Demand for healthcare workers is at an all-time high, and many nurses are switching jobs in search of higher pay. First-time nurses can also easily find work in today’s economic climate. But will your next hospital or facility be a good fit? There are lots of factors to consider when looking for a new nursing position. The recruiter may sell you on a variety of talking points, but it’s important to ask questions during the interview process to make sure you can succeed in your new working environment.
What is the Workplace Culture?
Every organization has its own culture, which usually starts at the top. Workplace culture is difficult to measure and quantify, but you will quickly get a sense for it while visiting the facility. Do nurses seem rushed, stressed, or overworked? How do they interact with each other and the other members of the team? Are they polite and helpful, or terse and caustic? Talk to the hiring manager about the culture and what the company is doing to improve it. Research the facility to see what existing and former employees think of the job. Has the facility received any awards or certifications for being a great place to work?
Do I Have a Say Over What Hours/Days I Work?
Scheduling is always a top concern for nurses. No one likes being on call on their day off. Talk to the hiring manager about how schedules are chosen and whether you will be expected to pick up additional shifts. Keep in mind that the company may change its policies when faced with a staffing shortage. Find out if the facility has had to overwork nurses in the past to make ends meet.
Consider your own needs and wellbeing when taking a job, especially if you have children or are juggling other responsibilities. We all need some semblance of work-life balance to survive in this stressful industry.
What is the Training Like?
This will be your first primary experience with the hospital. Your training sets the tone for the rest of your time at the company and it’s important to get off on the right foot. Learn more about the training process to see how the company prepares employees for their first day on the job. Will you have a mentor or supervisor to help you get acclimated to your new working environment? Or are you expected to jump right in with little to no training? How many hours of training will you receive before working independently in the field?
Having access to a support system is key to finding the right fit.
Is the Facility Serious About Diversity?
Studies show diversity improves worker performance and patient outcomes. Many companies talk the talk on diversity without delivering results.
“Everyone talks about diversity and inclusion. Everyone says they believe in it, but to actually see it and live it every day is very, very important,” said Brittany Moore, a nurse manager at the Northwell Health Presbyterian Medical Center. “Being an African American leader, I see a whole lot of us. I pride myself on our unit being a diverse unit.”
It’s important for patients and providers to see people who share their experiences. The facility should reflect the patient population it serves.
People of different backgrounds “need to see other people who look like them. I think that’s very important,” Moore added.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about diversity and inclusion during the interview process, not just as it relates to the workforce but the company’s approach to patient care as well. For example, do providers consider the patient’s background when making a diagnosis? Are they trained to administer care to LGBTQ+ patients?
Will I Be Able to Continue My Education?
Furthering your education is one of the best ways to find new opportunities and make more money for your time. Your organization should encourage, if not help facilitate, your educational pursuits. Does the organization have a relationship with a local nursing school or continuing education program?
Can workers take classes online or in-person? Finding time for your studies outside of work can be a challenge. The company should help you access resources and support that can help you further your education while working full-time.
Keep these questions in mind as you start looking for your next nursing job. A better opportunity could be just around the corner.