A Night of Networking between Student Nurses and Unit Managers

November 16, 2017

Mock interviews are like study sessions that build on student ability to perform well and boost student confidence during an interview. Preparing for job interviews can be nerve wracking and stress inducing. Mock interviews provided students with an opportunity to engage and network with individuals who would potentially interview them for future employment opportunities and become their future employer. This strategy has been effective in solidifying student knowledge of the interview process and reducing student anxiety.

The strength of RRC Nursing Department’s relationship with areas of nursing practice was evident in the number of unit managers who agreed to participate in the evening of mock interviews with RRC student nurses. Unit managers from all the hospitals in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and various health care facilities in Regional Health Authorities servicing various areas in rural Manitoba were present. The organizers received agreement and additional requests of patient care managers/unit managers to participate in the event that exceeded what the organizers could accommodate. Unfortunately, this resulted in the organizers having to deny some requests to participate in the event.

Lessons learned during and following the Evening of Mock Interviews and Networking between student nurses and unit managers included both benefits of participation and recommendations for future events. Both students and unit managers identified strengths of the event.

Benefits of Participation

Students identified the ability to meet with unit managers for areas of interest in a nonthreatening environment as a benefit. In addition, receiving immediate feedback from managers after students answered each interview question was beneficial. Some found the preparation information sufficient. Being in small groups was very beneficial and effective in building student confidence. Students identified that scenario questions were helpful. Based on a follow up survey, it was unanimous that student anxieties decreased when answering questions during their interviews for employment as grad nurses. One hundred percent of respondents identified that this event should continue for RRC BN students in the future.

Managers identified having the opportunity to collaborate and meet with potential future employees/nurses was invigorating and inspirational. Managers also identified experiencing professional and self-growth through their participation in the event. Speaking with students also provided them with an opportunity to hear student concerns and questions regarding the interview process, promote nursing and encourage new nurses, and reflect on their interview style and skills. They also stated that they were proud to participate in the student excitement and growth and discover how prepared and ready for the workforce RRC students were. As stated, “no questions stumped the students, they are ready to meet us in real life; well-done RRC.”

Recommendations

Given this was first time this type of event was hosted for RRC BN students, the planning committee was looking for recommendations from both students and facility managers. Students suggested the event occur earlier in their final term of the BN program. It was felt this would have increased student participation. Students also suggested additional preparatory materials such as an employment sheet from RRC Student Employment Services, increased information on the repository with reminders of date, time, and location of the event, along with an agenda for the evening. Managers also suggested increased preparatory materials including map of the campus parking area and room location. Managers recommended increased signage regarding parking and room location, as well as providing them with an agenda and suggesting that they bring business cards to distribute. They also suggested that seating arrangements replicate a panel interview situation, as well as lengthened duration of interviews. Students in their final year of their Bachelor of Nursing degree who participated were thankful for the opportunity to participate and freely shared the benefits they experienced from participating in the Evening of Mock Interviews. The evening concluded with comments from each of the unit managers. Each patient care manager commented on how well-prepared the students were and their desire to participate in similar events in the coming years.

The planning committee of Cindy Boughen, Krystal Boyce Gaudreau, Tracey Fallak, and Patrick Griffith are evaluating and utilizing the feedback provided by students and managers to improve the event in the coming year. Thank you to all those who participated.

Written by:

Evelyn Lundeen – Nursing Instructor