The Healthcare Careerist

Top 5 Specialties for Physician Assistants 08 April 14 09:16 AM postedby Maria Senior

As a current or aspiring physician assistant, you may be satisfied with the path your career has taken. But while you may enjoy your current position and work setting, it is important to realize that there are multiple specialties you could pursue in order to secure a salary that you truly deserve. This post looks at the top five specialties that might get you the salary you desire.

1. Urgent Care

Because urgent care PAs deal almost entirely with walk-in patients, they must be extremely well-versed in all possible aspects of their job, and must be comfortable entering into a situation entirely unprepared. The average salary for a PA in this field starts at around $50,000. This job is perfect for someone who thrives in a fast-paced environment and enjoys change.

2. Emergency Medicine

Similar to their brethren in urgent care, emergency medicine PAs must also be willing to work in a constantly changing atmosphere. The average emergency medicine PA makes around $87,000 per year.

3. Neurosurgery

Neurosurgery physician assistants, medical professionals tasked with assisting in operations on the brain and spinal cord, have an understanding of most or all of the conditions that come through the door. And while these individuals are not required to perform surgery themselves, they must have a strong grasp of neurological functions that may be pertinent during a surgical procedure. Neurosurgery PAs are well compensated, averaging around $100,000, depending location.

4. Cardiothoracic Surgery

Cardiothoracic surgery PAs work in a similar environment to those assisting neurosurgeons, and are required to perform all of the necessary tasks and functions when aiding a surgeon. Cardiothoracic surgery PAs can expect to live comfortably, with an average salary around $115,000 a year, depending on location.

5. Dermatology

PAs in dermatology are among the highest paid. Earning on average of $104,000 per year, they make more than most of their peers. Thanks to a growing demand for skin services and a lack of qualified dermatologists, the field of dermatology certainly boasts a bright future for PAs, notes one study.

Find the Right Specialty for You

There is no reason to settle on a specific PA specialty if you don't feel it is right. Consider one of these top five specialties—all of which provide good benefits and interesting work environments—as the next place you move as you advance along your career.

This post was written on behalf of the knowledgeable physicians at Prime Urgent Care. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!






How to Select the Best Job References 06 March 14 11:05 AM postedby Maria Senior

When searching for a new job in the healthcare field, securing the best job reference possible is imperative to your success in your career search. In fact, according to Shawn Vanderziel, vice president for human resources at the Field Museum in Chicago, “a good reference can seal the deal for a candidate.”

But unless you know where and how to select the people to give you a recommendation, you may instead wind up with something that ends up detracting from your overall presentation, rather than one that highlights your attributes and skills. If you are looking to advance your career as a healthcare worker, follow these few easy steps to get the reference you really want.

Understand the Importance

Before you begin asking around for a reference, it is important that you first understand the position you’re applying for, and how the reference may help. Most employers and recruiters first scour the sections of your résumé that include your work experience, education and skills and specializations, before even glancing at the page that contains a reference from a former boss or colleague. This means that as the reader begins to look at your references, he or she will already have manufactured a relative idea of you as an applicant, and are only looking for additional laud to raise you above the rest.

With this in mind, it is tantamount that you work as diligently as possible to claim the reference that you truly deserve—and make sure the rest of your résumé is flawless.

Pick the Right Sources

Now that you understand the importance of a reference, it is time for you to select the person or people who will give you a referral. In this case, some believe that it is acceptable to select colleagues and peers with whom you worked closely on an equal level (a fellow nurse, for instance), since they will have great insight into your work life, skills and attributes.

While including a reference from a colleague may yield you an extremely positive review, it may not be as impressive in the eyes of a potential employer. Instead, try to enlist the help of a current or former boss. They will have the most comprehensive knowledge of how you act and perform as an employee of the company. Make sure to choose someone with whom you had a good relationship. While former employers may not be able to say anything negative about you, having a former supervisor mention that you were excellent with patients or were quick to pick up new skills can go a long way.

Get a Referral for a Specific Job

It is fairly easy for a current or former boss of yours to send out a general job reference—one that highlights your skills as a worker and discusses how your abilities could be highly utilized at any future company. While that may project you in a positive light, a more detailed referral may raise your chances for landing a specific job (one that depends on your knowledge of specific skills). To match this specification then, send those giving you a reference a copy of a job description, or even a general outline of the tasks required and the nature of the work. With this information in hand, they will be able to craft a detailed reference that points out your suitability for the job in question.

Keep in Contact

Because the person who gave you a reference was at one point in time a vital part of your career, make sure to keep in contact with them on a regular basis and share with them the new developments in your work life. It is a common courtesy to show your appreciation through this simple act, and as an added bonus it keeps them in your professional network should you ever need a new referral in the future.

Additionally, while you maintain connections with your former colleagues, make sure to spend time creating new connections with those at your current place of work. You never know when an opportunity may open, and having a solid list of possible references will prepare you for anything. As a courtesy, be sure ask permission before listing anyone as a reference, and notify them afterward if you’ve decided to do so.  

Finally, an article published in Newsday recommends that you make sure your contact information for all references is up-to-date. If a potential employer can’t get a hold of one of your former employers, it could reflect poorly on you as a candidate.

Move Up in Your Career

Having a solid reference is one of the easiest ways to help advance yourself in your industry of choice. If you are ready to move up in your career, use these simple tips to get the reference you want and get the job you desire.

This article was written on behalf of Excalibur Exhibits. After getting your new job, keep them in mind for your employer’s exhibit needs.






Top 5 Mobile Apps for Your Job Search 17 February 14 01:33 PM postedby Maria Senior

Searching for a new job in healthcare can be a tedious and often unpleasant experience. From scouring the newspaper classifieds to hoping for word-of-mouth references, there are a variety of usual processes that often feel ineffective.

If this is the case, why not consider changing your approach to job hunting? If you would like to search for employment in the healthcare field while on-the-go, or stay updated with current job postings, turning to mobile applications and gadgets can help you elicit the results you need. Next time you visit the app store, consider adding one (or all) of these five great mobile apps to aid in the quest for your dream healthcare job:

Pocket CV

Since landing the job you truly want first depends on your presentation, it is important that you have a CV or résumé that highlights your employment history and accomplishments. Pocket CV, a new app, can do just that by dividing your résumé into seven separate sections and letting you fill in all of the information that you deem necessary. If you would rather let your device do the work, you can simply let the app import data from your LinkedIn profile while you search for the right employer. Additionally, Pocket CV allows you to e-mail your newly composed CV and résumé to prospective healthcare employers immediately, or save it to DropBox for future editing.


Most people are familiar with this Internet search tool, yet few realize that it has its own personalized app that can be used for those job-hunting on the go. The CareerBuilder mobile app can use your location to help you search for healthcare positions in your area; calculate the amount of applicants there are as competition; or even use GPS to display your potential commute to a specific job. This app is perfect for a day of traveling from location to location.


Unless you use the services of a healthcare job recruiter, you may find yourself sifting through countless hospital job listings in hope of finding one that fits your profile. TheLadders, a new mobile job-hunting app, streamlines the process by allowing you to search for jobs in your area based on your qualifications, industry, specializations, desired salary and more. You can also sort through a list of people who recently applied and compare your résumé against their skills and expertise. While this app doesn't allow you to apply to the job through its system, it will actively send you a reminder e-mail to submit a résumé when you get a chance.


Although many people view Twitter as simply a social connectivity and social media website, its uses are versatile in many ways—including being an effective tool for job seekers. Because recruiters at specific companies and hospitals want to reach as many broad pools possible, they often use Twitter as their megaphone, in hopes of reaching someone in the virtual realm that is interested in the job. Following your dream employers on Twitter can help you land a job there once a position finally opens up.


If you are searching for a new job in the medical field, LinkedIn can act as one of the most valuable tools in your entire resource cache. Even if you are only connected to 10 doctors, nurses or other workers on this site, it will often show you their subsequent connections, putting you in a pool of unlimited potential based on the knowledge of your peers and colleagues. The LinkedIn app will let you spot individuals that work at your desired company, and connect with them in hopes of using your new acquaintances as recommendations. As an added benefit, LinkedIn boasts a number of useful healthcare networks that may offer more information on current or upcoming job vacancies (as well as general information about healthcare issues). The top groups include the American Nurses Association, the Healthcare Executives Network, and the RN (Registered Nurse) Network.

Finding a Job in the Medical Field

Searching for a new job in the medical field can be an arduous process, leaving you flustered and even irritated by the effort involved. To help you find your dream job quickly and easily, try one of these great mobile job-hunting apps to put the power in the palm of your hand.

Chad Fisher knows how difficult it can be for any new graduate, especially those in the healthcare field, to find a career in a tough job market. In addition to using these mobile apps, Fisher recommends staying up-to-date with salary and job information so you can remain a competitive candidate. For instance, those looking for a career as an educator should utilize online resources like to find more information about teacher salaries.





Why You Should Include Mock Interviews in Your Job Search 04 February 14 03:11 PM postedby Maria Senior

Finding a healthcare job requires careful consideration throughout the application process. At this point, you have likely polished your resume and perfected your cover letter. However, it is also important to prepare for the next step by practicing your interview skills. During your interview with a prospective employer, the person you meet with will be assessing your communication skills as well as your level of experience. It is critical that you make a memorable impression that demonstrates your confidence and expertise. Although the idea of an interview makes many people nervous, it is possible to prepare and perfect your communication skills through participation in a mock interview. This post outlines the benefits of mock interviews and provides information on how to include one in your job search so that you put the best foot forward when meeting with a potential employer.

Benefits of a Mock Interview
A mock interview is designed to provide job seekers with a way to practice their interviewing skills in a low-pressure environment. According to the Illinois School of Health Careers, one of the benefits a person can receive from a mock interview is greater self-confidence. Although it is normal to feel some anxiety during a formal interview, nervousness can make it appear as though you lack confidence in your skills. By practicing your answers to common questions offered by employers in your field, you will be able communicate more effectively while eliminating the jitters that accompany participation in a job interview.

Choose a Career-Specific Interview
Any time you practice your interviewing skills, you will benefit. However, people who are pursuing a career in healthcare should be prepared for questions that are specific to their field. For example, a nursing candidate may be provided with questions about common scenarios he or she may come across during a typical work day. Questions such as “describe a problem you’ve faced on a clinical rotation” or “what would you do if a supervising physician questioned your work?” can be expected here. These types of behavioral-based questions can be challenging for those who have not experienced them in prior interviews. When you set up your mock interview, make sure that the questions asked will be tailored to fit your desired career. 

What to Expect During the Session
A mock interview should be conducted in a setting that is as close as possible to the actual environment you will be in during a real-life interview. Therefore, you can expect to begin your mock interview with a brief introduction and handshake. After introducing yourself, you will then sit down and begin the next portion of your interview by answering questions. Typically, a mock interview will last for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, but it may go longer if your chosen career requires extensive or challenging questioning styles. During your mock interview, the interviewer may take notes or ask you to expand further on your answers. Remember that it is important to focus on providing the same level of answers that you will provide to an actual employer. Following your interview, ask for a critique of your skills and feedback about any areas in which you may need to improve. 

Methods of Recording Feedback
Depending on the type of mock interview you schedule, you may receive several different types of feedback. A videotaped session is one of the most popular methods of recording a mock interview because it provides a way to see how your physical mannerisms and body language come across to a prospective employer. Although projecting confidence through well-planned answers is important, nervous habits such as biting your nails may create a negative image to a prospective employer. In addition to a video, you may also receive an evaluation form with notes that the interviewer made regarding your body language and answers. 

Prepare for the Mock Interview
To get the most out of your mock interview, it is important to treat it as though it were real. Before your interview, practice going over some answers to questions you may encounter when searching for a job. According to the University of Montana, it is important to avoid memorizing answers. Instead, you should focus on remembering past experiences that you may use to demonstrate your knowledge. For example, you may have come across one of the experiences described in situational questions during your internship or clinical rotations while in school. On the day of your interview, dress appropriately and arrive on time just as you would for an actual meeting with a prospective employer.

How to Implement Strategies from the Critique
After your interview, you will want to allow for some time to go over the lessons gleaned from your critique. The mock interviewer (or your friend, family member or colleague) will often suggest strategies that you can implement to perfect your skills. Take this information and continue to practice your communication skills. If you feel the need to further practice, then you can also schedule a second mock interview after you have had some time to implement the strategies you learned during your feedback session.
As with any skill, practice will make you stand out among the competition during the interview process of your job search. It is normal to feel some nervousness when you are interviewing for your preferred position; however, much of your anxiety will be alleviated when you know you have come to the interview prepared. By participating in a mock interview, you can greet your prospective employer and answer their questions with full confidence that you will come across as the best candidate for the position.

This article was written by Sadie Gillespie, a medical student preparing for that not-so-distant job hunt. If you're like Sadie, scrambling to strengthen your interview skills, try utilizing your iPad for interview prep, presentations and note taking, along with the help of any of the Kensington iPad covers.

5 Ways to Get Promoted 18 November 13 02:46 PM postedby Maria Senior

A healthcare career comes with many rewards, and among these, opportunities for career advancement is at the top of the list. Whether a person begins his or her career as a nursing assistant or a licensed physician, there is always room for professional growth and development. However, a promotion is only in reach for people who position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities that exist to develop their skills through practical and educational experiences. Leaders in healthcare can demonstrate their expertise while maintaining an edge on the competition by utilizing the following five tips for earning a promotion.

1. Create a Personal Mission Statement

Effective leaders always have their eye on the next step toward promotion, and developing a step-by-step plan to achieve your goal is one of the best ways to achieve this. Create a personal mission statement that outlines how your strengths can be utilized to further the goals of a healthcare organization. Then, be ready to present your personal mission statement during interviews and other opportunities to convince potential employers that your skills and professional experience are the perfect match for a specific position. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your personal statement in front of others, consider outlining your goals and tracking your progress yourself. According to an article posted by the University of California-Berkley, goal setting can help with motivation and self-confidence, and there are a number of “visioning exercises” you can do to help clarify and outline your goals and track your progress.

2. Join a Professional Association

At every level of a healthcare career, professional associations can offer a wide range of benefits. Among these are education and training opportunities that can keep you informed of the most recent research-based medical techniques and procedures. Consider signing up for a class to advance a skillset, or even work toward earning an advanced degree (required for many managerial positions). By becoming a member of a professional organization, you can also demonstrate your dedication to providing quality healthcare services that will make you stand out as the right candidate for an advanced position within an organization.

3. Pursue Higher Education

One of the fastest tracks for career advancement is to pursue opportunities to refine your skills through a higher education degree or certification. Depending on your area of specialization, earning an advanced degree, specialized certification or an additional license can demonstrate competence and expert knowledge that may be required before you can be eligible for a promotion.

An example of this can be found in the career advancement opportunities available in the nursing field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses can advance their careers by gaining experience and graduate education. Those who have a membership in a professional association can often find educational opportunities along with the personal and financial support that can assist a person through the educational program.

4. Increase Visibility by Networking

Networking is an essential component of advancing in any career. Taking part in corporate functions such as seminars and meetings is one way to gain visibility. Additionally, taking continuing education courses and joining professional associations will put you in touch with other healthcare professionals, who can offer insight into new opportunities for advancement. Social media platforms like LinkedIn can also be used to highlight your accomplishments while allowing you to keep an eye out for new jobs and to interact with people in management level positions that can offer their recommendation for your promotion.

5. Demonstrate Leadership through Volunteering

Candidates for promotion often undergo a screening process that includes the decisions of several people on the management team. Standing out among a group of eligible candidates will require you to establish yourself as a leader in your field, and one of the most effective ways to demonstrate leadership is to volunteer a solution to a problem. Once a solution has been offered, you can then initiate the process of leading a team to handle the project.

Volunteering for projects that pertain to your desired position can also show off your skills and professional expertise—something that will be noticed by higher management. As an added benefit, this practical experience can be included on your resume and discussed during the interview process.

Before you seek a promotion within your field, it is essential that you develop a clear idea of the direction for your career. Using this as a guide, you can then develop a plan that will serve as your personal mission. Due to the high level of responsibility that leaders in the healthcare field hold in their roles, higher education and training are essential for most leadership positions within any organization. Therefore, taking advantage of opportunities to develop your skill set (while tackling higher-level roles) is the most effective way to stand out from your peers. It is sure to pay off through promotions and other opportunities for career advancement. 

This article was contributed on behalf of The Veterans Law Group, which specializes in representing people affected by post-traumatic stress disorder.

Career Change Tips for Baby Boomers 05 November 13 12:05 PM postedby Maria Senior

More people than ever are changing jobs, particularly in light of layoffs and industry closures. While some people who were once involved in the healthcare industry are taking the opportunity to move into new jobs, given that healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the nation, many more baby boomers are looking for a way to break into the field or move up the career ladder. 

The assumption that most baby boomers are retiring and staying at home is a flawed one; in fact, an article in US News and World Report stated that the number of college students between the ages of 40 and 64 has “jumped by almost 20%, to nearly 2 million in the past decade.” Whether it be for love of education, to earn a degree for the first time, or to help them qualify for another position in the healthcare field, one thing is clear: Personal and professional exploration doesn’t need to stop at age 55. 

Baby Boomers Affected by Low Job Levels
Baby boomers are among those most affected by the recent unemployment epidemic. People in this age group may be less likely to lose their jobs than younger workers overall, but they are more likely to be forced into early retirement and are less likely to find new jobs if they become unemployed, according to recent Bureau of Labor findings.
This means that baby boomers who are looking for work may need to change job fields altogether. Because training for many healthcare jobs can be completed in two years or less, those in the 55-and-over age bracket may be finding themselves back in the classroom and quickly moving into new jobs in the healthcare industry.

How Baby Boomers Can Choose the Right Healthcare Job 
Choosing the right job at age 55 or older is an important decision. If you are considering entering the healthcare field at a more advanced age, you have little time to try out different jobs before finding the right one for you. Likewise, if you are considering switching positions within the healthcare field, you must also factor in training time before you can begin work. 
Here are some tips for choosing the right healthcare job if you are searching for a new career after working in another field for many years.

Think About Your Strengths

By now you should know what you enjoy doing and are good at. Of course, you may not have had much opportunity to exercise those skills in your younger years, but now you may find you have the chance. If you already know you are good at dealing with the public, you may want to choose a job that brings you into contact with others. On the other hand, if you have had your fill of dealing with crowds, you may want to seek a more isolated job, such as a lab position.

For people already in healthcare, switching careers within the field is also an option. Many aging healthcare workers find that they enjoy working in less stressful healthcare positions, such as social worker, school nurse, or homecare aide.

Consider Your Own Health

If you do not think you can spend long hours on your feet, a desk job might be more appropriate than a nursing or EMT position. Further, if you have special health issues such as diabetes, be sure that your job will accommodate your condition. 

Opt for Quicker Training

Some jobs have options for how quickly you can complete your training, depending on the level of education you desire. For example, you can take a full four-year college degree to become a registered nurse, but there are also technical school two-year programs. These degrees will often give you access to the same jobs as a four-year degree but do not support promotion to a higher job level. In the case of a late-life career change, you may not be worried about promotion as much as securing a job quickly.

What If I Want To Leave Healthcare?
Many of the same tips apply to leaving the healthcare field and moving into a new field. In addition to the above tips, healthcare professionals may want to consider the following when changing jobs late in life:
• Use your previous experience in another field. Healthcare professionals can often find jobs easily in fields that have some common ground with healthcare. For example, many former nurses make great teachers for healthcare classes at high schools or community colleges.

Former pharmacists may work as consultants or sales representatives for pharmaceutical companies.
• Save money if possible. Most career transitions are costly, so be prepared to live lean for a bit until you are established in your new career. It helps if you can save some money prior to changing careers.

People who want to make a late-in-life career change may find that healthcare is a great way to start a second career. For those who have been working in healthcare for many years, taking it slow and using prior experience can make the transition much easier.


How to Deal With a Bad Performance Review 21 October 13 11:34 AM postedby Maria Senior

One of the most common fears among healthcare employees is the dreaded performance review. No matter how well you perform your job, it is still frightening to think of being observed and graded by a peer or supervisor. Performance reviews become even more upsetting when they contain negative information that can impact your job status, salary, or both.

Before you take any action about a bad performance review, it is important to weigh your options. According to an article from the Wall Street Journalrecommendations about handling a bad performance review can be applied to healthcare as well as business situations. Here are some tips for handling a bad performance review successfully and possibly turning the negative into a positive.

Start at the Source

The person who gave you the bad performance review is the first person to talk to, if possible. This is a conversation that should be calm, cool and collected; do not start out angry or negative. If the conversation threatens to get out of control, walk away until you can cool down. It can be helpful to carefully jot down your questions and concerns on a sheet of paper to organize your thoughts before approaching the conversation. If you can communicate your position clearly with the person who gave you the review, you may be able to change the outcome. If not, you can get an idea of why that person gave you a negative review. Regardless of your score, your supervisor should be able to communicate areas of concern with you.

See it as a Chance to Improve

It is possible that some points on a negative review are true. In most cases, the nursing manager or supervisor is simply trying to offer helpful feedback and highlight room for a nurse’s professional growth.

If you know you have a habit of being late to work, for example, it is important to apologize, promise to be on time and then keep your word. If you know you struggle with performing a certain procedure, ask a seasoned person to train you in a new technique, or to oversee your work. Sometimes, all an employer wants is to point out areas in which you can improve, so use this time as a learning experience.

Go Through Channels

While performance reviews are meant to simply offer feedback to healthcare workers, in rare cases, a bad review may be issued unfairly.

If you believe that the negative performance review is unjust and that you deserve a higher rating (and if you have previously spoken with the manager about your concerns), it may be time to talk to another supervisor or request an additional performance review. Be aware that by "going over the head" of your evaluator or immediate supervisor, you may be creating ill will. This should not stop you if you cannot communicate with your boss or if your supervisor is being unfair or is discriminating against you. It is important to stand up for your rights, especially if you are being asked to do something illegal or unethical, and receive a bad review for your refusal.


The more documentation you have to support your position, the easier it will be to fight a bad performance review. This means keeping careful records of your actions as a healthcare employee. Maintain good files and back up your information frequently on a separate drive if you are allowed to do so. Obviously, you cannot violate patient confidentiality; however, information like your work hours, how often you were absent and why, and your general job performance are not covered by confidentiality clauses. Further, if you have any written evidence from other employees or supervisors, it is a good idea to collect this as support for your claim that your performance review is inaccurate.

Understand the Relative Consequences

It may be unpleasant to hear yourself described in negative terms, but you must also weigh the likelihood that a negative review will affect your salary or job status against the possible consequences of fighting your negative review. Often, you may be better off swallowing your pride and chalking the negative review up to a learning experience.

Take Action

If your supervisor or your employer offers you no satisfaction or if you are the victim of sexual or other types of harassment at work, you may need to take action with a governing body. For healthcare workers, state boards of health are generally the venue for appeals. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handles charges of discrimination against employers who refuse to address these concerns.

It’s important to remember that a bad performance review does not necessarily mean the end of your healthcare career. In fact, you should simply view it as useful feedback. After receiving a bad review, carefully assess whether there are areas that you need to improve upon. It can be helpful to prepare for a nursing performance review year-round, so that when the review day comes, you are familiar with the categories in which you will be evaluated. Ultimately, if you feel that you were unjustly issued a poor review, utilize all methods to address the situation.   

Terry Montrose is a writer who shares experiences from her time in the corporate medical world, and she has seen countless people rise above a poor performance review to achieve their executive goals. For anyone seeking to boost their executive presence, she recommends utilizing the corporate trainers at PB Talent.

Describing Your Strengths and Weaknesses 10 October 13 11:37 AM postedby Maria Senior

There are a couple interview questions every candidate dreads hearing. These questions are feared not because they require quick analytical skills or problem solving on the spot. Rather, these questions stump candidates because there doesn’t seem to be a right answer. One of the most popular — and most nerve-wracking — interview questions is: “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”

For a worker in the healthcare field (or, an employee in any field), pointing out your weaknesses seems counterproductive. Your job interview is your time to highlight your strong history of employment and your many accomplishments. When faced with this question, candidates often worry that they may hurt their chances by divulging information about their weaknesses. Instead, they try to spin the question by turning it into something positive: saying that they “work too hard,” for instance.  If there is one bit of advice that can be bestowed upon healthcare workers facing this interview question, it’s this: Be honest.

Honesty is Key

Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the nation. As such, you can expect HR department heads and supervisors have heard just about every answer when it comes to interviews. According to CNN, employers don’t want to hear literal responses (or, weaknesses you may have in your personal life) or generic responses like “I’m too detail-oriented.” CareerBuilder writer Rachel Zupek advises candidates to be honest about their weaknesses. This may involve a bit of self-reflection (see below for tips on how to identify your weaknesses), but you should always address an actual area of concern. The key to making your answer work in your favor is to talk about either how you’ve worked on addressing your weakness or how you plan to improve. One possible answer to “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” would be:

“I believe my strengths lie in clinical skills and charting. I’ve always been a quick learner and very detail oriented, so these are areas I typically excel in. One of my biggest weaknesses is that I sometimes struggle and get overwhelmed when working under pressure. However, I’ve gotten much better at handling myself in stressful situations over time, and I think working at a larger hospital such as yours would give me a chance to further improve.”

Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Sometimes, candidates are stumped when they hear this difficult interview question not because they aren’t willing to answer honestly, but because they haven’t taken the time to actually identify their strengths and weaknesses. Preparation is essential for any interview.

In an interview with Forbes, author David Parnell breaks it down by stating simply, “A workplace strength is any ability that is enjoyable, applicable, and that you are better at than most of your colleagues.” Parnell suggests paying close attention to your feelings when carrying out certain tasks to determine whether or not they are strengths for you. For instance, when working with patient advocacy and communication, do you feel frustrated, flustered or confused? If so, your strengths may lie elsewhere. Likewise, if you feel happy, fulfilled and confident when working directly with patients, this may be an area in which you excel.

Just as you wouldn’t want to be too generic with your response about weaknesses, nor do you want to be generic with your response about your strengths. The best way to avoid being too generic is to provide an example. If you excel at leadership, give a quick explanation that supports your claim. Did you supervise a team of nurses? Train team members on new technology?

The best way to prepare for this question is to work on identifying and routinely improving your strengths and weaknesses. Many people find it helpful to create a list of their strengths and weaknesses, along with a separate column that details ways to improve. 

Follow Through

While this question can be a pain to answer, it prompts candidates to develop an important trait: self-reflection. The best way to improve as an employee is to continually work on correcting your weaknesses and building on your strengths. Lily Whiteman of The Washington Post writes that interviewers ask this question not because they’re expecting applicants to be completely transparent, but because they like to know that a candidate possesses “key qualities such as self-awareness, humility, sincerity, zest and skill in managing shortcomings and mistakes.” Displaying these characteristics not only in your answer to this question, but in your work ethic as an employee afterward, will help you find success in the healthcare field long after the interview has concluded.

Johanna Flattery is an engineering student who also blogs about a wide range of topics related to employment and job hunting. 

The Impact of Healthcare Reform on Nursing 24 September 13 02:18 PM postedby Maria Senior

The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, made sweeping changes to the healthcare industry. The law included measures that were designed to reduce common insurance industry abuses and improve access and affordability for consumers. The individual mandate is often considered the most far-reaching aspect of the legislation. This mandate requires that most consumers purchase health insurance policies or plans that cover specific essential health benefits to help people stay healthy or better manage chronic conditions. Health insurance exchanges will be created to provide consumers and small businesses with search and comparison tools, insurance plan ratings and a uniform application process. 

How Healthcare Reform Will Affect the Healthcare Industry
Ultimately, the Affordable Care Act will increase the number of people accessing healthcare. Experts have estimated that more than 40 million people will enter the healthcare system. Many of these patients will need only routine or preventive care to maintain their health. Others, particularly those who have previously lacked access to healthcare and aging baby boomers, may need more active health management and more extensive care. Healthcare professionals are already in great demand, and nursing staff is often short-handed. This influx of new patients could place a significantly increased burden on doctors and nurses.

The nearly 3 million registered nurses who currently work in clinical settings, hospitals and skilled nursing facilities act as the foundation of the healthcare system. Registered nursing is becoming an increasingly important job with enhanced responsibilities. The new emphasis on preventive care along with new models of care delivery will require flexibility, stringent adherence to protocols, coordinated holistic healthcare and careful management of chronic health problems. The healthcare industry will increasingly rely on the skills of nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

The demand for registered nurses will only increase as the healthcare system expands and transforms to include nurse-managed healthcare and quality-of-care improvements. RNs will need to be adaptable and prepared for the changes that are coming over the horizon so that they can continue to respond to the healthcare needs of the millions of Americans currently in their care and those who soon will be.

Meeting New Challenges
The Affordable Care Act has created a framework for team-based care that is designed to improve patient outcomes. This new model of healthcare ensures that consumers have access to a team of healthcare professionals including physicians, PAs, NPs, pharmacists and psychologists when needed. These healthcare teams will work closely together to boost quality of care and reduce costs but may place an added burden on nurses and allied health workers.
The new care delivery model will almost certainly increase demand, which is why the Affordable Care Act is also designed to invest in the healthcare workers who will manage the system. This investment is critical to the success of the ACA and will substantially increase funding to numerous programs, including:

• Investments in the National Nurse Service Corps, which helps nurses repay student loans in exchange for their work in 
underserved areas

• Investments in the National Health Service Corps, which increases access to primary care providers in underserved areas

• Increases funding for nursing scholarships, grants and loan repayment programs to stimulate interest and accessibility to training in the healthcare field

• Investments in research into improved patient care and outcomes

Healthcare providers will also enjoy a more streamlined system. Paperwork will be standardized and simplified to reduce red tape and costly, time-consuming bureaucracy. Innovative primary care models are being developed, and coordinated care management models will ensure that healthcare workers have the tools they need to provide efficient, consistently high-quality care. Using coordinated standards, rewards for meeting patient outcome goals and establishing medically driven priorities will all play roles in the new healthcare model. 

New Opportunities
The fastest growing job in the healthcare industry is that of the registered nurse, which is predicted to increase nearly 25 percent. More than half a million registered nurse jobs will be available, and another quarter of a million positions will be available for CNAs, transport teams and allied health fields. In fact, over the next 15 years, an estimated 25 percent of all new jobs will be in the healthcare industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For those in the healthcare community, the changes associated with healthcare reform will bring many new challenges—but also new opportunities.

Guest author Lana Delridge writes about the ensuing ramifications of the Affordable Care Act on a variety of different groups, ranging from recent college graduates to veterans with mesothelioma

Top 5 Physical Therapy Specializations 23 September 13 01:14 PM postedby Maria Senior

The field of physical therapy focuses on the treatment of a medical condition through external methods, rather than through surgical or pharmaceutical means. Due in part to an aging population and increased access to healthcare, physical therapy (like many other healthcare fields) is expected to see higher than average growth over the next 10 years. In fact, according to US News, this particular field will see an employment growth of 39%. In addition, unemployment in the field remains lower than average, at 1.8%.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary for a physical therapist as of May 2012 was $81,110. Physical therapists are employed in many different settings, including private physician practices, hospitals, nursing homes and healthcare clinics. Home healthcare agencies also employ physical therapists to provide care in patients’ homes, and some physical therapists operate their own facilities. Salaries and demand for physical therapists vary greatly from state to state. Highly populated states generally offer more and better employment opportunities for physical therapists. 

While physical therapists can specialize in any number of areas, from orthopedics to sports rehab, all physical therapists must obtain a graduate degree (either a master of physical therapy or doctor of physical therapy) from an accredited program, and apply for a license.

According to the statistics of the American Board of Physical Therapists, the following are the top five specializations within the field of physical therapy.

As a subset of physical therapy developed over the 1970s and 80s, geriatric physical therapy deals with the treatment of health conditions in older adults. This type of therapy can also help stroke patients regain lost physical function and improve the lives of patients with degenerative diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Elderly patients, who regularly deal with a number of health issues, may also struggle with depression or stress; as a result, physical therapists in this field must be creative, patient, pay close attention to detail, and be comfortable working as part of a larger medical team, according to Andrew A. Guccione (author of Geriatric Physical Therapy). The average salary for a geriatric physical therapist varies by location, but can be anywhere from $80,000 to $92,000.

While children and infants are affected by many of the same types of illnesses and injuries as adults, their smaller bodies often respond differently to treatment. Pediatric physical therapists provide specialized care for younger patients, and often work with them to develop motor skills. Pediatric physical therapists typically work with children with congenital health problems and birth defects, such as spina bifida and Down syndrome. These patients can benefit from early intervention and therapy while their bodies are still growing. The average salary for a pediatric physical therapist can range anywhere from $84,000 in Virginia to as high as $115,000 in larger cities like New York.

Orthopedic physical therapy is one of the more well-known disciplines in the field of physical therapy. Orthopedics is dedicated to musculoskeletal health. The arms, legs, hands and feet are the parts of the body most prone to severe injury, such as sprains, strains, joint problems, breaks and amputation. Physical therapists can help treat these conditions and improve range of motion and flexibility of injured limbs. Physical therapy can also help patients who must learn to use a prosthetic device to replace a missing limb.

People who have sustained neurological damage, such as that caused by a severe head injury from a fall or automobile accident, often benefit from ongoing physical therapy to regain lost function. Repetitive exercises and other types of therapy can help improve nerve and muscle function for many patients with brain damage or other nervous system impairments. 

Athletes are prone to specialized injuries and although some of these injuries can be treated using orthopedic therapy, some require additional, targeted care. Sports physical therapists are specially trained in the treatment and rehabilitation of neuromusculoskletal injuries. Physical therapists who specialize in sports injuries can work at a larger clinic or hospital, or work as part of a medical staff for a sports team.

Regardless of the specialty, the work of a physical therapist generally includes meeting with patients to identify the reasons that treatment is being sought. After determining the cause and nature of the patient’s problems, a care regimen is developed. Some patients require a comprehensive, full-body approach to physical therapy, while others may only need to improve one particular body part or body function. Physical therapists work to treat each patient’s condition using such methods as moving or manipulating an area of the body, repeatedly practicing a specific motion or retraining an injured area of the body that has lost the ability to perform as it once did. Physical therapists also help patients with balance and coordination problems, mobility problems and limited physical endurance. Some of the most common conditions treated by physical therapists include helping patients regain the use of an injured limb, recover from a stroke or severe head injury, or learn to live with a physical deformity or missing body part. In general, physical therapists must themselves be in good physical condition to assist with patient mobility. They must be effective communicators and possess a caring persona.

Physical therapy is an excellent career choice for a person who enjoys caring for others but who does not wish to undergo the rigors of medical school. The work of physical therapists is important to the recovery of patients with severe injuries and illnesses. The demand for talented and caring physical therapists is only expected to increase in the coming years as the American population ages and healthcare technologies improve.

Bailey Dominguez is a Texas resident, health care blogger and aspiring physical therapist. By going into physical therapy, she looks forward to assisting people who put their bodies on the line in their professions, such as roofers and AC Repair specialists in Houston, Texas. 

How to Answer the “Tell Me about Yourself” Question 22 August 13 11:47 AM postedby ADVANCE

Interviews for healthcare positions often include the dreaded “tell me about yourself” question. While many candidates feel uncomfortable answering this question (or are just unsure of how to respond), this is actually a powerful tool that can be used in any industry to help the employer determine if a candidate is a good fit. Rather than sweat this open-ended question, candidates can use these tips to answer with ease.


Understand Why the Question is Being Asked

The specific reasons for the question are likely to vary; however, the question is most often asked to determine how articulate the candidate is, how he or she handles a stressful situation (or a situation that catches them off guard), and to determine the level of confidence the candidate has in his or her abilities. According to an article in BusinessInsider, knowing how to answer this question quickly and confidently can “set the tone for the entire interview” and do just as much (if not more) for you than your résumé.

While it is not at all uncommon for interviewers to ask this question, many candidates still find it particularly difficult to answer. Instead of seeing this question as a challenge or allowing themselves to be stumped, healthcare candidates should see it as an opportunity to describe themselves in a positive manner and to highlight their strengths.

How Not to Answer

The interviewer does not want to know about your hobbies, likes and dislikes. Instead, the interviewer just wants to know what type of employee you are and whether you meet the requirements for the position. You should never disclose personal or potentially negative details about your life, including where you were born or where you moved when you were young, how many children you have, the name of your spouse, or what you like to do on the weekends.

Keep it Short and Simple

When answering the “tell me about yourself” question, keep your answer brief. The employer is seeking a little bit of information about you — not your entire life story. According to an article in Forbes, your answer to this question should be no more than two minutes, and it should cover your education, work history and recent career experience. Spend the majority of your (very limited) time discussing your recent career experience by mentioning an important accomplishment.

Let Them Know What Brought You Here

In addition to quickly covering your education history and work experience, an article by CNN suggests concluding your response by informing the interviewer of your future goals. Doing so can also help answer yet another difficult question: “Why did you leave your last job?”

For example, an aspiring surgical nurse might respond with:

“I earned a bachelor of science in nursing from University of X, and I have been working as a managing nurse at Children’s Hospital for the last 10 years, where I supervised a staff of five and [mention one or two additional accomplishments]. While I enjoyed my time with the hospital, I am looking for an opportunity that will allow me to allow me to further develop my clinical skills in pediatric surgery.”

Ask the Interviewer a Follow-up Question

If you feel comfortable enough, you may want to consider following up your response with a question for the interviewer. This can be a question about the position, or about what characteristics that will make someone successful in this position. Asking a question of the interviewer after providing your response can help you portray yourself as confident, driven and (most importantly) very serious about the position.

Practice Makes Perfect

An experienced interviewer can always spot someone who is unprepared for an interview. Unprepared candidates may ramble on about their life history or even negative aspects of their work history, and delve into personal matters that are not relevant to the position. A good rule of thumb is to focus on what interests the interviewer.

It is crucial that any person going for an interview is fully prepared to answer this question with poise and confidence. This will come with practice. Ask a friend or family member to run through a practice interview with you, and have them ask you some of these tough questions. When it comes time to answer, you will be prepared and ready to deliver with confidence.

Guest author Christie Logan contributed this post on behalf of NOVA Medical Centers, a nationwide leader in pre-employment drug testing and other occupational medicine services.

How to Write an Interview Thank You Letter 07 August 13 12:42 PM postedby ADVANCE

Sending a thank you letter to a potential employer after an interview is a crucial step that most job seekers (more than 40 percent, in fact) completely disregard. Crafting the perfect thank you letter can help provide the edge that is needed to stand out from the other applicants. And in an industry that can be extremely competitive, like healthcare, taking steps to stand out is essential.


It is important to send your letter within two business days of the interview. Rather than just thanking the interviewer for his or her time, the thank you letter should:


·         Display your appreciation for the interest that the employer took in you and your application

·         Reiterate the interest that you have for the position that you applied for

·         Review and remind the employer or interviewer about the qualifications that you have for the position.


thank you interview letterThe Basics

When you begin writing your thank you letter, start by thanking the interviewer for his or her time as well as for their consideration for the job. Much like you would clarify the position you are applying for in your cover letter, so should you be specific about the job that you interviewed about. For example, writing “thank you for taking the time this afternoon to discuss the assistant medical coder position at your hospital,” reminds the interview which position you were interested in.


Be Personal

While e-mailing a thank you letter is acceptable, traditional mail is preferred. A handwritten note typically comes across as more personal. Don’t forget that your thank you letter still leaves an impression; as such, take the time to carefully check and re-check the spelling and grammar to ensure the letter appears professional. If you struggle with penmanship, you may want to type your note.


Demonstrate You Were Paying Attention

To demonstrate that you were paying attention and that you took the time to write a note specifically for this interviewer (rather than recycle a previous thank you note), mention something the two of you discussed during your interview. This can be as simple as conveying your excitement about a new addition to the hospital or mentioning an interesting or surprising aspect you learned about the position for which you interviewed.


Reiterate What You Have to Offer

Take a small portion of your thank you letter to refresh the recipient’s memory about exactly what you have to offer. This shouldn’t be as lengthy as your cover letter, but simply adding a few sentences about what skills you possess will once again convey you as a great candidate. For this section, you should draw on your conversation with the interviewer or look for small clues about the company’s current needs. For instance, if your interviewer spoke about hectic patient volume, mention once again that you excel at multi-tasking and work well under pressure.


Seal the Deal

Finally, let the interviewer for the position know that you are ready to start working. Display a bit of tenacity in this section—you should appear confident and excited about the possibility of being part of their team. Be sure to include your contact information once again in the close of your letter. Not only will this save your interviewer from having to dig through piles of resumes for your number or email, but it also makes it easier for him or her to contact you to offer you the position.


What to Do if You Do Not Hear from the Employer

When your interview ends, the interviewer should inform you of the procedures for following up with potential hires. This includes information about who will be contacting you, how they will contact you (email, phone, etc.), and when you should expect to hear something from the healthcare facility. If you were not informed of this, of did not ask, you can use the thank you letter in order to find out.


If more than a week has passed since you were informed that you would hear something, you can take initiative to email or call in order to find out the status of the hiring. Always do so in a polite and respectful manner—you are likely to receive a quicker response this way.


Skipping the thank you note can be a mistake—especially in the healthcare field. Taking the time to write a thank you letter for your interviewer can help you stand out from other applicants and, more importantly, offer you an extra chance to make a lasting impression.


A thank you letter is certainly not exclusive to people applying for jobs in the healthcare industry; the same tips apply to people seeking finance or accounting related opportunities, such as those found at

How to Get a Job After a Long Layoff 30 July 13 03:42 PM postedby ADVANCE

As a healthcare professional, you have spent countless hours obtaining your education or certification. Landing your first job was both exciting and overwhelming. But when cutbacks hit, you may find yourself a victim of the unemployment line. If you’re one of the thousands facing this situation, your next thought is likely, “What now?”

Sometimes you may be lucky enough to find a job within a week; however, many healthcare professionals find themselves facing longer periods of layoff, which can leave them discouraged.

While it may be tempting to curl up and hide, instead you need to learn what it takes to obtain that next job. The more confident you become at making yourself marketable, the more quickly you will distinguish yourself from other applicants when attempting to break back into the field.


The marketability that you have actually refers to several different elements. These elements include:

getting a job after a layoff• how desirable you are for employment

• your worth as a prospective hire

• academic preparedness

• personal characteristics: motivated, ambitious and dedicated.

The marketability that you possess also denotes the amount of flexibility you have when  searching for new employment. Just because you have been out of work doesn’t mean that you have to settle for a job that is below your skill level.

So, how can you become more marketable? Use the following tips to ensure that you’re as desirable as possible to a potential new employer.

The Resume

Your resume is your voice. This is the first impression that your potential employer will have of you, therefore you should ensure that it’s impressive. Include evidence of leadership, social skills, academic achievements and your personal initiative. You need to stand out from the other healthcare professionals who may be applying for the same position — and your resume is your first weapon to achieve this.

Think of your resume as a calling card. The more impressive you make it, the more desired you will become as a candidate for the position. Polish up your resume by correcting any typos, and make sure your information and employment history is up-to-date.

Donate Your Services

If you’re out of work for long periods of time, you’re likely to become restless. Instead of twiddling your thumbs, consider donating your services and expertise. Look around your local area for clinics or other healthcare facilities that could use your services. While this work oftentimes goes uncompensated, it will allow you to pad your resume and keep practicing important skills. This is also a great way to make connections that could lead to a new job opportunity.

Think Globally, and Brush Up on Skills

If you’re a smart worker in a global economy, you should be capable of working for diverse facilities of any size. Learn another language, take time to participate in multicultural initiatives, and attend seminars and workshops. In addition to preparing yourself for a new environment, take time to brush up on existing skills, and add a few new ones.

Consider taking classes toward earning a new certification. Whether it’s an introduction to a new nursing technique or a technology-related course for medical coders, using your time off to earn a new certification will make you more competitive when you’re ready to jump back into the workforce.

Explaining the Loss of Employment

No matter the cause of your unemployment — restructured, terminated, downsized, etc. — be honest about the reason for your dismissal. If you don’t tell the truth, it will likely come out when your potential employer verifies your references. This may actually cause you to lose the job offer. 

Stay positive. Explain what you have learned during your unemployment period and how you can use this new knowledge to contribute to the job where you’re interviewing.

Make sure you have legitimate and strong references. This can be your best asset in a situation of long-term unemployment.

It may be difficult for someone in the healthcare industry to deal with a period of unemployment. You took the time to complete years of education, yet have lost a job that you worked hard to earn. By using the tips and information here, you can get back into the workforce more prepared — and more driven — than ever.

This article was written by Robert Tritter, an aspiring lawyer who looks forward to establishing himself in the legal field. He writes this on behalf of the Farley Law Firm, a firm with an expertise in cases involving Wrongful Termination.

How to Research a Company Before the Interview 08 July 13 12:36 PM postedby ADVANCE

You've applied for a job, submitted a stunning resume, and have been selected for an interview. This is great: You're ahead of a number of other applicants, and your chances of getting the job are increasing every step of the way. To give yourself an even better chance, ensure that you leave a great impression after the interview by doing a bit of research beforehand.


Why You Should Research the Company?

By becoming familiar with the company you're interviewing with — be it a hospital or small clinic, a research center or a medical laboratory — you gain a better understanding of exactly what the job you're applying for might entail. You also can learn about the organization’s workplace culture, future developments in the company, and any rules, regulations, or managerial attitudes that might affect your employment.


research company before interviewResearch will help you answer common interview questions such as, “Why do you want to work for us?" and, "Do you have any questions for me?" The first is easily answered if you can relate your reply to the company's mission statement, core values, or recent advancements in the area that you’re applying for a position in. Has the hospital recently expanded their psychiatric ward to benefit their patients? Has a research center made a breakthrough in cancer treatment?


When you respond to the second question, remember to mention that you've done taken the time to do research. For example, "I saw on your website that …” is a great lead in. Make sure you have a number of questions ready to go. Ask about the organization’s goals for a new project that you read about or the increase in patient volume expected at a new clinic.


Additionally, having extra information on hand can help you feel prepared for a promising interview, and build your confidence before you even set foot in the door. Going the extra step shows that you are enthusiastic and care about the job.


The Best Way to Get Information

Your first resource should be the company's website. The "About Us" section usually includes an official mission statement, history, a list of services offered, and management or departments within the organization. You'll occasionally get new information by following the company on a social media network such as Twitter or Facebook. LinkedIn offers company profiles with statistics, recent job postings, and recent hires and layoffs. If the company has been featured recently in any news articles or videos, try to bring them up during the interview.


If you have a connection with someone who currently works at the company, ask them what it's like to work there or if there's anything that they think you should know. Gather details about the dress code, hours you might be expected to work, and what you could expect during the interview. During your interview, if you judge it to be appropriate, mention this contact.


Showing Off Your Knowledge

Once you compile all the useful information you can, it's important to not let your hard work go to waste. During the interview, comment on your research as often as you can without sounding awkward. Refer to how their values correspond to your own, when asked why you might be a good fit for the organization. Ask what the interviewer thinks about recent achievements. Drop a comment about how you've always been interested in a lesser-known aspect of the company's services.

If the company doesn't have much information available online, talk about how you tried to do some research about certain topics, and ask if the interviewer can provide some of information that you were looking for.


Additional Research

Consider researching information that won't necessarily be addressed in the interview but can still be helpful to know. Look up competing businesses, negative reviews or news articles, and employee complaints to gain a more complete view of what working there might be like. During the interview, however, avoid bringing up anything undesirable about the company or questioning any of their decisions in a critical way.


Likewise, perform a quick Internet search on yourself — as it's entirely possible that your potential employer is doing the same — to make sure there's nothing online that could jeopardize your chances of getting the job. If you need to, clean up your social media profiles, and be prepared to talk about anything that you cannot remove. With the surge of social media, you need to manage your online reputation.


Putting in your homework before the interview is critical in any field, and it’s especially true if you want to become a certified nurse. There are sites available to research CNA certification training to find out if it’s the right career for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of professionals in the field before you decide to sign up for classes; it’s worth the extra effort.

Five Most Difficult Interview Questions and How to Answer Them 25 June 13 12:41 PM postedby ADVANCE

A combination of rapidly advancing medical technology and an aging population ensures that healthcare will continue to be one of the fastest growing industries. This is great news for anyone thinking about entering the healthcare field, whether they work in a hospital, a lab, or a factory that produces necessary medical equipment. Unfortunately, while healthcare professionals are in demand, that doesn’t guarantee an easy path to employment. 

One of the hardest and most nerve-wracking, yet immensely critical, steps on that path is the interview. The interview is a chance for employers to meet and assess their potential employees, usually through a standard set of questions. Here are some of the most difficult questions employers like to ask and some tips on providing the best answers:

1. What Are Your Weaknesses?

This can be uncomfortable to answer because no one likes being genuinely self-critical. Be careful about which weakness you’re drawing attention to. By choosing a professional trait such as prioritizing issues or procrastination, rather than a personal one such as likes to daydream, lazy, forgetful, you can alleviate some of that discomfort while providing a relevant answer.

Most importantly, give examples showing how you’re resolving the issue. If you’re a hospital administrator who has had troubles with public speaking, have you signed up for an acting or speech class? If you’re uncomfortable administering certain health procedures, have you been practicing them with an experienced supervisor? Employers like to see self-awareness and initiative.

Remember to never claim that you don’t have weaknesses. Doing so could make you look arrogant, too afraid to do some soul-searching, or both. Also, avoid offering a weakness that is actually a strength. Doing so can seem dishonest and make you appear as though you aren’t willing to learn and grow. Employers can tell when “being too devoted to work” is a lie and won’t be impressed.

2. How Would Your Last Co-workers (or Boss/Manager/Supervisor) Describe You?

Although it’s a great opportunity to brag about yourself through someone else, this question and follow-ups like, “How would you tough interview questionsdescribe your last boss?” and “What were your co-workers like?” can also trap you into bad-mouthing people at your old job or lying about yourself. Never say anything negative about other people. If there was a notable situation, personal or professional, between you and anyone else (and, yes, the interviewer will ask about that too), avoid assigning blame. Instead, focus on how it was solved or what you learned from it. Additionally, avoid saying anything about yourself that you know for a fact a co-worker or your boss wouldn’t say about you. If you have a glowing quarterly report, letter of recommendation, or contact information for a good professional reference, now would be the time to pull it out. 

3. Why Are You Looking For A Job? Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

This answer should be straightforward. The best replies will include career advancement or personal growth, but avoid mentioning money — even if a larger salary is what drew you in. You don’t want to sound greedy. If you can offer specific reasons for wanting to work there, do so. Talking about the appeal or reputation of the company or hospital to show you’ve done your research.

Once again, try not say anything negative about your last job or the people there. If you were fired, explain the reason for it calmly, and take responsibility for your actions. If you were downsized, remain positive and display understanding of the situation. If you left for personal reasons, be ready to explain precisely what they were. 

4. Why Should I Hire You?

This is your chance to shine.  Sum up your skills, experiences, and strengths as neatly as you can. Emphasize what you’ll be able to offer the company. Focus on everything that’s relevant to the position that you’re applying for. You want to look like a tailor-made candidate. 

5. Why Do You Want To Go Into The Healthcare Industry?

Everyone wants to save lives and help people, but why are you doing this? This common question should have a personal answer. Keep it truthful and as un-clichéd as possible. This question most often will be asked to recent graduates or applicants who have recently changed careers. Healthcare applicants who have previously held positions at hospitals or clinics may be asked questions that are more specifically job-related. For example, nurses may be asked how they handle stress or difficult patients.

Surprise Questions

When employers ask bizarre questions during the interview process, such as this question purported to be asked by Google interviewers, “How many cows are in Canada?” it could be to test how well you react to surprises and show your creativity. In some cases, it can offer the interviewer psychological insights into how you think and view yourself. Your best bet here is to answer quickly, calmly, and truthfully. 

While there is an increasing demand for healthcare professionals, many positions remain competitive. Take the time to research and practice answering these difficult interview questions. By being prepared and articulate, you can set yourself apart from other applicants and leave a lasting impression on potential employers. There are many ways you can stay on top of healthcare related trends and the latest interview techniques. A popular solution for many people is to download apps or helpful study aids directly to their mobile phone. If you are looking for an iphone, check out Kensington and the different options they have to protect and locate your iphone if it gets stolen.

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