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3. Describe a difficult work situation or project and how you overcome it.

I am interested in a career in the health care industry. And I was just wondering if someone could help answer a few questions. #healthcare #cna #hospital-and-health-care

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Joel’s Answer

If you work for any length of time, you'll certainly face many of these circumstances. Some of those circumstances, you'll navigate successfully. More than likely, you'll also not do that. That's just the nature of life and working. I've been working in my field for 20 years and have had a lot of difficult work situations.

On a few occasions, I've been handed (or volunteered) for projects that had no hope of success. There's a lot of fear when you're in a situation like that - wanting to be validated or wanting to prove that you can overcome when the odds are stacked against you. Sometimes you can; sometimes you can't.

What I've learned to do in those circumstances is to focus on the things I can control (how I do my work, how I manage my emotions, how I treat others) vs. trying to manage and control things I can't control. This seems simple, but I promise it's not. As a human being, I can't stop from feeling overwhelmed, but I can learn to control what I do with that emotion and how it effects me.

When I've managed myself successfully in a difficult (even no-win) situation, I've been successful - even if the project isn't ultimately a success - because someone, somewhere is taking note of how I conducted myself, and it's opened a door to a next step. When I've failed to take care of me and what I can control, I've experienced the consequences of that failure, often (unintentionally) hurting myself and others.

The bottom line is to be clear, forthright, and focused about the things you can do. That's doesn't guarantee a good outcome, but - more often than not - it'll lead to a better place than the alternative.

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Kim’s Answer

Hi Dorothy!

I am not in Healthcare, but want to help you with this question. When answering a "situational" question, you need to tell a story. The format you will follow is STAR.
What was the SITUATION
What TASK did you need to accomplish
What ACTION did you take
What was the RESULT

It helps to have work history to use in these examples. If not, you could pick an example from school. Think about what skills you are trying to showcase in your examples. For example, do you want to show leadership, creative thinking, dependability, or? You want to re-think situations you have been through and how you can use them, in advance of any interview!

Here are two examples. Suppose you have no work experience, but, like my son, have been in ROTC. He once had a problem with one of the cadets in his squad always being late for class.
SITUATION: I was a Sgt in ROTC and one of my cadets was always late for class.
TASK: His tardiness was reflecting negatively on the entire squadron, and, more specifically, on me as a leader. I needed to get him to come to class on time.
ACTION: ROTC class was right after lunch. I found out where this cadet hung out at lunch, and, I made it a point to go find him and walk with him to class.
RESULT: It took a few days, but, he finally started coming to class on time on his own, and, we went on to be recognized as the top squadron for the year!

Work example: (I was a police officer at the airport).
SITUATION: At 4 am, we discovered that construction workers had cut the main power line to half of the terminal, and, since that deactivated the alarms on the security doors, we could not let the passengers into that part of the terminal.
TASK: We really needed to be able to allow these planes to leave on time. Whenever planes are late, it causes a ripple of delay in air traffic throughout the entire country for the rest of the day!
ACTION: We did not have enough police officers to be able to guard each door. So, I asked the building maintenance foreman if I could borrow his custodians. I posted a custodian on each door, briefed them on security, and had a roving foot patrol officer within shouting distance.
RESULT: Without compromising security, we were able to open the terminal back up to the passengers, and the planes departed on time.
[I like this example because it shows that I have a good working relationship with another department (maintenance), and also shows that I understand the importance of priorities (security), even when adhering to these priorities will have significant consequences.]

As you can see, it doesn't always need to be a complex answer. The ROTC answer is okay. It will depend on your life experiences, and the type of job you are applying for. Always pay close attention to the question! It may be that you will need to change the focus of your answer a little bit from how you had rehearsed it.

good luck!

Thank you so much this was very helpful. Have a good day. Dorothy C.

you are welcome! Also, aside from practicing on your own, I encourage applicants to "use" employers they do NOT want to work for. Apply for jobs, get interviews. I call them "practice interviews." Don't feel bad about doing it. Employers sometimes know who they want for a job, but have to interview three applicants, and would not hesitate to use you in such a manner. You don't want your first interview to be for a job you really want! Get over the jitters elsewhere! Kim Igleheart