Questions to Ask in Interviews (LPN)

by Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

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    00:01 Now let's talk about ten potential interview questions that you could take your prospective employer.

    00:08 So first of all, you may say, whoa, ten questions is a lot to ask.

    00:14 These are all great questions, so if you're uncomfortable with all of these, pick some, pick the ones that are important to you, write those down and bring this to your interview.

    00:24 But let's talk about ten that could be important for you to ask.

    00:28 So number one, if you can shadow, do it.

    00:32 You may be asking, okay, well, what - first of all, what is shadowing? So a lot of times on the nursing unit, they will allow you just to come in for the day as a prospective employee, maybe follow around the LPN or the nurse for the day, and just ask questions about how's the manager? How's the environment of the floor? This is great information for you to know, because I will tell you, if there's disgruntled employees, they will definitely tell you.

    01:01 So this is key inside information you may want to ask.

    01:05 Now if the employer doesn't allow you to shadow, maybe something that you consider.

    01:11 Now, number two on this list is nurse-to-patient ratios.

    01:16 I can go on and on about this.

    01:19 But, if you're talking about a typical medical-surgical unit, ideally, we're 1:5 - 1:6.

    01:27 Now, just to be honest, some units may be one nurse to maybe like eight patients.

    01:33 I promise you, this has a lot to do with your longevity on the nursing unit, so the smaller the nurse-to-patient ratio, the much better environment and working environment for you as a nurse.

    01:46 Number three, let's talk about your orientation for new nurses.

    01:51 You know you went through a lot of school, but the orientation process to the actual patient floor, the patient population, this is where really you feel like you learn everything.

    02:03 So orientation is so important. So let's take an example of maybe a medical-surgical unit.

    02:10 If you interview and they say, "Well, new nurse you've got two weeks of orientation, that's it, that's all you get. Okay, this should be a red flag for you.

    02:21 So you want to make sure that you understand how long the orientation process and how that's carried out.

    02:28 Now number four. If you are having difficulties while you're on orientation, guys, just know, as a new nursing graduate, this can happen.

    02:39 So you may want to ask up-front, "Hey, what's their process to help you be successful?" This should be an important point for you to ask, because, sometimes, new graduates struggle, that's not unrealistic.

    02:53 Now, number five, we're halfway through. Let's talk about shift expectations.

    02:59 This is going to matter for you a lot if you have a family for example.

    03:04 So, maybe that particular unit want you to work every single weekend.

    03:09 That may matter to you so you want to check this out.

    03:12 What's the holiday schedule are like? What about, do I have to start on night shift? If that doesn't work for you, something to consider as a place of employment.

    03:21 Am I going to have to start on nights? Can I just rotate through? What's the expectation there? Now, number six, some places do indeed mandate overtime.

    03:33 This is not ideal. I will tell you as a new nursing graduate, yes, I know, many times it's three 12-hour shifts so three days a week, but it's a lot.

    03:45 You need time to be away from your shift, away from your hospital, to decompress, to recover, recharge, so if there is a lot of overtime expectations, you really need to strongly consider this.

    03:59 And number seven, we already touched on this a bit, but you can definitely ask a manager, "Hey, what's the turnover rate here?" Ideally, the manager is honest about this.

    04:11 This is why if you can shadow and actually ask the people that work on the unit, this is good to figure out. If you get a report that there's a high turnover rate, they're losing nurses every couple of months, every month, maybe 2, 3 nurses just quit, this should be a flag for you.

    04:28 So you want to be sure to ask this question.

    04:31 Also, what about the patient population? What type of care is this unit? Is it what they call intensive care? Maybe step-down.

    04:40 Maybe it's outpatient, home health, whatever it is.

    04:44 You want to make sure you understand the type of care that's required for you as a nurse.

    04:49 Are there certain medications that you're going to give? Is it total care, meaning do I have nurse assistant help or not? All of these things matter for you as your interest in the floor.

    05:00 Okay, so this really isn't a question, but just FYI.

    05:05 Anytime you're interviewing with the potential employer, the manager of the unit, you may want to know, "Hey, how much am I going to get paid?" And, of course, who doesn't? But the salary income actually come from the Human Resource Department, so it's really best that you don't have to ask the manager that, so try to refrain from this.

    05:24 Now, we finally reached our last point on the list.

    05:27 What type of environment is the floor? Now, I know we've touched on this about shadowing on the unit, but, this is a great question to actually ask the unit manager.

    05:38 So if the unit manager says something like, "We really like to foster growth in our new graduates." Or, "We like to include the nurses in unit-based decisions." This is a great working environment and may appeal to you as a potential employee.

    05:55 Now last takeaway, guys.

    05:57 A good manager need that unit to work for you, just and as much as it does for them.

    06:03 Because more than likely, this means you will be a long standing happy employee.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Questions to Ask in Interviews (LPN) by Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN is from the course Applying for Your First Nursing Job (LPN).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. "What is the nurse-to-patient ratio?"
    2. "How long is orientation?"
    3. "What is the process to help me become successful?"
    4. "What are the shift expectations?"
    5. "How much will I make?"
    1. "How is the manager?"
    2. "How is the environment?"
    3. "What is the nurse-to-patient ratio?"
    4. "What is the culture of the unit?"
    5. "How much do nurses make on the unit?"
    1. "Orientation lasts two weeks, and then you are on your own."
    2. "Nurse to patient ratio is seven without an assistant on our neuro unit."
    3. "We all get our job done, but no one really talks to each other."
    4. "Orientation lasts three months, but if you need more time, we provide it."
    5. "Nurse to patient ratio is five, but keep in mind we all help each other out."

    Author of lecture Questions to Ask in Interviews (LPN)

     Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

    Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

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