When preparing for an interview, it is important to not only focus on what questions you might be asked, but also questions to ask the employer. Your inquiries will help you determine whether the job will be a good fit for you and give you insight into what it is truly like to work there. Your questions should cover three main topics: unit basics and training, the working environment, and the employer’s management style.

Unit Basics and Training

A lot of employers will outline the basic job details in the job application or during the interview, but if they do not, then go ahead and ask! It is important to know the unit and training basics such as: patient-to-staff ratio; hours; call shifts; holiday work expectations, scheduling, and weekend requirements; training length; and probationary period.  If you would like to go above and beyond to learn more about the unit try asking these questions:

  1. What is your unit’s retention rate for new graduates and employees?
  2. How would you support a new employee who was struggling after their training was over?

Work Environment

Most nurses will tell you that the biggest aspect of their job satisfaction is their work environment. Daily interactions with nurses, doctors, and techs has a huge impact on retention rate and overall happiness. Focus on asking questions that will help you understand if the unit uses teamwork and supports one another. Try asking these questions:

  1. What is the culture of your unit like?
  2. How do you help new nurses adapt to the unit? Do you have a mentorship program?

Management Style

Your managers are there to support you and help you succeed as a nurse on your unit. Asking questions about the unit’s management style will help you gauge how well you will fit in and be supported. Try asking questions that reveal how the managers deal with conflict and struggles that the unit faces:

  1. What have been this unit’s most notable successes and failures over the year?
  2. What are the biggest challenges that your nurses face daily and how do you help them overcome them?

Sarah Cruzan, BSN, RN

Sarah Cruzan is a nurse on a Family Maternity Unit.

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