It is obvious that there are many changes that need to be made in order to better the world of nursing, but there are things you, as an interviewee, can do to cause a ripple effect of larger change. It is time that we receive the resources that we need and deserve. What’s one way to encourage change? Ask questions.
5 Questions to Ask When You Are Applying for New Positions:
What are your average nurse to patient ratios? Asking this can help you discover multiple things about the organization. There are many nursing Facebook groups that can help you find what these nurse to patient ratios actually are, but asking the interviewers will help you see if they are honest regarding their ratios. If they are experiencing poor ratios, are they open about the plans the organization has in place to support their staff and create a safe working environment.
What mental health resources do you provide your staff? This question is a big one because you can gauge if they have bias surrounding mental health and if they truly acknowledge the stress levels that healthcare workers are placed under. Do they offer free or discounted therapy? Do they have social workers for their staff after sentinel events? Do they have support groups, events, or partnerships that focus on helping their individual employees cope with workplace stressors?
If I need to take a break from work for my mental wellbeing, does the hospital support this? We work in high-pressure, stimulating, difficult environments. It is normal that we may need time to decompress from not only our experiences within the hospital, but from difficult periods of time outside of the hospital. Finding an organization that supports this and understands why it is necessary is extremely important. We have heard nurses afraid to admit that they went to seek care for their mental health for fear of being fired. Repeat after us: You should never be afraid to put your mental wellbeing first. You should never be afraid to take measures to care for yourself. You cannot properly care for your patients when you are functioning at 15%.
What do pay raises look like within the organization? Sure, you are interviewing and may think this is “jumping the gun”, but in order to build a lifelong career as a nurse you need to know that if you stay within an organization that you are being adequately compensated for the years, time, and effort that you put in.
Does your organization practice debriefing? What does debriefing on this unit look like? Debriefing is SO important after sentinel events, but some organizations focus more on how they can better outcomes for their facility versus how that event may have just caused significant trauma in the individuals involved. Debriefing should be a way for our staff to cope after seeing something that many people will never see in their lifetime. Acknowledging that what we see IS difficult instead of brushing it off can help us accept our emotional reaction and grow stronger from it.
We understand that these questions won’t change everything, that there are many steps needed in order to better the system that we work in, but we believe that we are worthy of a safe and supportive working environment. Know your worth. Understand that in order to cultivate a lifelong career as a nurse, you need to be sure the hospital meets your needs as much as you meet theirs. You are important.
Comment below other questions you recommend your healthcare colleagues ask during interviews! Want to write an article for Nurse Insights? Email us at [email protected].