You are here:-, Nursing careers and jobs-How can I better prepare for an upcoming interview for a managerial position in another department in the facility where I work?

How can I better prepare for an upcoming interview for a managerial position in another department in the facility where I work?


Dear Donna,

I need advice for my upcoming interview for a managerial position in a department other than the one where I work. I have been a bedside nurse for a little over three years now and never had the opportunity to obtain a leadership role within the unit (i.e., charge nurse).

As a bedside nurse wanting to transition into a leadership role, how can I better prepare myself for my upcoming interview? I am honestly a little bit nervous because I have no idea what to expect and how I can tally my experience with the
position’s expectations.

Interested in Leadership

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Interested in Leadership,

Good for you going after a leadership role. This is a great way to grow personally and professionally, whether you get this particular position or not.

Even though the interview is at your current place of employment but a different department, treat it as you would any outside interview. For example, wear a business suit (don’t go in your work attire if at all possible), shake hands, be ready to articulate your strength, and then follow-up with a formal thank you letter afterward. You want to be perceived as management material in everything you do. Read “Put your best foot forward” for maximum impact (, “Interview to knock their socks off” ( and “Follow-up is good form” (

Before the interview, find out what you can about the department (number of beds, volume of patients they see annually, scope of services, etc.). Also research the person who will be interviewing you by viewing their LinkedIn profile and doing a general Internet search. Talk to nurses who work in that department and get a sense of what the challenges are, the culture and the manager’s
leadership style.

During the interview, ask questions such as: “What are the major challenges in the department that will need addressing?” “What are you looking for in an ideal candidate for this position?” or “What traits do you think are important in a good leader?” “Where do you see the department going in the next five years?” and “How would you describe your leadership style?”

Research topics popular in management circles these days such as employee engagement, servant leadership, appreciative inquiry and emotional intelligence as well as what makes a good leader in
any setting.

You don’t have to have held the title manager to have leadership experience. Every nurse is a bedside leader and is a manager of the healthcare team. Spend some time reflecting on your personal skills and attributes that would make you successful in the role you are applying for such as communication skills, conflict management, patience, sense of humor and commitment to lifelong learning. Be ready to articulate those strengths on the interview.

Also research the specialty itself. Do this by visiting the related professional association website such as the Emergency Nurses Association ( When asked why you’re interested in working in that specialty, have an answer prepared relating to the specialty. Do not just say you are looking for a management position.

If you don’t get this position for whatever reason, keep trying. Read “Gearing Up for Management” (

Best wishes,

By | 2014-10-30T00:00:00-04:00 October 30th, 2014|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|0 Comments

About the Author:


Leave A Comment