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Travel Nursing Interview Scenarios

Like all job interviews, travel nursing job interviews are a key facet in landing the jobs you want. However, there are many differences and nuances when it comes to travel nursing interviews. For example, travel nursing job interviews often have unique formats. Understanding these formats will help travel nurses prepare for their travel nursing job interviews and know what to expect as a result. 

Travel nursing interview formats

Travel nursing interviews can have some unique formats. For starters, travel nursing job interviews are always over the phone. Many nurses aren’t used to this format. If at all possible, it’s important to have your resume and the questions you intend to ask printed out and in front of you. This will ensure that you don’t forget anything and that you sound organized and professional. Also, be sure to disable any extra phone features that may interrupt the interview.

Often times, you can expect an informal pre-interview. In this case, someone involved in the staffing process will contact you to ask a few basic questions and schedule a time for a full interview. They might ask if you are proficient with IVs or have ever participated in a Code Blue depending on the position you’re applying for. Assuming they get the answers they need, they will schedule a time for a full interview. Of course, this will be an informal exchange and will go by very quickly.

Two main interview scenarios dominate today’s travel nursing job market. The first is an interview with the manager or supervisor of the unit for which the travel nursing job is posted. This is typically the best case scenario for the travel nurse. You’ll have a far greater chance of getting all your questions and concerns addressed because the person you’re speaking with has first-hand experience with the unit. Moreover, the turn-around time on your interview results is typically much faster because there are no middle-men involved. In facct, the nursing manager may offer you the position right then and there. However, there is no standard format for you to prepare for. Different nursing managers will approach interviews in different ways.

The second dominant travel nursing job interview scenario is conducted through the Managed Service Provider (MSP) or Vendor Management Service (VMS) for the hospital in question. MSPs and VMSs are retained by hospitals and hospital organizations to manage the hospital’s temporary staffing needs. Interviewing travel nurses is often a part of this service.

In this scenario, you’ll be interviewing with a clinical nursing representative from the MSP or VMS. The clinical nursing representative will conduct the interview based entirely on a set of questions that have been approved by the hospital. These questions are often technical in nature and require medication calculations. You can also count on receiving scenario based questions like, “What would you do if a doctor gave you instructions that you knew were wrong?” The answers you provide will be recorded by the interviewer and report will be generated.

Often times, the interviewer will let you know if you passed the interview. If you pass the interview, then your report is typically forwarded to the hospital for review. The hospital will then accept or reject you for the travel nursing job and pass their response along to the MSP or VMS who will let your travel nursing agency know the outcome.

The are two primary disadvantages to this interview scenario. First and foremost, it’s often impossible to get any of your questions or concerns addressed. The interviewer often has no first hand knowledge of the hospital or unit in question and is often provided with only the most basic unit description. Second, it often takes much more time to receive the results of your interview and it’s more likely that multiple candidates are being considered.

In or next blog post, we’ll provide some recommendations for questions to ask during your travel nursing job interview and explain the importance of doing so. Please post any questions or comments in the comments section below.

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