Careers: Nursing/Job Shadow


QUESTION: Hello Ken,

I may have to job shadow. What must I do to convince staff that I am a good fit? I have less than one year experience in Med-Surg.


Court J

ANSWER: Court J:

I am not sure what field of nursing you are looking to job shadow for. However, you need to network and make friends with some nurses in the area you want to job shadow. If you are already in a MedSurg job at a hospital, it should be easy to shadow an area of nursing that you like.

Of course, it will be like could help you get your foot in the door if they like you. You probably want to talk to the Manager of the department where you would like to shadow and see if it would be ok to come in and help out.

If you are not already in a MedSurg job of the hospital that you would like to shadow in ...then that is going to be almost impossible. For legal and liability reasons, they wont let you shadow without being an employee first.

If you give me some more detail...maybe I could give you some better advice.

Good Luck!


[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello again Ken,

I am in a long-term care facility's Skilled Nursing Unit with some long-term residents, not a hospital. I was advised that I may be requested to job shadow after the interview at the hospital to see if I fit in and to see if the job is right for me. I applied for a position in a Progressive Care Unit. I feel that it will be a decent step to start off. I dream of going into CCU and becoming a CRNA in the next 5 years.

So, can you still give me some advice? I job shadowed before at another hospital last year on a different unit. They thought I was not interested. I observed and asked some questions. The nurse I shadowed thought I didn't ask enough questions.

Court J

Court J:

PCU is a very busy unit with lots of admissions and discharges on a daily basis. They are probably having a hard time staffing the unit which can give you an opportunity to get in to the unit at this hospital. Its one of the most difficult work environments because of the constant change in patient census.  

You just need to be energized and assist when they will allow you during the shadowing experience. Try to be involved with the preceptor and the patients which will show that you have interest. You may have been laid back on the last shadowing and they misunderstood it for lack of interest. Its understandable as everyone is nervous when they are in a different environment then they are used to.

I would let them know you are ready to sign up for the basic arrhythmia course and ACLS to be prepared for the PCU. Those will be the minimum requirements to take a position.

You really have to get along with the nurse that you will be shadowing as you saw from the last time, he or she really held the key to you being hired or not. Make sure you are asking higher level questions on the level of a monitored unit. You have to work hard to gain trust as they may prejudge you because you are coming from a nursing home background. There is nothing wrong with nursing home work, but many nurses will feel you don't have the background to work in a PCU.

You may want to ask if they have any Medical Surgical floor openings as you may feel more comfortable as a natural step up from the nursing home environment. PCU will have a lot of patients with cardiac arrhythmias to monitor and more IV drips such as Cardizem for rapid heart rates and Nitroglycerin for chest pain and preload reduction. It really is more of a stepping stone type job after doing some Med Surg.

Good Luck!


Careers: Nursing

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I can answer questions regarding all aspects of Nursing as a career in general. If you need help deciding if nursing is a career for you, then let me help you with your decision. As an added bonus, I can answer your questions from the perspective of being a man in nursing who has a wife that is also a nurse. Men is nursing is more accepted today than it was when I began in 1993. Regardless of your gender, Nursing has so much to offer and is among the most respected professions of our time. I have been a registered nurse since 1993 and have been certified in Critical Care nursing since 1996. I am currently a full-time Critical Care Ground Transport Nurse/Mobile Intensive Care Nurse(MICN). I am working per diem as a night Shift Administrator/Nursing Supervisor.


My experience over the years since 1993 have been spent between the Emergency Room and the Critical Care Units. More recently since 2007 I have been working in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as a Critical Care Transport Nurse/Mobile Intensive Care Nurse(MICN)/Emergency Medical Technician(EMT). This unit is known as the Specialty Care Transport Unit(SCTU). I transport all age populations with critical medical problems from Hospital A to Hospital B in the back of an ambulance. My job is to make sure this patient remains in the same or better condition and to handle any emergency that may arise during the over the road transport. BLS/ACLS/PALS/NRP/ITLS Certified Provider.

American Association of Critical Care Nurses Honor Society of Nursing, Upsilon Rho Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau International

BSN,Nursing/Pursuing MSN in Nursing Administration Critical Care Registered Nurse(CCRN)/ Mobile Intensive Care Nurse (MICN)/ Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)/ AAS Business Management

Awards and Honors
American Ambulance Association-2009 Star of Life Recipient

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