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Nurse Extern interview questions


What is the Extern Program?

The Externship is a full-time, ten-week summer program that facilitates the learning process through hands-on experience, and instills confidence in the student nurse who participates. In addition to working in the capacity of a Patient Care Assistant and Patient Sitter, a Nurse Extern relies on his/her preceptor for inclusion in the daily educational activities of the nursing unit. The Department of Nursing Education plays a vital role in the Extern experience.

Must I be currently enrolled in a Bachelor's Degree program in Nursing?

Yes, this is new a requirement.

Is this a paid Externship?

Yes. An Extern is paid $13/hour.

How many positions are available?

We are currently projected to hire approximately 35 Externs for summer 2016. We will likely receive 250 applications, so the program is quite competitive.

Application Questions

How do I apply?

Between the jobs will be posted on the website. Please read all the guidelines and then apply online.

Is there a minimum GPA for acceptance?

Preference is given to a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

I was an Extern last year. Do I need to reapply?

Yes, you will need to go through the entire application process, and put forth your best effort to secure an opportunity to interview. If you are still employed with us as an LPN, Patient Sitter, CNA, Extern, or otherwise, please apply online using the "internal" application. If you are still on payroll at PSHMC, you will not need to be drug screened or fingerprinted again. Also, you will be exempt from much of the new hire paperwork.

Besides completing the online application, what else will I need to do?

Once your application is submitted, you may submit your Professional Portfolio, which will include:

  • Resume – include all education and experience, including dates
  • Cover letter – unless you have a burning desire for a specific specialty, it will be to your advantage NOT to specify in the cover letter the precise units where you want to work, but rather indicate the broader specialties, i.e. Acute Care (medical-surgical), Intensive/Critical Care, Intermediate Care, Oncology, Mother-Child, or Emergency. The rationale for keeping it general is that you may need to consider more than one area in order to be chosen.
  • Unofficial transcript – can be found on your school's website

What is the difference between Unofficial and Official transcripts?

  1. Unofficial transcripts can be viewed by you and printed from your school's website at will.
  2. Official transcripts are mailed from your Bursar's Office, with your school's official seal (not needed)..

Which transcripts do I need to submit for the Externship?

Please email a copy of your most recent unofficial transcript (showing your name) as part of the application portfolio.

May I send all my information by US Postal Service?

Please do not. We prefer to receive everything electronically. It is recommended that you email your entire Professional Portfolio simultaneously via email attachments. This ensures the efficient receipt and storage of all documents. Please covert each document to PDF format and name it appropriately by your last name, first name – document. Example: Doe, Jane – Resume. The email address is rhartnett@hmc.psu.edu.

If I submit my portfolio early, do I have a better chance of being hired?

It is helpful to us, and therefore advantageous to you if your Portfolio is submitted early. Managers have access to the Portfolios early, so those who wait until the last week may not receive the same attention as those who supply all documents ahead of the deadline.

Do I need written references from my professors?

No. At some point in the process, you will receive an email requesting seven email addresses of people who are familiar with your quality of work. Therefore, you will want to use professors, instructors, supervisors, past employers, coaches, and at most, one peer. The reference check will then be conducted electronically. Please let your references know ahead of time that they will receive a survey that is quick, easy, accurate, anonymous, but time sensitive and must be completed promptly.

Interview Questions

Am I guaranteed an interview if I apply?

Only about 50% of those who apply will be granted a face-to-face interview. Managers will decide who to interview based on the Professional Portfolio, which you will submit electronically after you submit your application.

Will I interview wherever I want to work?

If you have a burning desire to work in a particular area we will attempt to schedule interviews with one of your two top choices. Keep in mind, though, that some specialties are more popular than others, and being granted an interview in those areas may be more challenging. It is best to keep your options open, and remember that this is a 10-week program that will be beneficial regardless of where you work.

When will interviews be conducted?

We have set aside two days for interviews over the Winter break.

On what criteria is the hiring decision made?

Different managers will place varying degrees of emphasis on hiring criteria, but in general they look at GPA, past experience, references, and interview score. They are seeking applicants who will bring a positive influence to their team.

What can I do to prepare for the interview?

  • Plan Ahead. Research Penn State Hershey and the nursing unit. Review your work experiences, and be ready to support past career and school accomplishments with specific information targeted toward the needs of PSHMC.
  • Dress appropriately. This is a competitive job interview, dress professionally, preferably in a suit.
  • Be on time. It is best to arrive at the interview area 5 minutes before the scheduled interview time. If you find that you are too early, you may visit our Starbuck's coffee shop or gift shop in the east wing lobby.


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