Empathy goes beyond medical histories, signs, and symptoms. It exceeds clinical diagnosis and treatment to be a connection and understanding of mind, body, and soul. For a nurse, expressing empathy can be an effective and powerful way to build trust with a patient. Empathy can calm anxiety and improve patient outcomes, and is linked to better adherence to medications, decreased malpractice cases, fewer mistakes, and increased patient satisfaction. Empathy is a trait you value in your nursing staff. So how do you find nurses with compassion when you are hiring?
Questions to Ask
Here are a few questions to ask a nursing candidate during a job interview. It is difficult to bluff your way through these types of behavioral questions, and they can help you hire a caring, empathetic nurse.
If you must deliver difficult news, how will you go about it? The way a nurse handles delivering bad news correlates with their ability to adapt and understand situations from the recipient’s perspective. Will their bluntness cause patients to become anxious and angry? Do they become emotionally attached to the point that they can’t deliver the difficult news? Encourage the nurse candidate to share stories of previous experiences.
What do you do when someone comes to you with a problem? The intent of this inquiry is for evaluating a candidate’s ability to listen to a problem and use reasoning ability, judgment, and problem-solving skills to alleviate the problem. If the candidate can’t answer or becomes defensive and blames others, it is a red flag. Seek the nurse who will listen to the problem and make a reason-based recommendation. An empathetic nurse will listen to the problem, ask questions, and make recommendations to address the issue.
Do you get angry at work? How do you handle your anger? When you ask a nursing candidate what makes them mad in the workplace, it helps you evaluate their ability to deal with conflict. Try to find out what makes them angry, how they respond to the anger, and how it turns out for them. If you sense that they are placing blame on others, be careful. There is an excellent chance that they might lose their temper on a patient. An empathetic nurse will recognize they are wrong, take responsibility, and work to make the situation better for everyone.
Beyond the Questions
During the interview, is the candidate listening, or only waiting on their turn to speak? Observe how they interact with what you are saying. Do they pivot off what you are saying, or are they saying what they have prepared to say? Watching this communication can give you information about their ability to be effective listeners, a key component of empathy.
Asking questions is not the only way to gauge empathy in a nursing candidate. Pay close attention to how the candidate treats people who are not part of the interview process. Talk to security guards, cleaning staff, assistants, and anyone else in contact with the candidate during the interview process. Ask them if the candidate smiled at them and treated them with respect. You want to get a sense of how the candidate treats people they view as not above them.
Power Personnel can provide your organization with the nursing staff you need. Let the professionals at Power Personnel offer you highly skilled nurses to improve your organization’s level of care and patient satisfaction.