for as not just an interviewee or an interviewer, but also a coworker. What am I looking for in someone that I want to be working with me?

 

Let me go through my points. First thing I want to say though. That view is just really funny of Jerry, right there. I like that. The first thing I want to say, these are tips. These are things to help you land your first job. This is not stuff to live or die by. I’m sure people have gotten jobs out there by not necessarily doing these things, but something to keep in mind, though. If you’re trying to do interviews and trying to just do the minimum, you could be not getting jobs and not landing jobs. If you’re messing around doing the minimum and not getting jobs, that’s time you’re not working, time you’re not getting paid.

 

It’s really important to really put all you can into all the interviews, so that you can get a job as quick as possible and start working as quick as possible. Doing the minimum really isn’t an option in my mind when you’re doing new grad interviews, especially because the market is so tough right now. John was saying that there were hundreds and hundreds of new grads applying for very, very few positions. You have to do what you can to stand out.

 

Let’s say you’re getting to the point where you’ve gotten your interview. These are my tips. Number one. The interview starts before you arrive. I’m calling to schedule an interview with you, are you courteous on the phone? If I leave you a message, is it taking you four days to get back to me? Is it hard to get an interview scheduled? Am I saying, “Here’s three or four dates,” and you say, “None of those work,” and you’re not making this a priority. I’m already learning a little bit about you when it’s really tough to schedule an interview.

 

That’s really, really important. I realize people have stuff going on in their lives, but if this is a priority, it shouldn’t be pulling teeth to get an interview scheduled, or you calling back rescheduling multiple times. That’s tip number one.

 

Actually, I went over these tips with Emily and John and they both had really good points to add. One of the things that Emily reminded me of is Google yourself. Employers will do this and people don’t get jobs because of their online presence. I’m not saying don’t be online. Everybody pretty much is online. Take a quick second to Google yourself. Maybe your Facebook is private, we still can see your profile picture, probably your cover photo. If you have something crazy there, and that’s the first thing people see when they look you up online, that may deter people from hiring you. Whether or not that is fair to whomever, but keep that in mind, what you look like online. That’s really, really important.

 

The next tip is, every single person matters. From the person that you walk into, the receptionist of maybe the HR department, or maybe if you’re interviewing on the unit, the nurse or the CNA that comes to get you from the front and brings you up to do the interview, if you’re not trying to even say anything to them or if you’re on your phone, not trying to make any conversation, or maybe we give you a tour of the unit and you’re really closed off or really don’t give this great impression. Not necessarily, don’t have to be this overwhelmingly courteous and amazing person, but if you’re just rude or standoffish, that speaks even if you don’t.

 

That’s really important to keep in mind is the impression that you’re giving, not just the person you’re interviewing with, every single person that you’re coming into contact with. That’s really important. Don’t think that just because if you’re a shy person, that doesn’t mean you won’t get a job. I’ve interviewed very shy people, but I can see through the shyness, that they’re a good candidate. Don’t think that just because you’re shy, you can’t get a job, and you have to make these amazing first impressions. Just don’t make a really bad one by being standoffish or rude or not taking the time to say, “Hi, my name is Kattie. I’m interested in blank position. What do you think of the unit?” Stuff like that.

 

Next one, this is pretty obvious, but it’s important because people don’t necessarily follow it. Dress professionally and come prepared. Have one of those portfolios that … If you didn’t see that last video John did, the leatherish portfolio. Have that with some extra copies of your resume, put it on resume paper. We may have your resume already printed, but if you’re able to say, “Hey, I’ve got a fresh one here, here’s an updated thing of my references,” something like that. That looks great. If you look polished, professional, and you’re in a suit, not a polo and khakis, you’re in a suit with a tie, or you’re a female still in a suit, that tells me you’re serious about this job, you’re putting effort into looking professional and appropriate. That speaks pretty loudly, and if you’re not putting any effort into looking professional, that tells us something that maybe you’re not taking this super seriously, that you’re just seeing what happens.

 

Let’s make sure I go everything on that one. Something that’s really important that I recommend. Let’s say that you’re going to do your interview. Look up the place online first. Get to know their mission, vision values, things that are important to that organization, and have questions that you can integrate throughout the conversation and mentioning those. That tells me you’ve done your homework. You’re looking up, it’s not just you showing up to interviews trying to see what kind of job you’re getting, you really are instead in this and it’s important to you. Because if this is important to me, I want to see that it’s important to you too. I’m not supposed to point. This is important to you.

 

My next one, be confident but not cocky. You’re interviewing, and I want you to be interviewing and speaking like you have something to offer me. Have something to offer the organization. You are confident. While you might be a new grad, you’ve got something to offer. That is something that if I can hear and see confidence in people, even if they’re shy, even if they’re scared, even if they’re timid, I can hear and see confidence in people. I keep forgetting Jerry’s back there.

 

There’s a difference between that and being cocky. Keep that in mind, because I can also tell when someone is being cocky and not confident. Being a new grad is a very humbling thing, and you really have to earn your keep when you’re getting on a unit as a new grad. If you’re walking in there pretty unnecessarily confident, that also speaks. You’ve got to have this humble confidence when you walk in and when you’re talking.

 

I interviewed someone, she was very, very nervous, but she had great answers. Even though they were through a shaky voice, they were great answers. We got done with the interviews for the day and it was like, “She’s real timid, but man, I was impressed with what she said even though she was timid, and I feel like once she’s comfortable, she’s going to be a rock star.” Just because you might be nervous, you may have some great things to add. Keep that in mind.

 

Next one. Always have questions at the end. I can’t stress enough how important that is. It shows that you’re not just going through the process, it shows that you care. It shows that you’re not just like, “Nope, I’m fine, I don’t have any questions.” John mentioned in that last video, have that portfolio open and then have a list of questions. What’s your nurse to patient ratio? Has that changed recently? How often are you running within your matrix? Where would I float? Do you offer any tuition reimbursement?

 

Those kinds of questions, specifics about this job that are important to you. In the interview, we’re not going to answer all those questions for you necessarily. We’re not going to go through every little question that you may have about this job. The interviewees aren’t going to necessarily provide every aspect of that. One time, I did an interview as being interviewed and I had all these questions written down. I actually didn’t have questions at the end because she answered all of them. But I had them written down and checked off, “This was answered.” She saw, “I have a bunch of questions I want to get answered, and they were, thank you for addressing all those questions.” It’s really, really important to have questions at the end, and it looks wonderful if you have them written down to make sure they get answered. That’s a really important thing.

 

I have another one. Don’t throw others under the bus. I interviewed somebody once. Typically, it’s like, “Tell me about a patient experience in nursing school. Tell me about a time where you had to do service recovery. Tell me about a time where you had to advocate for a patient.” Every time, it was throwing other people under the bus. “I came into clinical and the last shift nurse, he just didn’t get things done. He missed this, he missed that, and we had to do this, do that.” I don’t care what this other person didn’t do, I want to know about you and what you can offer and how you did, not someone else screwed up. Answering questions in that way really put me and everybody else off about … It’s not really adding value or really answering the question.

 

Going along with that, when you ask the questions like weaknesses and strengths, have genuine, legit answers. Be yourself. Maybe if they ask you a question where you don’t have a great example, tell me that. “You know what, I actually haven’t had a point where I have actually stood up and advocated very clearly for a patient.” Maybe have some other example that can relate to advocacy, or something you learned about it, or maybe a personal example. Have real weaknesses. Don’t say, “I worked too hard. I cared too much.” What are Michael Scott’s weaknesses? I work too hard, I care too much.

 

Over-invest in my job.

 

I’m over-invested in my job. And then my weaknesses are my strengths. Don’t do that. That’s a terrible idea.

 

We can really tell when people are giving us recycled, rehearsed, really not genuine answers to those questions.

 

Next one. Even if this job is a potential stepping stone, do not treat it like one. I was talking to a nursing student once who was telling me about doing clinicals on Peds. I don’t remember what it was. They were doing clinical on a unit that they had absolutely no interesting every working on. That was me, I was doing clinicals in units I knew I was never going to work on. They were super not nice to the people that they were working with because they didn’t want to work there. To be honest, no matter what, no matter what unit you’re on, even if you don’t have a desire to work there, or maybe you only want to work there for a little while to get some experience, everybody deserves respect and you’ve got to treat them that way, even if you’ve got no desire to work there.

 

Even if you maybe want to be an ICU nurse and you want to be an emergency department nurse, but you’re working on the floor and you’re putting in your time to be able to get there, don’t treat this interview, this job that people that work there like it, it’s like, “I can’t wait to get to the ICU. I can’t wait to get to the emergency department. I can’t wait to get to here.” That really puts people off. If you’re so concerned with that next step that you’re not going to put in the hard work here, that can be very evident in interviews.

 

If you guys have any questions, please comment, and then I’ll go over them when I’m done with my points. Maybe I’ll try and think of if there’s any other interesting things.

 

My last big point is, at the end of the day, talent and experience isn’t everything. Some people thing, “I’ve never worked in a neuro ICU before, I don’t think I could ever get that job. I didn’t do a clinical there, I’ve never worked there as a tech. I might as well not even try.” Speaking as someone who interviews people, if I have someone in front of me that has two years of neuro ICU experience, they show up late to the interview, their resume’s got an error or two on it, it took a while to get it scheduled, they didn’t have any questions at the end, they didn’t really put effort into the interview. Then I’ve got this new grad over here that I could schedule it very easily, they were kind and courteous on the phone, they were really professional for the interview, they made a really good impression, they immediately stuck their hand out and firm handshake from everybody, confidently saying, “Hi, my name is John. I’m interested in this position. I want to hear what you guys think.”

 

I could tell that they were passionate. Maybe they didn’t have neuro ICU experience, but maybe they knew some stuff about the neuro patient population. “I’ve never worked in a neuro ICU, but ventricular drains really interest me.” You can tell they’ve used some of the right buzzwords where they’ve at least looked something up and they’re interested in it. That would speak way more to me as someone who’s going to be looking for someone to join our unit, that, I would much rather have that person as a team member. While it might take a little bit longer for them to be competent on their own, they’re going to be a lot more reliable to me as someone who’s maybe got some experience, but they’re checked out. They’re just here for the paycheck, they’re just doing what they have to do because they know how to be a neuro ICU nurse.

 

I don’t know if you guys have ever seen this thing. There’s this image that’s on Facebook, it’s gotten shared a lot. It’s Things That Take Zero Talent. Being on time, having work ethic, effort, body language, energy, passion, attitude, being coachable, doing extra, and being prepared. That is just the epitome of what you’ve got to do for these interviews, what you’ve got to do to get an interview, what you’ve got to do to succeed as a nurse and be someone that is desired by employers, and make it easy for you to get a job if you are coachable, if you can respond well to constructive criticism, if you’re going the extra mile, if you’re working your butt off, if you’re not understanding something and you’re taking time in your time off and trying to learn more about … Sending our [inaudible 00:18:16] home, “Here’s homework about how to do this.”

 

We had one wonderful nurse today, but she was a new grad. It was a lot to start in the neuro ICU as a new grad. We’d say, “We’re going to be talking about mannitol today.” We gave mannitol. She’d go home, she’d look up mannitol. She would, “Here’s what I learned about mannitol last night.” That person, we want to work. They’re working hard for us, we want to work hard for them.

 

Those are my tips. Also another thing, and Emily pointed this out, that I really liked it. Those things that take zero talent, you can also lose a job that way too. Those things that take zero talent that anybody can do this. People can really lose jobs that way, too. It’s really important to make sure that you’re doing that stuff and it speaks really highly to the people that are interviewing you and the people you’re going to work with.

 

Do we have any questions? I saw some come through, but talking and reading is not cool. What do we got?

 

Some of the other ones that actually just disappeared were, how do I keep from saying “um” in an interview? This person recorded themselves and …

 

Oh my gosh. Have you guys seen my videos on YouTube? I say “um” all the time still. The more you do it, the more relaxed you are and the more you are practicing questions. I would look up online, look up some questions. It was really helpful for me because when I’m in a stressful … I consider these stressful situations. When I’m in that situation, it really helps me to look up and try to have patient experience stuff in the back of my mind.

 

Actually, my very first new grad interview, I looked up online some typical nurse interview questions like, “Tell me about a time when you had to advocate for a patient. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with a care plan that was established and how you handled it.” Those are the questions I actually got asked, but beforehand, I looked up some questions online and tried to get some patient experiences fresh in my mind. In my little notebook that I brought to the interview, I had them actually written down, just a couple buzzwords. “ER patient with bad pain management, called physician that was really mean to me.” I can recall that.

 

Having those things on the forefront of your mind that you’ve thought of recently that you can recall easily will help you flow through sentences easier because you’re recalling this thing. Try not to have this verbatim, “I’m going to say this, this, this, this, this,” so you can go back to them and just say them. I’m speaking as someone who’s interviewing people. I’m not counting how many times you’re saying “um.” It looks great if you can fluidly talk. People do that when they’re nervous. I’m not going to …

 

Just letting you know the way this is working, the comments are erased.

 

You can’t scroll down at all? I see some on here.

 

There are some, but they erase. You can only have four.

 

They’re disappearing. Your question doesn’t get answered.

 

I see lots of questions on here.

 

NRSNG of Instagram asked a question.

 

Can you get hired as an associate nurse, and do you have to take mid calc to get hired into a hospital? No? I can see them on my end. If you have your nursing degree, and this is my other thing too, if you have a nursing license, you’re passing your NCLEX or whatever, I assume that you meet this base … You guys good, you got it? I’m sorry, we’re going to get this.

 

This may answer a couple other questions. My helpers here are so helpful, it’s okay. If you are a nurse, I assume that you have passed these various things and you have this basic level of knowledge, and you’ve completed this base level of clinical hours. If I’m looking at your resume, and you have every single clinical hour listed, not necessary. If you’re interviewing for the neuro ICU and maybe did a specific amount of clinical hours in a neuro ICU, that would be good to have on there. Don’t list out, “I did blank outs in Peds, I did blank hours in the ED.” I don’t care about that. You’re a nurse, I know you, in nursing school, went through certain various clinicals.

 

You can get hired with your associates degree, absolutely, but most hospitals now, because of the whole IOM, they’re push for 80% of nurses to have their BSN by 2020, most hospitals are saying, “You either have your BSN upon being hired, or if you have an associates degree, that you have a timeline of when you’re getting your BSN done.” It would be good to have that timeline outlined before starting your interviews, because you will be asked that question.

 

You can get a job. It is a little bit more challenging with an associates degree. That also really depends on what market you’re in. If you’re in downtown Chicago, you’re not getting a job without a bachelors. That’s just the way that’s working. If you’re in someplace that’s maybe a little bit more rural with a bunch of ADN programs around, it’s going to be a little easier for you to get a job. Really depends on the marketplace.

 

We’ve got lots of questions. You can see them.

 

Wonderful. You can see them, great. Go.

 

In addition to all of those things you mentioned, is there any special tip you have to stand out from other people? Or is that pretty much covered.

 

That covers a lot of it. You would be surprised how many people show up not dressed super professionally. I really feel like if you’re doing these things, you’re standing out. If you’re looking up stuff about the unit beforehand, and I keep referring to neuro ICU because it’s what I know, but if you’re interviewing in a nice irregular ICU and maybe you’ve never had experience in an ICU but you’re, “I’m really interested in getting really good at ventilators, and I’m really interested in Ars, and I’m really interested in pneumonia and the septic patient.” You start dropping those little buzzwords to me, that tells me you care, you’re looking it up and you’re not just doing every single interview and hoping you get a job.

 

I think that would be great, is looking up whatever patient population and things about that specific unit or that patient population and things that apply to them. That is something that would … We went through all our interviews recently it was like, “She kept talking about very specific neuro stuff, and while she didn’t have a lot of neuro experience, I think this person only shadowed in a neuro ICU, but I was really interested.” “I really liked this person, the way she said her weakness.” It was an honest weakness and I loved it. She said, “I’m not comfortable with death. I know that’s not a great thing for a potential ICU nurse to say, but it’s not something that I’m super comfortable with. I only had one death and it was really challenging and really emotional for me, and I know I’m going to need to do that. That’s definitely a weakness of mine.”

 

I was like, I respect that. Death is a really tough thing, as a nurse, to deal with. For her to just, “Hey, this is what I struggle with.” A lot of us do too, and I appreciate that honest answer. Honesty and being genuine, we can really tell. That will set you apart.

 

What else we go?

 

Should we be concerned about red flag with high employee turnover, or just focus on getting that experience, even if the organization isn’t so great?

 

That’s a great question. Like I said, you have something to bring to the table too. If you know you’re a good worker and you’re an asset to the team. When I work somewhere, I’m loyal and I want to stay there and I know it’s important.

 

I would do your research on that stuff. That’s important for you to know in the interview, “What is your turnover rate?” Just so you guys know, the national turnover rate is about 15% roughly. If they tell you that their turnover rate is 30%, that is a red flag. If it’s between getting a job and not getting a job, that’s one thing, but if you’re interviewing at a couple places, ask them all what their turnover rate is. It’s very important for you to know. “Has that changed a lot recently?” Maybe they were 16% last year, but they’re 20% this year. “What’s going on? Did you guys have any changes? What’s your matrix? What are you supposed to be running and how often are you running in that?”

 

If it’s pretty not doable for you, you would have a little bit more life quality being somewhere else. I’m someone where, I love the neuro ICU, but if I was getting to a point where I could not handle it, if I was getting tripled every day and it was just too stressful for me, I’d rather work in a clinic and I’d rather do something maybe not ideal, but where I’m not losing my mind every day.

 

You’ve got to make that choice. I think that’s a question that you can answer … You’ve got to ask yourself that question. Maybe this might not be ideal, but is it worth it to me? I can’t really answer that for you, I’m sorry. Say all that to not really answer the question.

 

Next?

 

Can you begin working in a hospital while you’re in your same school?

 

Absolutely.

 

And as [inaudible 00:28:52]?

 

As what? Great question. Best thing you can do is a CNA. A lot of nursing schools require you to get your CNA license, so that may already be done. If I’m interviewing you and you have experience in a hospital as a CNA, check mark, I like that. You already know what it’s like to work in a hospital and chart. In a specific hospital, you know what it’s like to work on a team of nurses. You’re not teamed with nurses, you’re not necessarily a nurse, but you know what that flow is like. That’s the best thing you can do.

 

Other options are volunteering in a hospital. You can be a receptionist, an admin, a transporter. If you speak another language, it’s a great idea for you to become a medical interpreter. It pays really, really well, especially if you work in an urban area. If you can speak Spanish, all you’ve got to do is take this exam and then you can be a certified interpreter. That’s a wonderful job to have. That looks outstanding on a resume. Those are a couple options.

 

What else you got? I’m trying to answer these guys, quick.

 

I always struggle stating weaknesses and feel they may be taking in a negative light. Do you have suggestions for how to phrase them? What weaknesses do you answer with? Basically, she wants to know what your weaknesses are.

 

My weaknesses. The last time, it was like, “I don’t have experience in critical care.” You guys are putting me on the spot. I try to really think about, really, truly, unedited, what am I not awesome at? That one chick answered, “I’m not great with death.” Working in critical care was a really tough transition. I think I mentioned in my last interview, because that was four years ago … You don’t want to put yourself in this super negative light, but if it’s something we can work on and get better at, “I have no experience with arterial lines, ventilators. It took me a little while maybe to get my feet under me as a floor nurse and I’m a little nervous about my transition as a critical care nurse. But you know what? I am a hard worker and I am determined to do better at this.” Or something like that.

 

You can really put a spin on things. The death thing was good. Maybe prioritization. Prioritization is a big thing, and I know I’m going to really have to figure something out with that. “Maybe I can freeze and not know what to do, and I just freeze, I don’t know my next steps when I get overwhelmed.” That’s truly honest. “It’s tough for me, but we can work on that. We can get better at that.”

 

I would really try to think about if you didn’t have to say it in front of anybody else, write down truly what are you not good at. Then think about how you would get better at it. I would write down three. Actually, that’s what I did. I sat down and I said, “These are three things that I’m not good at.” Actually, I probably still have those notes. I should find those and take a picture and put it on Instagram or something, of my weaknesses that I wrote four years ago. You know what I did? I took time and I wrote them down and I had them in that portfolio that I brought. I really wish I could remember what they were.

 

I recommend doing that. Truly, just sitting down, taking some time, don’t be rushed, think about these things that I am not good at and write three of them down. Write down, “How can I get better at this?” “Maybe I’m nervous talking to doctors or people in positions of authority are really intimidating to me, but once I get more comfortable, I’m better at talking to them.” Something like that. Just write them down. That’ll take away some of the nervousness. If you can identify them first and practice explaining them, you will have more confidence in your voice and you won’t sound weak talking about your weaknesses. You want to sound confident in yourself and say, “I might not be awesome at this, but I am willing to get better at it.”

 

I am going to community college taking prerequisites. I did not have luck with a private college, but I my passion for becoming a nurse led me to try any options. Do you think I [inaudible 00:33:24]

 

Yeah. I went to community college. John went to community college. Did you take any classes at Parkland? No? A lot of people have gone to … Loser. You didn’t go to community college. I actually got my associates in applied science at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois. Then I went to nursing school.

 

Honestly, even if you got your nursing degree from the associates program and became a nurse … Honestly, I think I’ve only had a couple of patients ask me where I went to school, only a handful, and it was just a conversation thing. It wasn’t a, “Did you go to this nursing school?” You’re on the right track, you’re doing what you need to do. Don’t let the whole community college make you think you’re not in the big leagues and not going to Duke or John Hopkins or whatever, no. Just become a nurse, follow your passion.

 

Next?

 

If I have multiple interviews at different hospitals, how do you be polite and say that? I want to put together all my options before I commit.

 

That’s good. That makes you look marketable, and that makes us be like, “Huh.” That’s wonderful. If you can get multiple interviews in the marketplace like it is right now, that’s awesome. This is what I’ve done. I had a couple interviews here. It depends on how it’s set up. When I interviewed here in the actual interview, I didn’t say that I had other offers. When HR called me back and said, “Maybe we’re interested” or whatever. I said, “I actually have a few other offers that I need to consider before I get back to you on an answer. When do you need me to get back to you about my answer about this?” If you get offered the job.

 

I don’t know if it’s really necessary to say it within the interview. I’m trying to think of an organic way that would come up within it. If you go out of your way to say that, it doesn’t look so hot personally. Do you guys have the same? It doesn’t look so awesome. “Yeah, I’ve got interviews across the street.”

 

I was going to say.

 

I wouldn’t say anything unless you have an offer.

 

Yeah. I feel like you’ve got to get the offer first, and then you can potentially use that as leverage.

 

You don’t even have to.

 

That’s wonderful if you do, though, if you have multiple offers. I don’t think when you’re actually interviewing with the potential new manager and the other staff, if you’re doing a peer interview, I really would bring it up then.

 

It seems like she’s more asking, is it wrong to go on an interview when you have other options?

 

No.

 

I would say no.

 

No. You’ve got to figure out what is going to be the best for you. If you’ve got the option to check out other things, by all means do it. Just because it’s the first place and you feel some loyalty or whatever, you’ve got to figure out what’s best for you, and the only way you’re going to do that is go on an interview. Thank you for clarifying that for me.

 

There are lots. Do hospitals really care about how many organizations/volunteer hours we do during nursing school?

 

I wouldn’t say necessarily the quantity, but if I look at your resume and it shows, “I went to Iowa Wesleyan College and got my nursing degree, my GPA was 3.5, I worked as a waitress during school, that’s my resume.” If you’re going to nursing school, maybe once a week or maybe once every two weeks, you volunteered and were a lunch buddy at the local elementary school. Even though there’s not a ton of hours on there, you took some time out of your busy schedule to go volunteer. That sets you apart, it really does. You don’t need to have these ridiculous hours. If you can have some volunteer work that does set you apart.

 

What was it, volunteer and what was the other thing?

 

How many organizations and volunteer hours. The background here is, this person is in nursing school, professors are encouraging them to join as many organizations, but nursing school’s done.

 

You mean not professional nursing organizations, but organizations at school to be involved in various extracurriculars?

 

I think it’s that and volunteers.

 

You don’t want to overwhelm yourself. Don’t go do a little bit of everything so you can have multiple things listed on your thing. Don’t kill yourself. I actually, in nursing school, only was minimally involved with the student nurses association, because I actually decided to, instead of doing that, I was a mentor that did … I forgot Jerry’s back there. I decided to get certified as a tutor and do tutoring for nursing students. I did that instead of doing the student nurses association, just because I couldn’t stretch myself thin enough to do both.

 

You don’t want to kill yourself. If you could really commit to a couple things and maybe volunteer once every two weeks at the local elementary school, and maybe you do one or two other organizations, that’s wonderful. If you’re really devoted to a few things. Now if you put a little bit into everything, I don’t think that looks quite as great to me, honestly, reading resumes. If you do have various things put there, it does look good, but it’s not do or die by any means. I don’t want you to overwhelm yourself with tons of organizations. That’s unnecessary, don’t kill yourself, nursing school is hard enough. If you have nothing written, that doesn’t look awesome.

 

I know nursing school is very overwhelming, but if it says “Nursing school, no other organizations,” wasn’t putting your foot out there to try anything else, that’s very apparent on a resume. I think the right answer is the middle ground. Do something but don’t do everything, because you’ll lose your mind.

 

If you have a declaratory with the board of nursing …

 

I don’t know what that is.

 

As a graduate nurse, when would you reveal that information during the interview?

 

Declaratory? I don’t know what that is.

 

That questions from Jessie, maybe she can clarify.

 

Another question later said, John, see if Kattie can answer this question. He really wanted this one.

 

Which one?

 

He really wanted this one answered.

 

The declaratory.

 

Am I saying it wrong?

 

He’s saying, I think a red flag. That’s what he just said.

 

Red flag?

 

A red flag from the board of nursing, should you say that in the interview?

 

Yeah. When would you do it?

 

I have not had that situation come up, so I don’t know if I can adequately answer that. I don’t know if you would …

 

I think you get a lot of different answers on this one. Just speaking in general terms of working with organizations getting a job, I think honesty is always great. NRSNG says, this is what it is. Petition for declaratory order is a formal disclosure to the board of an outstanding eligibility issue that may prevent an applicant from taking the NCLEX examination upon completion of the nursing program.

 

Maybe like a DUI or something like that?

 

Your criminal background excuses board of nursing.

 

I got to be honest, I don’t have a good answer for that. I don’t want to tell you the wrong thing. I honestly don’t know, and I don’t want to say the wrong thing. Can I follow back up with that later? I would think you should reveal that. I have never been in that situation where I’ve had somebody reveal that. But I’m also someone that doesn’t look up their licensure. We have someone that does that. I would think that would come up at some point, and I would think it would probably be better to even just reveal that to HR in the first place. You know what I mean? “Just so you know, this is an issue that I’ve got that you’re going to run over because you’re going to look up my license anyway. I just want to make sure you knew about this in the first place.”

 

I’m sorry. I wish I had more information about that.

 

Next?

 

[inaudible 00:42:26] Do you suggest working … Not, wait, that one. Sorry.

 

I’m glad I’m answering so many questions.

 

What about this one? Have we done the “Do you suggest working on medical surgical floors as a new nurse?” This person really wants to be in the NICUR.

 

NICU, I’m assuming that means the neonatal intensive care, but could mean neuro ICU. It depends what you want to do and where you can get a job. I personally, speaking as a critical care nurse, if I did not have those first two years, my transition into critical care as a new grad would have been really tough. I’ve seen it work out with new grads in a tougher area, like an ICU area, but I’ve seen it not. You have to be a special kind of new grad to make it work in an ICU straight out.

 

If you want to work in the neonatal ICU, maybe not necessarily working on a med surg floor, maybe a pediatric floor, or maybe labor and delivery, or postpartum. The women’s health, women and children services service line, I would try it. If you want to be a neonatal ICU, maybe stay in that service line rather than work in a med-A med surg floor is a totally different world than a neonatal ICU. But if you’re talking neuro ICU or you want to work adult ICU, I highly recommend working.

 

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