Alright so I have been MIA for a few days. We have been crazy busy celebrating Thanksgiving. We had two Thursday, one Friday, one today, and 3 were hosted at our place. Plus I did this crazy thing called the Jingle Bell Dash in below thirty degree weather, yikes it was cold!! In response to my Friday Q&A I had a reader with a few questions on how to snag a nursing position. Honestly it is not a whole lot different from other feilds. I am going to put some of my experiences in here and some I have gained from others.
Think of people you know in the field you are looking into. The old phrase, “it is all about who you know” can make a huge difference when it comes to landing your dream gig. It isn’t always directly either. If you are a new grad ask your instructors about who they know, and don’t forget to ask for a recommendation letter. In my current role when they have had candidates for the job they always connect with instructors. Also make sure you talk with your previous supervisors, even if they don’t know anyone in the field they may write a great recommendation letter. Of course always make sure you let your references know you are applying for jobs, and they may be receiving a call. I have had people use me as a reference and not told me. The reference would have been better if I wasn’t caught off guard at the grocery story, talk about being hit by a bus.
Second: Polish that Resume
Make sure you dust off the old resume, and make it job specific. If you are applying for a nursing position, but don’t have any nursing experience, make sure that the description of your previous positions are geared towards things necessary for nursing. What may be helpful is look at the job description and list qualities (nursing qualities listed below :)) they are looking for, and make sure to pull those qualities out of your previous roles. The other thing is make your objective line catchy and specific to each position and employer you are applying for. For example if you are applying for a pediatric nurse position say; Obtain a registered nurse position on the pediatric care unit with Mayo clinic to utilize my education, nursing skills, love for children, and compassionate nature. If you are a new grad I would highlight that you want to develop and highlight the skills you already have. There are tons of online tools for nursing resumes, and NEVER submit a resume without having someone else proof reading it!
Third: It is all about the Interview
In all reality the first two steps are what land you the interview, but the interview is what lands you the job! First impressions are everything. Make sure you are polished. Wear something professional, but nothing tacky. Tuck the girls in, leave the hooker shoes at home, and by all means don’t forget to brush your teeth ;). Prep for the interview with someone. Here are some sample interview questions:
Top Qualities of a Great Nurse:
1: communication: As a nurse you need to be able to communicate on a medical level with physicians. Then, within minutes figure out the best way to communicate medical information to your non-medical patient. I have often had patients tell me wow no one ever told me that before. In reality yes, they probably did, but it was in a way that the patient could not understand. For example when I talk to my heart failure patients. I explain it like their heart is a sump pump and their lungs are the basement. There sump pump is not very efficient and when the work load is increased (with activity or increase in fluid) their (lungs) basement floods. Most people can understand that.
2: Emotional Stability: I will be honest this is not my greatest quality as a nurse. I still get too attached to my patients, and see them as someones grandma, mom, daughter, wife. This is a stressful field, and you have to be able to leave work at work, or it will take over your life. Put gaurdrails up, and make sure you work in an area you can handle. For example I love kids, but I can’t do pediatrics. You would find me behind bars for kidnapping all these children with idiot parents.
3: Empathy: So you may not be the most seasoned nurse, but that’s okay. Patients know when you really care and have compassion, and that goes farther than a lot of the drugs.
4: Flexibility: Life as a nures is like a box of chocolates, when you lift that sheet, open that door, or plan to do that quick task you just never know what you are going to find. We have to be flexible and able to change the plan without feeling stressed about it. Highlight this!
5: Detail oriented: Every nursing skill seems to have a million steps, but each of them have a purpose. I find it helpful to know why, in fact I am like a two-year old in my office constantly asking “but why”. It helps me remember each step! Show case that you are detail oriented and have great assessment skills!
6: Personable: We are the cord that connects the patient with the physician. As we all know some of these physicians
have heads so large you are surprised they fit in the hospital are great compassionate human beings we must communicate with. Figure out the physicians you will work with on a regular basis and find a way to communicate with them. Of course be a team player, each of us has something to bring to the table. Nursing can be one of the worst fields for cadiness and politics of course that has nothing to do with the fact that it is mainly women. Our office is a really positive environment, and I believe it is because we skip the snotty business.
7: Physical Endurance: You will hold your urine until your eyeballs are floating, go without food and water until you feel like you are going to pass out, and sometimes work through every break. Get good tennis shoes, and work on your endurance!
8: Critical Thinking: This one takes a little time and experience, but is very important. As nurses we are problem solvers it may be holding a medication because the patient is having negative side effects, calming a crazy family member, or getting the attention of a busy Doc. We are always looking for problems and finding solutions!
9: Speed: We have to be quick on our feet. It may be calling a code, grabbing the garbage can for the vomiting patient, or grabbing gauze for the delusional patient who pulled their IV out. Nurses tend to be the first responders in the hospital.
10: Respectful: Always try to put yourselves in their shoes. Respect and kindness can go a long way, even when it doesn’t seem like the other person deserves it. The good old rule love thy neighbor as themselves.
Make sure to give unique answers. Everyone says they are a reliable team player, but have some great examples in your back pocket. Make a list of good stories before the interview that you can reference, don’t be too lengthy. Remember to research them and highlight their strengths in the interview. People may not always remember what you say, but they will remember how you make them feel. Everyone likes a good complement, but don’t over do the brown-nosing. Be positive, about them, about your past experiences, even when they ask what your greatest weakness is.
I hope this helps! God Bless! C
Any tips for landing a nursing job I missed add below in the comments! Don’t forget to email your questions for Q&A to firstname.lastname@example.org