It’s a tough job market out there. Even experienced nurses are struggling to find a job, or at least the right one - kind of like a rescued canine dreaming of the perfect home. Fortunately history repeats itself, as nursing shortages are cyclical. With the average age of nurses dangling at forty-seven, there are plenty of nurses flirting with retirement and putting down the stethoscope.
Luckily for you, you recognized the need for a change, networked with friends of friends, or connections on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com and landed an interview. You’ve learned it’s more about who you know than what you know.
Here is a bit of advice from the rescue dogs:
~Be on your best behavior for meeting day
Dress professionally, research the company/hospital, look polished and don’t badmouth your previous owner – even if they dumped you at the shelter. Show your resilience, and your ability to follow commands and learn new tricks.
~Tell your story
When I learned of my dog Stella’s anticipated death simply because at ten, she was the oldest dog in the shelter - it broke my heart. During the interview, try to open the heart of your interviewer. Give specific examples of how you made an impact with a challenging patient or family. Find a way to share your passion for nursing.
~Show them you play well with others
They will remember if you barked at others, so be polite to everyone – you never know who is observing you. Everyone “says” they are a team player. Prove it - describe situations that reveal that to them. If you interview with a panel, make eye contact with everyone and ask pertinent questions. If there is a staff nurse on the panel, ask to hear his/her perspective.
~Be confident but humble
Enzo, the dog and main character in The Art Of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein was brilliant. He knew when to shine and when to take the backseat. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t overinflate your experience or skillset. A good manager can read right through that. Be clever about which weakness you share with them. Avoid sharing your smart phone addiction – chose wisely and let them know you’ve improved upon this weakness.
~Find the right match
Know yourself and what supports you. I am biased towards mellow senior dogs. A puppy may be more your speed. Do your research on the company/hospital, get the inside scoop (this goes back to networking). Ask good questions of them as well as internally to yourself.
* How long before a day shift position will open up?
* Can I tolerate the next few years on a rotating day/night schedule?
* Can I work in a small cliquey unit with 5 nurses or am I better suited to a larger unit? * Does a small community hospital suit me or would a teaching hospital be a better fit?
* Will this job support me to grow into my highest potential?
~Use all your senses especially your intuition
Listen to what is under the questions they are asking. In an interview, I was asked how I handled working with difficult people. After the third poll of the same question, I saw neon lights flashing before me. We both had a laugh when I said this doesn’t sound hypothetical anymore. I took the job anyway and her question was absolutely warranted. Sometimes you need to ask specific questions to get full disclosure.
~Rescue dogs and nurses have a lot of love to give, once they land in the right home
Good Luck. Now, go out and wag your tail!