Yesterday marked the last day of my critical care probation. So what did I do to pass? Instead of being at the hospital, I went to the simulation lab with Mr. Sim Man.
While I did sign a confidentiality agreement not to discuss the specifics of the lab, I can briefly state that it was similar to being at work in the hospital. When you receive a patient, you do a Head to Toe assessment, and determine the next step in care. Is he stable or unstable? If the patient doesn’t respond to your care, what is the next step?
It’s exciting to be off probation now, considering that I’ve been on the unit since December 2013! Now I will have to float to the SICU or CTICU, stepdown, PACU and ER. I’m a little scared to not know everything is (again), but it should be ok!
Your interviewer loves stories. In fact, you love stories. Everyone loves stories. So it only makes sense to become a great storyteller. To secure your first job as a nurse, you have to perfect the art of storytelling. About yourself.
I royally screwed up telling the story about myself. Twice! My first interview, I wasn’t prepared at all and just said whatever came to my head. My second interview, I didn’t focus my story about being a clinical nurse and drifted off into ‘health policy’ –that was a no-no.
I got better after learning the hard way. For my third interview, I started to focus my answers and got the job at a nursing home. By the time my current employment interviewed me — my fourth and fifth interview — I had some real nursing experience and relied on that to come up with some great stories.
So what’s the difference between a tale and a story?
A tale is simply stating something that happened. People don’t usually care about what happened. However, a story has a moral, a meaning, a takeaway point to it. We care about the 3 major things – the ‘bad situation’, the ‘thing you did to make it better’, and the ‘aftermath.’
Here’s an example for a question: Tell me how you dealt with a difficult situation.
A tale: a women wouldn’t take her medications. Later she did after I convinced her.
A story: a women wouldn’t take her medications. After thinking about why she wouldn’t, I realized that she wanted more control over what was happening to her. Instead, I gave her a choice and asked her, “would you like to take your medications in 10 minutes or 20 minutes?” She replied, “in 10 minutes. Thank you.” 10 minutes later, I went back to her to give her medications and she took them like a champ. Giving her the options allowed her to gain some control but not complete free-reign. This compromise allowed me to accomplish my goal (to give her meds) and made the patient happy.
Here’s another example: Tell me about your greatest strength.
A tale: I ask a ton of questions because I always want to learn.
A story: As a new nurse, I know that I have a lot to learn. I understand that sometimes I will be asked to do something that I’ve never done before but I am not afraid to ask questions to make sure that I’m competent the next time it comes up. I wasn’t sure how to put someone on a bedpan so I asked the ancillary staff. The next time I did it with someone. Another time I wasn’t sure if I heard the breath sounds correctly so I asked another nurse to confirm what they heard. Asking questions is my strength and understand that this is key to learning fast.
Here are some common questions. Think of your clinical experiences and come up with a story for each question.
What is your greatest weakness?
“Tell me about yourself.”
What made you interested in nursing?
What do you like about nursing?
What was your favorite clinical rotation? Why? (please relate this directly with the position you applied for)
Tell me about a time when you had to prioritize.
Tell me about a time when you had to delegate.
Tell me about a time when you had to problem solve.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Do you have plans on going back to school?
Tell me about ‘x’ experience that you wrote about on your resume.
Work on becoming a great storyteller and you’ll find that you’ll use this skill over and over again during every handoff report. And hopefully you’ll get a job offer! Good luck! Let me know if you have something crafted but would like a little help looking it over.
2013 was the best year of my life.
Independence rang true – new apartment, new car,
new nursing career from the nursing home, to tele and ortho, to ICU.
(wow, I sound like a typical millennial* look at the table below)
My family and friends started new careers too,
life is getting sweeter.
The stats were an all-time high,
Getting emails and comments all the time,
About NYU Nursing
Advising and inspiring future nurses.
To me, there’s no greater praise.
Last year’s theme was ‘New Nurse Blog.’
But now I’m no longer a fresh fresh nurse.
I’ve got one year under my belt!
For 2014 I’m changing it to
‘I wish I knew that before.’ “I” can be me, a friend, or you.
Health, Food, Money and Rights are my passions
So here it goes!
This table is from a Medscape Nurses article about how to manage a 4 generation gap nursing workforce. You can sign up for a free account to read the article.
What They Want
Less demanding schedules (part-time; shorter shifts)
Reduced stress or workload
A job well done
Use a personal touch
Provide traditional rewards
Use as mentors
Offer less physically demanding positions
Recognition for experience and excellence
Positive work environment
Good pay and benefits
Give public recognition
Find opportunities to share expertise (precept, mentor)
Promote “gradual retirement”
Autonomy and independence
Provide opportunities for skill development and leadership
Involve in decision-making
Stimulation, engagement, involvement; multitasking
Socializing and networking
Impatient for promotion
“Move up or out”
Offer a supportive work environment
Begin leadership development early
Provide access to social networks; build on technology strengths
Develop skill base
Within the first four months of working as a new bedside nurse, I’ve encountered two patients who were actively dying. I wasn’t sure what to do. After coming across this article from Medscape though (btw you need a free login to read this article), I finally understand what the palliative care nurse practitioners were doing.
The City of Hope came up with a tool called CARES to help the nurse take care of those who are dying.
C stands for comfort. You aim to alleviate pain and suffering for the patient. Additional testing and blood draws should be questioned, as the aim is to comfort, not treat.
A stands for airway. We used a scopolamine patch placed behind the ear. It’s used to help stop secretions from building up. While oxygen and oral secretion will not necessarily help, it may be comforting for the patient to have those things.
R stands for restlessness or delirium. It occurs in 25-85% of actively dying patients. It could be due to uncontrolled pain, a distended bladder, or it could be that the patient feels that there are unresolved issues with the family. Playing familiar music and providing a non-stimulating environment will help.
R: Restlessness or Delirium
E stands of emotional and spiritual support. Don’t underestimate a listening ear and providing clear and open communication. Whatever can be done to promote a comfortable and peaceful death should be considered.
E: Emotional and Spiritual Support
S stands for self-care. The nurse is often stressed and may need to debrief too.