August 5, 2021

Questions to Ask During Your Hospital Interview

Happy nurse working at the hospital

If you’ve taken assignments as a healthcare traveler, you already know which questions to expect during your hospital interview. But, what information do you want from the hospital before taking an assignment? The interview for a traveler goes both ways – you are deciding if this assignment fits your personal and professional goals while hospital management is deciding if you are the right traveler for the role. To make sure you get all the information you need, TNAA has created a helpful list of questions to ask in your next interview.

Before the Interview

Essentially, when you submit your application for a job, you’re telling the hospital that you’re interested in the assignment. So, before submitting an application or taking an interview, do your research. By narrowing your options, you potentially save a lot of time for both you and the hospital.

Once you agree to an interview, know that nurse managers typically look for candidates who are flexible, skilled, organized, positive, and great communicators. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions! As a healthcare traveler, you want to work with a nurse manager who is respectful of travelers and transparent about your role.

During the Interview 

Laptop, phone, and note pad

TNAA has compiled this list of helpful questions for healthcare travelers to ask during their interviews. While you aren’t expected to ask all of these questions, this document serves as a resource to ensure you get the information that is most important to you and your assignment. You can download or print this document for later use.

Most Important

First things first – get your interviewer’s contact information, so you can send a follow-up email detailing what you both discussed after the interview.

First Day

  • Confirm your start date.
  • Confirm your shift.
    • Is this a rotating shift, or will it be the same for the entire assignment?
  • Confirm your first-day contact.
  • When will I be provided with first-day information?

Orientation

  • What is the length and type of orientation, both for the facility and for the unit?
  • Is there any testing? 
    • If so, is there a study guide?
    • Will the testing come before, after, or during orientation?
  • If I’m floated to another unit, can I take a shift or receive orientation on the unit?

Hospital

  • How many beds are in the facility?
  • How many beds are on the unit?
  • How many travelers do you have?
  • What are the uniform colors?

Unit

  • What are the biggest struggles and challenges in the unit?
  • What is the patient population like in the unit?
  • What is the typical nurse-to-patient ratio?
  • What is the maximum nurse-to-patient ratio allowed? 
  • What charting system is used?

Tip: If you get an orientation to the charting system, get as much hands-on experience as you can with the preceptor there to answer any questions. If you don’t get an orientation, search online for videos to familiarize yourself with the system.

  • What resources are available on this unit to support nurses?
  • How often do your nurses float and what units would I be expected to float to?
  • What do I do if I’m floated to a unit where I’m not comfortable?

Scheduling

  • What are your scheduling methods?
  • Are self-scheduling and block scheduling allowed?
  • What is your scheduling like for weekends and holidays?
  • How far in advance is the schedule available?
  • What is your overtime policy?
  • Is taking call required? If so, how often?
  • Schedule your time off in advance.

Tip: Make sure your time off is included in your contract. This will provide easy verification that it is approved.

After the Interview

Woman typing on a laptop

After the interview, let your recruiter know if you are interested in the position. This enables your recruiter to quickly move the application process along for you. Be sure to also send the nurse manager a follow-up email expressing your excitement about the assignment and reiterating what was discussed. Having this information documented can be beneficial if management changes before your assignment begins.

Ready to pursue a career that moves you? Check out TNAA’s latest job openings!