Nursing Interview Questions: Unprofessional Behavior

Because the nature of the nursing profession requires you to work closely with various physicians at all times, you need to know what they are like before you accept a position at any organization. Ask this question: “How do the doctors treat the nurses here?”

There are many wonderful, caring, professional, collegial physicians working in the health care industry today. They always wanted to be physicians because they truly want to help heal the sick, and they love what they do and they share that attitude with everyone around them. It makes for a harmonious, respectful workplace, and inspires trust and a very good working relationship between physician and nurse.

Unfortunately, there are also just as many petty, callous, unprofessional, sociopathic physicians working in the health care industry as well. They went into medicine either for the money and prestige only, or because it was expected of them and they were unable to pursue whatever career path would have been their first choice. They simply may have been thoroughly nasty individuals long before they obtained a medical degree. While they may be extremely knowledgeable and technically skilled at what they do, deep down they hate their jobs, they hate their lives, and they take it out on everyone around them…particularly the nurses. And they really go after fresh meat – meaning you.

If, in response to your question about how the doctors treat the nurses, you hear something like: “Well, we do have one doctor in particular who’s a little high strung,” understand that to really mean: “We have an infantile bully that we intend to do nothing about because he brings in millions of dollars a year to our organization.”

Consider that a red flag. Nothing good will come from accepting a position at an organization that allows this kind of unprofessional behavior to go on. Unfathomable though it may be, many organizations do allow this kind of disruptive behavior to go on…and on…and on. Staff complaints against the offending physician are discouraged or conveniently “lost.” Staff turnover around the physician is often high, with management blaming the staff who come and go for the problem, rather than the actual cause of the problem – the physician.

You should not have to put up with unprofessional behavior from a colleague. Save yourself a lot of misery by getting a clear, honest answer from your interviewers about the behavior of their physicians – and if you do get a chance to meet with the physicians themselves during the interview process, so much the better. If at any time you feel as if the interviewers are not being honest, or you get an impression from meeting one or more of the physicians that something isn’t quite right, pay attention to your gut feeling. Say thanks but no thanks, and move on.