25 Sample Nursing Interview Questions You Should Answer.

NurseTogether.Com
By: Lisa Mauri Thomas

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Are you up for a nursing interview soon? Then don’t forget to prepare! Use these 25 sample questions by nursing career expert Lisa Mauri Thomas as a guide. The following is an excerpt from her book, Landing Your Perfect Nursing Job” (2012), available at Amazon.com.

1. Why did you decide to become a nurse (or choose this specialty)?

2. Do you work better independently or as part of a team? Describe.

3. What do you find most challenging or difficult about being a nurse? How do you motivate yourself to get through such difficulties?

4. What do you find to be most rewarding about being a nurse? Which aspects of nursing do you find most satisfying/enjoyable and why?

5. Give examples of how you have provided patient-centered care. Explain your understanding of outcomes-based care.

6. Describe a time when a physician gave an order that you believed was incorrect. How did you handle it?

7. Describe a time when you were unsure of the best protocol to follow. How did you handle it?

8. Describe a time when you had a conflict or disagreement with your supervisor. How did you handle it? What was the outcome?

9. How do you handle patients who complain or become abusive?

10. How have you handled coworkers, physicians, or others you work with who become rude or demanding?

11. What types of situations do you find stressful on the nursing floor? How do you manage those stressors?

12. Have you ever worked in [this] type of environment before or with [these] kinds of patients? What made you successful?

13. How do you stay current within the nursing field? What publications do you read? What research findings interest you?

14. Are you currently affiliated with any professional nursing organizations? How has membership benefitted you?

15. How would you handle it if you had to stay late on your shift, unexpectedly and with little or no notice?

16. How many times in the past year have you been late for your nursing shift? How many shifts did you miss and why?

17. What environment or dynamics help you to be your best as a nurse? What are your qualities or attributes that make you a great nurse?

18. How would your nursing coworkers describe you? How would your nursing supervisor describe you?

19. Why do you want this job? Why do you want to work for this organization? What do you know about this organization?

20. Describe a time you worked on a special project. What was your contribution? What were successful outcomes?

21. Describe a time you have trained or mentored new nurses or nurses who were new to your organization.

22. What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

23. How do you feel your background has prepared you for this role?

24. If offered this role, how soon could you start?

25. Is there any reason why we should not hire you for this role?

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How Will the Affordable Care Act Affect the Nursing Profession?

NurseTogether.Com
By: Renée Keats

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Now that the State and Federal Health Exchange websites are fully operational, millions of previously uninsured Americans will be able to access affordable healthcare, perhaps for the first time. As demand rises, there will also be job growth for healthcare workers, and in particular the nursing profession. Some analysts predict that there will be as many as 250,000 to 400,000 healthcare jobs created annually over the next ten years. There will also be an increase in the scope and location of those jobs.

So what will the anticipated growth in the demand for healthcare and the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) newly mandated requirements mean for the profession? Two words: tremendous opportunities.

Increased funding for nursing education, especially for advanced degrees and specialties

Currently, it is estimated that the United States has a deficit of over 9,000 primary care physicians. As a result of the Minimum Essential Coverage provision (MEC), the demand for primary care providers will increase. A greater number of patients will seek services from Advanced Practice Nurses (APRNs) for preventive and wellness care, as well as other, more routine forms of care.

Knowing that there is already a nationwide shortage of primary care providers, $30 million dollars has been allocated via the ACA to support the Advanced Nursing Education Expansion Program. It is an academic training program for nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives. The funds will help pay for instructors and for students’ housing and living expenses.

Additional voids in the healthcare system are developing. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) projects that there will be 1.2 million job openings for licensed practical and registered nurses by 2020. As these positions are filled, there will be a decrease in the number of other critical, licensed medical support staff. These include medical assistants, physician assistants, and other patient care technicians. The opportunity to pursue and enhance one’s medical training and expertise has never been greater.

Increased demand for geriatric nurses

Doctors and hospitals want nurses who specialize in geriatric and hospice care. According to the National Council on Aging in Washington, D.C.: “With baby boomers approaching their retirement years, the number of Americans age 55 and older will soar from 60 million (21 percent of the population) to more than 107 million (31 percent) by 2030.”  

Some of the most significant components of the ACA are the financial incentives offered to primary care providers treating Medicare patients. Physicians, hospitals and outpatient centers will be rewarded for the coordination and quality of care versus the quantity. There will be a greater demand for geriatric and hospice nursing services to provide these services.

The provision of care moves from inpatient to outpatient

While hospitals focus more on acute care, the Affordable Care Act calls for routine care to be provided in outpatient or ambulatory settings. Additional funding has been allocated to increase the quality of preventive care and routine well-health exams for the general population. Many of the sites providing this type of care will be nurse-centric. These include the following:

•Community health centers
•National health service corps
•School-based health centers
•Nurse-managed health clinics

New standards mean new specialties

In its Nurse Role Exploration Project, the California Institute for Nursing and Health Care identified five new roles in the nursing profession to address the expanding demand for healthcare services:

•Care coordinator
•Faculty team leader
•Informatics specialist
•Nurse/family cooperative facilitator
•Primary care provider

To meet the increased demand for healthcare information and access, it is forecasted that expanded telehealth applications will be a key resource for the general public. There will be an increased demand for nurses who have both clinical and technological expertise.

There is also a growing demand for the adherence to complex clinical measures (i.e. increased paperwork) to meet the pay-for-performance incentives. Much of this work falls on the nursing staff’s shoulders.

Insurance companies have historically tied financial incentives with clinical performance measures. Now that the ACA has followed suit, comprehensive and complete record keeping will be even more imperative for clinical care centers. As such, increasing workloads may result in new opportunities for nurses.

If there was ever a time to consider the nursing career or seeking an advanced degree in nursing, it is now. Highly specialized programs offer opportunities for nurses currently working in the industry and looking to expand their career prospects. These include the Family Nurse Practitioner Certification from schools like Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois, to broader graduate study like the Master of Science in Nursing from the University of South Carolina.

As more people access affordable care, the demand for nurses will increase exponentially over the next few years. While the Affordable Care Act may not change the way that we treat patients one-on-one, it may change how we see them. Greater emphasis is being placed on preventive and wellness care. This is good news for the nursing profession that has always known importance of preventing medical crises. Clearly, it is an exciting time to enter this well-respected industry and grow one’s skills.

Professionalism in Nursing: What Does It Really Mean?

By: NurseTogether.com

In order to understand the concept of professionalism in nursing, we first need to define the word profession. Webster describes profession as a “chosen, paid occupation requiring prolonged training and formal qualification.”

Professionals, therefore can be defined as individuals expected to display competent and skillful behaviors in alignment with their profession. Being professional then is the act of behaving in a manner defined and expected by the chosen profession.

This framework for professionalism in nursing began with our early roots with Florence Nightingale who set the bar rather high in regards to giving herself to others and her expectation of excellence in nursing practice. She was an inventor, a visionary, a missionary and she delivered all with a commitment to passion and love.

We, as nurses, are no different. We bear the tremendous responsibility of upholding the values of our profession. Our core nursing values define the driving force that dictates our beliefs and our behaviors.

Nursing as a profession embodies many values inherent in those who pursue nursing careers. When nurses are asked to identify their core values, they are surprisingly consistent throughout the profession globally. They include honesty, responsibility, pursuit of new knowledge, belief in human dignity, equality of all patients and the desire to prevent and alleviate suffering. In other words, all of us as nurses have chosen this profession to help others in need and to improve the quality of life for all. That mantra has not changed since the days of Florence Nightingale.

So how does this transfer to the expectations of your practice wherever you interface with patients? Your professionalism will be judged in your personal behaviors and how you present yourself to all those around you, and through those behaviors, you tell the world who you are. Components of your professionalism include your attitude, your appearance, and your willingness to help others. Let us explore these a bit.

Attitude

Attitude in nursing is everything! The way you view your world and portray that view to others is everything. I am sure that you all can identify someone in your work environment with a terrible attitude that does their best to make the rest of the staff miserable.

Unfortunately, many times they are successful pulling everyone into the puddle with them. People behave like this because they are looking for attention and by sucking everyone else into their drama, they get that attention and control the environment. This type of behavior is counter to the expectations of the nursing profession to focus on helping others rather than focusing on our own problems.

Personal issues need to be left at home and not taken into the work area. There are always going to be times when we face issues in our lives that threaten our positive outlook. I find it helpful to be grateful for everything I have. I believe that waking up in the morning is the best thing that can happen to me and the rest of the day becomes a gift.

I had the opportunity to meet a wonderful woman who lost her daughter to cancer recently. A tremendous lesson for her was to be grateful for every minute she had with her daughter and to convert the “have to’s” to the “get to’s.” When her daughter was depressed that she had to go for more chemotherapy, she reframed that to the fact that she “got to” go for more chemotherapy, which kept her alive for much longer.

If we begin to be grateful for what we have, our whole outlook on life changes and the way we relate to people becomes more meaningful. Be grateful because you “get to” be a nurse, you get to pick up your kids from sports, you get to go grocery shopping, you get to wake up in the morning – the list goes on and on.

Appearance

There is no way around the fact that people judge you by your personal appearance. Clean scrubs, neat hair, clean shoes and a well groomed look makes the statement that you care about yourself as a person and therefore have the capacity to care about others.

People that look sloppy may be perceived by others as unorganized, lazy, and uncaring. If you do not care about yourself, how can you truly care for others? A little attention to how you look goes a long way to display your professionalism.

Willingness to Help Others

What has amazed me in my nursing career for over 35 years is the observation that nurses do not necessarily support each other, as we should. There needs to be solidarity in our profession, and yet, what I have observed, is a more individualized approach where we, as nurses, are more worried about ourselves than the whole of the profession. This translates into your willingness to help others and to work together as a team, as well as speak positively about your profession whenever you can.

Remember, your profession is different from your nursing. At times, we, as nurses, may tend to talk negatively about the nursing profession because we do not like where we work, and that you have control over. There is no question that nursing is a tough profession, both physically and mentally, and that with changes in the economy and the pressures of health care reform, the work environment will become even more challenging.

To survive and actually thrive in nursing, we will all need to pull together as a profession and begin by working together at the bedside and being great team players willing to support each other. Something magical happens when we give to others; wonderful things begin to come back to us in far greater ways than what we have originally given.

My parting message to you all is that we, as nurses, the most trusted profession in the world, have so much to give. Show the world how wonderful we are by always putting your best foot forward not only for yourself, but also for all of us in this wonderful profession! You go nurse!

6 tips to cope with short-staffing and a nursing shortage

NurseTogether.Com
By: Jennifer Ward

Another kind of nursing shortage is commonly experienced nowadays in the form of being short-staffed. And it is caused by many factors. First, there are times when there are simply shortages of nurses available to a particular area. Or there are more patients than usual or more patients with serious illnesses. Sometimes short staffing cannot be solved or cannot be solved immediately. In cases such as these, make sure to utilize these tips:

  1. Contact the nursing administrator or your immediate supervisor right away.If you realize that you are short-staffed for a shift, this is the first thing you should do. Hopefully he or she can call some other nurses to see if they can come in for an extra shift or to help during the busiest hours. If this is not possible, they might be able to call in some additional nursing assistants and other support staff members.
  2. Emphasize teamwork.Along with other members of the healthcare team, you must work together well to make sure the needs of all patients are met. Nursing supervisors and administrators might need to take on more direct patient contact duties during times when there is a nursing shortage.
  3. Be organized.Everyone needs to know what they are expected to get done during their shift. Nurses should ensure that they have all of the necessary materials with them when performing a procedure for a patient. It is also necessary to prioritize. All nurses must work together to decide exactly what needs to be done first and to determine if there are any tasks that can wait until more nurses come on shift.
  4. Practice good communication.This is essential to avoid frustration and misunderstandings. You do not want any duties to take longer than necessary or to go undone as a result of poor communication. To ensure everything runs smoothly, nursing supervisors must communicate well with their nurses and certified nursing assistants to make sure there is a clear understanding of what to do and what to expect.
  5. Ask family members.They can do some non-medical tasks to help their loved ones. For example, they might prefer to brush their loved one’s hair, rather than having a nurse or nursing assistant do so. You should not, however, discuss any problems regarding short-staffing directly with family members.
  6. Set up a meeting with the other administrators and nurse managers.If you are a nursing administrator or a healthcare manager, you need to identify all problems associated with being understaffed. For example, are there certain shifts when staffing problems are worse than others? You need to all work together to try to figure out why you are short-staffed and if there is anything that can be done to help resolve this kind of nursing shortage.

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