How to Rock Your Travel Nurse Job Interview

 

Travel Nurses take a lot of interviews given the 13-week contract nature of the career.  The interview is your chance to not only get yourself an offer, but to also make sure the job is a good fit. Most travel nurse interviews are very short. You’ll have 10-20 minutes at most to make a good impression and get your questions answered.   We’ve compiled a list of the top items to remember for a successful travel nurse interview.

Familiarize Yourself with the Facility

Research the facility where you would be working.  Know what sets them apart from other hospitals in the area. You should know the total bed size and trauma level at very least. The more you can find out about the hospital the better. Very often the first question a Nurse Manager will ask is, “What do you know about us?” You’ll definitely want to have an answer prepared.

Use The Nurse Manager as a Resource

It is also a good idea to research the area and city around the facility.  Look into housing options and ask the Nurse Manager their opinion.  They will most likely be familiar with popular areas to live and rent housing since they are often staffing travel nurses.  This will not only help you get your location questions answered, but it will also establish rapport with the Nurse Manager and show you’re taking the opportunity seriously.

Be Proactive When the Interview Call Comes

Since not all Travel Nurse interviews are set at specific times, be aware that the call could come at any moment. If you’re currently working on the floor when you see the call come in, answer it in the break room and ask to reschedule for a specific time.  This way the hiring manager will know you are interested and will not skip over you when you don’t answer.   Make sure to let your recruiter know you’ve set up an interview time for later so they can stay up to date on your status.

Verify Important Contract Details

The most important items to clarify on the call will be shift, start date, contract length and job details. Start by verifying the position shift is either nights or days, then confirm the contract length, including start and end dates.  You’ll also want to verify other job details like if you will be required to float to a sister facility, or to a different unit (for example ICU to Med Surge.)

Keep Time Off Requests to a Minimum

Make sure you are covering any time off that you want guaranteed in your contract up front. Excessive time off can be difficult to secure during a 13-week assignment, so try to keep days off to a minimum.  We recommend taking vacations and time off between assignments.  Often times the Nurse Manager won’t say if your time off request is a deal-breaker or not and will instead choose to follow-up with your agency. At this time, your recruiter will let you know of their decision.

Sell Your Strengths

Find out everything you can about what skill sets the position requires.  Think about how your past experience and strengths align with these and have a few examples ready.  It is always preferable to highlight your most recent experience if it is a match.  It is also advisable to have an answer prepared for why you want to work for this facility in this job.  This is where your research about the facility will come in handy.

Make Sure the Job is Right for You

This is your chance to determine if the job will be a good clinical fit. Traveling is a growth opportunity both personally and professionally, however you’ll want to make sure you are not taking on something that is outside your comfort zone.  Below is a list of questions we recommend you ask the Nurse Manager.  Prioritize the ones that are most important to you in case you do not have time to get through all of them.

Facility Questions

  • How many beds?
  • Is it a teaching Facility?
  • What is the management style?
  • What is the dress code?
  • What type of medical record software is used and is EPIC/Cerner/McKesson experience required?
  • How does parking work and is there a cost?

Orientation  Questions

  • What type of orientation is offered?
  • How many shifts of unit orientation are offered?
  • Do you have any charting orientation?

Unit  Questions

  • What is the patient population?
  • What is the average length of stay?
  • What is the nurse-to-patient ratio?
  • How many travel RNs are on the unit?
  • Do you typically extend your travel RNs?
  • Do you have LPNs or is the staff all RNs?
  • Do you have lab techs?  Do they do blood draws?
  • Do you have EKG techs, respiratory techs and a transport team?
  • What is your reason for hiring a travel RN?

Get the Nurse Manager’s Contact Info

Always make sure you get the Nurse Manager’s name and contact details. This can be done at the end of your call, “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.  Do you have a direct line?  Thank you!”  This way if you need to reach the Nurse Manager at any point prior to your contract starting, you’ll have the information you need.

 

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