One of the best pieces of advice I ever received about job searching was from my mentor, Charles Yingling, DNP, FNP-BC. I had just graduated from my program and was eager to take any job that was placed in front of me. I was so eager to impress my interviewers that I asked him “what do you think they will be looking for??” He wisely told me “Don’t try to adapt to what they want. You can do that for only so long before you become miserable. Be yourself and hope that they are doing the same and if there’s a fit, great. It’s meant to be.”
Now how are we supposed to make that decision though? The best way is by asking questions. I don’t recommend asking too many questions at the initial interview because then it sounds like you’re interrogating them, and they might think you’re not as interested in them as you they are in you. Just pick a couple of questions for your first interview, and after they offer you the job then you can ask more so you can decide whether the position will be a good one for you. I always recommend asking for a walk-through after the job offer so you can see for yourself what the clinic/unit/hospital is like, and you can meet your potential future co-workers and see if you can imaging getting along with everyone there. Remember, you will be spending a lot of time with your co-workers, and no matter how much you love your job, if you don’t like the people you work with than you won’t last long.
Here are some ideas for questions to ask:
- Do you have an MA/RN to support you, or are you doing all your own vaccines, follow up calls, etc.?
- Do they use care teams or do the MA’s/RN’s alternate everyday?
- How many appointments are scheduled each day? Are there same day appointments?
- Do you have your own patients, i.e. do you have your own panel?
- How are referrals handled in the clinic? Is there a referrals coordinator or are you responsible for all referrals?
- What are the productivity expectations, i.e. how many patients are you expected to see in a day?
- What are the overnight/weekend call expectations?
- How is call compensated?
- Do you cover your colleague’s call or are you on call only for your own patients?
- While you’re on call, is there any backup in case you are presented with a situation you are unsure of?
- What’s the payer mix at the practice (i.e. %Medicare, % uninsured)?
- Does the payer mix get factored into productivity or performance review (i.e. does a provider that grooms a panel of insured patients make more money than a provider that sees all uninsured)?
- Side note: If this is your first job, this is an important factor to consider. An entire panel of uninsured patients is very challenging because you will be spending countless hours trying to arrange specialty referrals, prescription assistance, etc. Some uninsured is fine, all uninsured is a nightmare and requires that you have an administrative assistant for all the paperwork involved.
- Do they offer an education benefit so that you can go to conferences and stay up to date in your field?
- Do they have resources available in the clinic such as UpToDate, or are you expected to pay for your own?
- Do they provide training opportunities for procedures you’re not familiar or comfortable with? Will you have an assigned mentor or trainer to help you in the first couple of months?
How they view NP’s:
- How do they view the roles of MD and NP as different?
- How are patients assigned to one or the other?
There isn’t a right or wrong answer to this, but you should know why they are hiring an NP rather than a PA or an MD. If they don’t value NP’s for what they inherently are, and are just looking for a cheap provider, then do they truly value NPs when it comes to decisions about clinical operations, appointment scheduling, off-shift coverage, etc.?
These are just some of the questions to help get you started. Feel free to comment on any other pertinent questions that helped you in your job search!
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