The title of this article may be a little misleading – but not by much. No, we aren’t talking about your first formal interview for a job. But in truth, the clinical rotations you do while still a student ARE your first interview, because that’s when hospitals in your area are going to form an opinion about what kind of employee you would make.
Kimberly Fusselman, MHA, BSRT, RRT-NPS, director of respiratory therapy, the PICC team, and patient transport at Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque, NM, says clinical rotations matter to her, and they matter a lot. “I consider several factors when deciding whether or not to interview a student upon graduation. First, I consider the student’s enthusiasm during the rotations,” she says.
Fusselman says her hospital offers some unique experiences for students and she is looking for applicants who recognized that fact and took advantage of it. “Students who are eager to participate in any and every learning opportunity give a very favorable impression,” emphasizes the AARC member.
She’s also impressed by students who prove willing to extend themselves beyond just respiratory care during their rotations. “For example, if your patient is going to have a procedure, ask to observe,” she advises. “If help is needed to turn or bathe a patient, be among the first to volunteer your help.”
Dependability and reliability figure into her decision to consider a student for a full or part time position too. Students who arrive late for a rotation or are unprepared for the learning objectives for the day go down in her book as people who will show up late for work and not ready to complete the tasks at hand.
The right attitude is a must as well. “Finally, I examine the student’s interactions with patients and other staff,” says the manager. Students who don’t get along with patients and staff members are not likely to receive an interview. Arrogance and the inability to accept redirection are turn-offs too.
“Observe the behaviors of others around you, especially when interacting with patients and families,” concludes Fusselman. “You can learn so much about the kind of therapist you want to be, as well as the kind you don’t want to be, just by observing. Be courteous and humble, and be on time!”