Hey Friends! Its been a while since I touched on nursing things, but wanted to write up a little helpful post for the soon to be new nurses! Job hunting can be overwhelming; not to mention the interview process. After having a lot of you guys reach out to me via insta about how I got my NICU position, I decided why not just write up a little blog post with some helpful pieces of advice!
So I actually applied to multiple hospitals in multiple places(which I highly recommend!). I applied to two pediatric hospitals in specific, then the others were just your typical general hospitals. Since I went to TCU in Fort Worth, and also did my nurse externship there.. I applied to a few hospitals in that area, and then in my hometown Houston TX( which happens to be the home of the great “Med Center”). TCU greatly helped me in the application process. TCU hosted job fairs. WE got our resumes out there, as well as exposure to different hospitals in the area that were hiring. Biggest piece of advice is to be constantly checking hospital websites for job openings for new graduates. The best would be to apply to the nurse residency program! Most hospitals now, I believe, have programs for new grads, and I highly recommend applying to those. They are comprehensive and will ease you into “real nursing.” When searching, look for NURSE RESIDENCY. I would also suggest the earlier you start searching the better. Do your research so that you know which hospitals offer those programs.
Basically I had a solid “in” with the hospital I had my nurse externship with; long story short, was offered a NICU position there. I had worked on a Woman’s post surgical floor as a nurse extern. Once it was time for interviews, I had my manager help set me up with NICU department. SO… good piece of advice here; if you land a nurse externship somewhere, you are in a GREAT spot to end up in more of a specialty area.
** usually the hospital will post that they have nurse externships; you have to go through the application and acceptance process.**
Specialty areas are JUST HARD. Everyone wants ER, Pediatrics, Womans Services. Therefore, more applicants, more competitive .. you get the gist. This shouldn’t deter you from applying of course, its just important to keep in mind as you’re applying! I applied to these areas but also to other areas that are as heavily coveted.
HOW I GOT NICU:
A very popular question. Okay. So the NICU position at my current hospital was my very last interview. It was kind of on a whim… I wasn’t sure I was going to get it because a majority of the hospitals in the Houston Med center hire grads from the area it seemed to me. (Those students did clinicals there… they just have a tad of a leg up. Just like I did in the Fort Worth area…) I got the call, I think, a day or two later that I got the job! I applied thinking “Hey, its in my hometown, I’d love to move back and be with my boyfriend since he got a job in Houston… but if I don’t get it, its not the end of the world.” I really didn’t know one thing about NICU. Funny thing, it was never a specialty I was dying to get into, just one that was in Pediatrics that I would be okay with trying. Safe to say, I ended up in the perfect place.
BE YOURSELF. BE GENUINE.
Answer honestly, and to the best of your ability. If you need to take a second to think and be silent, that’s ok! Its good to answer thoughtfully, even if it takes a second to get your thoughts together.
Expect questions that involve your clinical experience. THE GOODS: posting some interview questions I had saved that I practiced with!
Tell us about yourself? list strengths!!
Why work here?
What can you bring to our facility?
Proud moment in nursing school?
Why should we hire you over other people we are interviewing?
How do you stay organized?
Behavioral/Situational Questions: Teamwork, communication skills, leadership
Resolve conflict with uncooperative/angry patient?
Time where you dealt with unhappy patient?
Situation where you had to demonstrate strong ethical attitude?
Most difficult patient?
Resolve conflict w/ classmate/ patient / family/ coworker?
Time you cared for patient of another culture?
An error or mistake you have made, how fixed, what you learned?
Time you delegated care/took on a leadership role?
Time you worked on team, what was your role?
Time when you had multiple patient assignments and how you prioritized them?
Recognized a situation before it went bad /Recognized a problem and fixed it
Situation where patient had trouble communicating
Time where I broke commitment/ policy?
Where you had to keep calm while managing to calm patients?
Tell us about a time when you had to come up with a creative solution.
About a time you disagreed with treatment/plan of care and how you dealt with it?
Questions to ask them:
What do you like most about working here and Why?
How does the hospital train new graduates?
How long will my preceptorship last?
Interview process usually looked like you and sometimes 1 or 2 other applicants. The question would be asked, then each person would have their turn to answer. Other interviews, I sat alone with a manager would answer a few questions, then would go on to do a peer interview! Every hosptial is a little different.
My last little piece of advice when it comes to interviewing is to trust that where you end up is where you’re meant to be; if not forever, for a time. !
I have other posts written about NICU, and nursing, nightshift vs dayshift... so if you’re wanting more content, links below!