Qualities of a Good Employer
What is your impression of them in the interview? Were they warm and friendly? Did they try to help you feel comfortable? In one of my interviews I had to do a panel interview with several managers. It was very intimidating at first but a couple of them were very friendly and tried to help me feel less nervous. I ended up picking one of them when I got a couple of job offers because she was so kind to me in the interview.
Research the company online. Are they rated a good place to work? Not only is salary important, it is not the MOST important aspect of a good employer. Are the salaries offered fair (Indeed.com can give you a general idea). Does it come with a fair benefits package? Are there support services to employees other than traditional benefits? Are there opportunities to grow and advance throughout the company? What is the general culture like?
Is this a Pathways to Excellence organization? What are the employee engagement surveys saying? It is absolutely okay to ask about employee engagement scores during the interview>>> Remember the interview goes BOTH ways.
How does the hospital rank amongst the community? >>> Patient Experience aka HCAHPS scores. This is a government survey sent to random patients which asks many questions from how the doctor communicated all the way to how clean it was. It can be one useful tool to see if a hospital has a fair rating however I would caution on basing your opinion on the hospital by this score alone.
Another rating is one for Patient Outcomes. These Provide information on how well hospitals prevent bloodstream and surgical-site infections, and the chance that patients have to be readmitted to a hospital within 30 days of their initial discharge. The need for such readmission can indicate problems in care while the patient was first hospitalized, including a hospital-acquired infection.
Safety score: This is a summary of several key categories related to hospital safety: avoiding infections, avoiding readmissions, communicating about new medications and discharge, appropriate use of chest and abdominal CT scanning, avoiding serious complications, and avoiding mortality. The score is expressed on 100-point scale. A hospital would score 100 if it earned the highest possible score in all measures and would score 1 if it earned the lowest scores in all measures.
Other Sources to Search
Hospital Compare Comparisons of hospitals based on government surveys of patient experience. https://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/search.html?
The Leapfrog Group Information from a nonprofit employer-advocacy group on overall patient safety and the safety of selected procedures, based on a survey of over 1,000 hospitals. http://www.leapfroggroup.org/
So after researching the hospital thoroughly (You should have done this before the interview) hopefully you also prepared for your interview. Some items to consider:
Is there a Nurse Residency program? How long is the residency?
Do they pair you up with a mentor?
Is there a contract commitment and how long is it?
This can sometimes be a warning sign if the hospital is having difficulty retaining nurses they will sign you into a contract. One year is fair however depending on if you are getting a sign on bonus or extensive orientation 2 years would be the maximum amount before I’d see some red flags here.
Are there nursing students at this hospital? Are there medical students?
This is usually a good indication the hospital is a good environment however I would be careful if it is labelled a “Teaching” hospital. (Can be a hard environment to work in as a brand new nurse).
How many nurses on the unit are involved in committees and activities outside the hospital?
Shows commitment to the profession
Works together better as a team
What type of leadership style is direct management?
Some leaders are more hands-on and/or can micromanage while others are more hands off but can seem distant/unapproachable. Look for these things during the interview.
Lastly: Word of Mouth>>>> Is there anyone you know who has worked in this organization before? How long ago? What was their experience? Volunteer while on school breaks in some hospitals/organizations you might want to work at once you are done with school. Use your time wisely during clinicals to network and assess if it is an area you would like to work once you are a nurse. This is a good opportunity to interview the workplace for yourself!