Nurses are in high demand these days. There’s no shortage of jobs to be had – but finding a good fit is everything. Here are a few important questions every nurse should investigate before making the leap to an employer. Let’s make sure the job you accept is one you’ll love.
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1. What's the culture like?
This may be the most important question of all. So don’t settle for a recruiter’s talking points. Find a way to talk to current nurses who will give you straight answers about life at the hospital.
A great job in a workplace that feels “off” is not really a great job. You deserve to work in a setting where nurses are respected, valued and heard.
Novant Health nurses, including some who worked as travelers and chose to settle here, said in some systems they found managers who stayed behind closed doors or made it clear they were not available to help with the inevitable small crises that pop up every day in hospitals. Find a way to ask: Will managers have our backs?
Novant Health has been recognized by Forbes as one of America's best employers by state in 2023, ranking No. 38 in North Carolina. Novant Health was named one of the nation’s 150 best places to work in health care by Becker’s Hospital Review.
In addition, the health care system was designated a Best Places for Diverse & Women Managers to Work by Diversity MBA Magazine.
Two of Novant Health’s medical centers – Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte and Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem – are among fewer than 10% nationwide recognized as Magnet hospitals by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Just 591 of the nation's 6,093 hospitals have attained Magnet status.
2. Do I have a say in what days and hours I work?
Flexibility. We all crave it. So you need to ask about it.
When it comes to work preferences, Novant Health strives to take care of nurses. The system offers flexible scheduling, so in many cases you pick the days you work. And nursing leaders try hard not to alter the schedule once it’s set. In some cases, hospitals can offer four-hour shifts for dispensing meds or working with discharges. This is popular with parents working around childcare issues, among other challenges.
3. What's the training/orientation like? Will I have support?
For three months, new nurses at Novant Health get a “preceptor,” or veteran nurse mentor, who helps them learn the ins and outs of their unit.
Novant Health offers a nurse residency program that allows new graduate RNs the time to take on their duties gradually. Since 2017, the nationally accredited program has helped nearly 3,000 nurses launch their hospital careers.
It also helps nurses find a unit that best suits their needs. During the first year, nurses may rotate every 12 weeks up to four rotations within their specialty to different units in the hospital or market where they’re hired. Nurse residents complete over 100 hours of training and 200 to 400 hours of precepted training before fully transitioning to independent practice.
“If a new graduate nurse is struggling, we work closely with the nurse to provide extra support for success,” said Daria Kring, vice president of the Novant Health Center for Professional Practice and Development.
4. What’s the management philosophy?
We all want bosses who will roll up their sleeves when a day, or night, heads south. It’s useful to ask if nurse managers are active in patient care.
Novant Health nurses say repeatedly that unit nurse managers and the leadership above are more likely to visit patients at the bedside than they are in some other hospital systems where they’ve worked.
"Whenever things get hectic, leaders will pitch in on the floor by starting an IV, for example. And as they work side-by-side with you, it really helps nurses feel supported."
5. Do they walk the talk on diversity?
“Everyone talks about diversity and inclusion. Everyone says they believe in it, but to actually see it and live it every day is very, very important,” said Brittany Moore, a nurse manager in the hemodialysis unit at Presbyterian Medical Center. “Being an African-American leader, I see a whole lot of us. I pride myself on our unit being a diverse unit.”
She said team members on her unit represent an array of cultures and nations. Previously, she worked at another system where she saw less diversity at the leadership ranks.
People of different backgrounds “need to see other people who look like them. I think that's very important.”
And don’t be shy about asking about care around LGBTQ+.
6. What opportunities will I have to continue my education?
Today’s nurses are more career-oriented than ever and are focused on improving their skills and professional development.
“Novant Health’s center for professional practice and development provides robust continuing education for nurses.” Kring said. “With 48 full-time clinical nurse educators, we have a larger faculty than many schools of nursing. These educators deliver hundreds of classes each year to support nurses with their knowledge and skill development.”
To maintain licensure, a registered nurse must complete 15 hours of continuing education each year. But Novant Health nurses often do much more.
“We have hundreds of classes in lots of formats – virtual, online, classroom and simulation,” Kring said. “Novant Health nurses also have access to over 450 Lippincott courses, addressing just about every topic a nurse could want.” Last year, nurses completed over 34,000 courses offered by Lippincott, a top publisher of nursing textbooks.
When Angela Bullock worked at another system, she had to figure out on her own how to squeeze in her continuing education. There’s nothing wrong with that, she said. But she prefers the more supportive environment at Novant Health, where nurses get reminders not to fall behind. “They take care of you,” Bullock said.
7. Last, but not least …
Sometimes, it’s the little things. For instance, Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte had a talent show on the front lawn this spring where team members belted out their favorite songs while colleagues enjoyed a free barbecue or vegan lunch. “I have a lot of friends who are nurses,” Moore said. “They don’t see things like this.”
Or in some cases, the efforts in their systems don’t pack a lot of imagination. “I have one friend who keeps telling leaders: No more pizza!”
Join the team at Novant Health
Based in sunny North Carolina, Novant Health has 16 hospitals and hundreds of outpatient facilities in three major markets centered in Charlotte, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. It employs some 36,000 team members, including more than 9,000 nurses.
- Named one of the nation’s 150 best places to work in health care by Becker’s Hospital Review.
- Leapfrog grade A ratings.
- Leadership development programs.
- Magnet-Designated medical centers.
- Designated as Best Places for Diverse & Women Managers to Work by Diversity MBA Magazine.
- Team Approaches in Quality Improvement Award Recipient from the Society of Hospital Medicine.
- Recognized by CMS for quality and safety with six 4-star and two 5-star Acute Care facilities.
Visit our Careers Page to learn more about the opportunities that await you!