Write it down
Any time you are in clinicals, and you have a situation that you’ve handled really well, write down everything that you can remember about it that day! I know it feels like you’ll remember it forever, but later when you’re in an interview, and you’re super nervous, and they tell you, “Tell me about a time when…”, it might not come to mind, or you might not remember the full story, so write it down day of!
The reason you want to have these stories in a list that you can pull from is because when you tell the story, the panelists get a picture of you in that scenario. By the end of your interview, they have all these visuals in their heads of you handling real life situations in a way that is in alignment with the role. Later, when they’re going through their rubric, and it’s asking them if the candidate showed the ability to demonstrate empathy, to deescalate a situation, or think critically, they’ll recall those images and give you the full points for that question. Some candidates don’t tell stories, they just throw out all the right key words (empathy, compassion, building relationships). It leaves the panelists not trusting that candidate. Think about the last political debate you watched where they give all the right buzz words, but don’t really tell you anything about themselves. The panelists will think, “Well that was a good answer, but I don’t really feel like I know what this person would do in any given situation.” They need to feel like they trust you enough to know, “she can handle our specific unit.” based on all of those pictures of you acting appropriately in all these different situations that they’ve now filed in their heads from your stories. That’s why it’s so important as you’re a student to write down everything you remember about those situations where you handled it really well.
Not Just Critical Patient Stories
While critical patient stories are also useful to write down, a lot of interview questions are about a time when you were able to show kindness to a patient. Another great story to write down is when you had a patient who was upset, and you were able to comfort them. If you speak another language, write down all the stories where you were able to better connect with a patient. Make sure to mention that you used a medically certified translator whenever the conversation was about medical care (assessment, education, and providing care). Even if the other language was your first and you are fluent, you legally have to use a medically certified interpreter for medical conversations. If you can tell a story about how you speak another language and how that has helped a patient, while also expressing that you understood when to use a certified translator, you get alllll the bonus points from your panelists!
Anytime when you feel like you handled something super well, and you’d love for a hiring manager to find out about it, write it down, because it might be a story that you can reference later when you’re preparing for your interviews.