By Tyler Faust, R.N.
Knowing what you want in a job is only half the battle. Finding the answers to these questions and any other questions you have about a potential new job is the other half of the battle. Here are three ways you can help ensure a potential new job is truly the job you are looking for.
1. Job Shadow
Job shadows are extremely underutilized. If you have big questions you feel were not sufficiently answered in the interview or want to meet and speak with the people you would be working alongside, request a job shadow before or after a job interview. This will get you hours of exposure to the work unit to experience the culture on the unit first hand. It will give you a snapshot of how staffing is and how the RN staff function with physicians and other roles.
Additionally, job shadows allow you the opportunity to freely ask staff any questions in a setting that is likely to get you an honest response. How easy is it to get time off? How often do I work off shifts or on-call? How late do I have to stay on the late shift? Ask the staff why they like their job and maybe the things they dislike about their job. Have you considered how much your potential new manager is liked? The questions and conversations are endless and a job shadow provides a great opportunity to get the answers you’re looking for.
2. Speak to People Who Work There
There is a good chance that you might know someone who works on a unit that you might be interested in. Even better than a conversation with a staff person that you might have just met would be a conversation with a friend, co-worker, or acquaintance who has experience working on the unit you are interested in and can give you the inside scoop. Ask around and even if you know someone who has a relationship with someone who works or worked on the unit, they can help you understand the important questions you have. If you have important questions, you could potentially rule a job out without having to invest time for a job interview or shadow.
3. Meet Unit Leadership
If you are not looking to change organizations, you could reach out to the hiring manager to set up a time to discuss the job you are interested in. This would not be an interview to be clear. The goals would be to meet the manager, get an idea of what they are looking for in a candidate and learn about the position. Managers like to know that potential candidates are knowledgeable about the position they are interviewing for. Otherwise, they fear a new hire might end up not liking the new job and will leave after a short amount of time.
Getting a feel for your potential new manager is a great opportunity as well. Do you see yourself falling under their leadership style or do you think they will make your blood boil every day? Better to know that in advance, right?
Accepting a new job is a major life event. A new job could mean a new pay rate, job description, patient population, co-workers, and so many other things. Make sure before you make the move, that the job you are accepting is the job you think it is by knowing what to ask and how to get the answers.
Tyler Faust is a full-time registered nurse and part-time freelance healthcare writer. He has his BSN and Master's degree and Winona State University and has worked at Mayo Clinic for over 7 years. Currently, he works as a nurse manager. Tyler is a creative thinker, strategist, and passionate about leadership.