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Surgeons: What are you looking for in a midlevel? Interview help.
December 3, 2013 4:47 PM   Subscribe

I have an interview this week - last minute - with a surgeon. I'm a newly graduated midlevel provider with minimal OR experience but I really, really want to get some. This physician is, at least what I've been told since the screening on the phone with his assistant, willing to train the right person. What might he be looking for if he's willing to train a new person?

A few other points: I've had a few interviews since graduating and passing my board exams but have been passed over for more experienced candidates. All my other interviews so far have been with non-surgical teams. I did excellently in my class but my procedures were limited to a handful of central lines, a-lines and a little suturing. I was not previously a nurse with first-assist, but I'd be trained somewhat equivalently. This is within my scope of practice to be trained as an assistant. I'm in the Northeast US.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (3 answers total)
Is this position mainly OR based, or would you be more generally assisting the surgeon's practice (ie rounding on inpatients, doing discharge planning, seeing patients in office)? If the latter, you could emphasize your patient care experience, organizational skills and reliability.
As far as procedural skills: an eagerness to learn and a willingness to do things the way the surgeon wants them done cannot be overemphasized. Sometimes there are advantages to a semi-blank slate.
FYI I am a surgeon in the Northeast, but I am not your surgeon/not currently interviewing midlevels.
posted by maryrussell at 4:59 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm not a surgeon, but I work with midlevels and supervise them on procedures.

Top things I would look for if I had any say in the midlevel hiring process:
- Someone who knows what they're doing, but knows their limits. The latter is more important than the former. Especially with a new grad, I don't expect you to know everything or always be confident, as long as I can teach you things you need to know. But you NEED to know to call me in right away when someone is sick. If you have a question about something important, I want to be called, and if you don't know how to do something, I want you to tell me up front so that I can walk you through it. ("see one, do one, teach one" is from before the current malpractice environment. If you feel shaky on central lines because you've only done 3 of them before, tell me honestly and we'll walk through it so you can learn to do one efficiently and safely).
- Someone who is detail oriented, so I don't have to be. If I have to sign off on your charts I want them to be great charts and not always getting bounced back for overlooked stuff.

Not sure if that's helpful, and I certainly can't speak for the specific preferences of the person you're interviewing with, but I figured there may not be a lot of other surgeons around who could answer this for you. If you have a way of talking with someone who's a colleague of this person you may be able to get a better idea of their personality. In most hospitals I've worked at, everyone is very well aware of who you can call to bounce a story off of or ask a question, and who will cut you off or start showering you with contempt unless you just say "appendicitis in room 16!"
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:16 PM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

The answer is you. Sell yourself to the employer, don't try and guess. Look at the job posting. Have an answer for why you are the right person for the requirements in the posting. Its ok to use the posting as a way to have a convo with the employer. Don't lean to heavy, but have some answer for those questions.

Be ready for the surgeon's interview skills to be low.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:06 PM on December 3, 2013

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