Latest Comments by JRP1120, RN - page 10

JRP1120, RN 5,529 Views

Joined Apr 26, '11. Posts: 160 (36% Liked) Likes: 138

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    Hi everyone,

    This is long and I apologize in advance but I need advice!

    I just graduated in May and have an interview this Tues with NICU in a hospital I currently work in as a PCT in the float pool. This is a Nurse Residency program position, one of only two available in the NICU (I'm also interviewing in PICU). NICU has been my dream since I can remember (I've wanted to be a nurse my whole life; for years I was afraid I couldn't do it thus putting school off until my children were no longer real young-my youngest is almost 13). I have a love and passion for the teeny-tiny ones I can't describe (who am I kidding, I love all babies, newborn on up!). I want this job so much and I'm scared to death of not getting one of the positions! I need interviewing advice from you NICU nurses! I've read through so much about new grad jobs, interviewing, etc on here and taken a lot in but I would love to hear specifically from NICU nurses-what can I do to up my chances? I know that God is going to place me where He wants me, I do have an active prayer life and a very supportive family all routing and praying for me. I do also know the realities of how competitive these NR positions are-I want to stand out (as we all do during an interview!). Let me say a little about my experiences first so you can help me determine what I can use and how, during the interview.

    -married with 4 children (do you ever include personal info for any reason during an interview?)
    -I took care of my elderly father for the last few years of his life (gave and managed his meds, gave breathing treatments, did leg wound care, dressing changes, took him to umpteen Dr. appts and stayed by his side as his advocate through his many hospitalizations, etc...), all before I began nursing school. I buried my father less than 2- 1/2 weeks before I started nursing school (it was tough but my Dad told me many times I was the best "nurse" he ever had, he was proud of me and knew I would get through school-that kept me going too (should I somehow integrate this into the interview? If so, how? While it doesn't count as nursing experience, does it count for anything they would care to know?
    -high B student through all 4 semesters of nursing school (do grades really matter? We do have to bring a copy of our school transcript to the interview)
    -I am a PCT at this hospital I'm interviewing in and have worked in Rehab, MSI (med/surg intermediate unit), CVICU (cardio-vascular ICU), neurovascular, oncology.
    -I also have another current PCT position in another hospital in our area and worked mainly in MS (sometimes caring for 10-12 pts during my shift). At this hospital, we are allowed to start IV's and put in Foleys on our pts, after we were specifically trained of course.
    -I've held both these positions for a little over a year but only worked very part time during my last semester because I wanted to dedicate my time and energy to getting through school
    -I have a friend that works at the interviewing hospital that introduced me to both nurse managers in the NICU recently and they both know my passion for the NICU (hard for me to contain it! )
    -I was also given permission by one of them to shadow an awesome NICU nurse during her shift so I could see nursing for a day (awesome experience!)
    -during OB rotations, I spent one clinical day in the NICU step-up unit, which is actually where I would start out in this position-loved it!)
    -during my last semester I precepted 132 hours on the Mother/Baby floor in the interviewing hospital and loved that too! I loved taking care of the newborns and the families together-this hospital is all about family-centered care.
    -during my preceptorship I did receive verbal and written praise from a mother that I cared for during her and her newborns entire stay. I helped her extensively with breastfeeding techniques and tips (helping the lactation consultant, who praised me and left me in charge a few times!)
    -By the end of my preceptorship I was taking care of at least 4 pts (2 couplets), helping my preceptor with admits and discharges at the same time and managing my time well.
    -two of my patients during this time had fetal demises and though I didn't handle the babies, I did use a lot of therapeutic communication with the moms. I did have to take one of the babies out of the room, though it was in a bassinet.
    -I was asked to go get a baby from a mom's room, not knowing what I was walking into-a mom actually about to be d/c'd back to jail. While the cops were pretty rough with her verbally ("c'mon, hurry up and say goodbye), I gave her a few more moments to kiss her newborn through her sobs and tears It tore me up, brought tears to my own eyes and I gave her a hug and told her we would take good care of her baby-she thanked me. I don't know what came over me, I guess just compassion for a woman that loves her baby, like every other woman does. Some of the other nurses weren't so nice about the situation (comments like, "oh well, she shouldn't have gotten herself in trouble, boo hoo hoo"). I of course kept my mouth shut but for me, it didn't matter at that moment what she did wrong-in my eyes she was still a mom that was hurting and sad.
    -My preceptor did give me a letter of recommendation when my preceptorship was finished
    -I have two very nice recommendation letters from two of my instructors (one of which I had clinical with).

    I know this is way long and i thank you for reading this far but let me just say, while I've not been a nurse yet and haven't dealt with unruly or rude parents or those who just don't care about their babies, along with all the other negatives I've read, heard and seen in my years of school and many hospitalizations with my father, I am realistic. I know there will be days ahead I cry on my way home or in the bathroom, want to pull my hair out in frustration, etc...I do know as well that I was made to be a nurse, I love people, I love caring for babies and families and I will be passionate at what I do wherever I end up working as a nurse. It's my core, it's my being. I expect a transition phase into the real world of nursing and I'm ready for it.

    This hospital uses mostly behavioral interview questions-yikes! I know to listen to the questions they ask, take my time before I answer them and not say too much (although this is wordy haha!). So, my questions are, how do I use any of this info in the interview? What kinds of questions have you been asked? What should I not say? What kinds of things should I be asking? How do I word my strengths and weaknesses appropriately? I am not a cocky person and dont want to come off that way at all. I would be humbled to get a position like this right out of school. I have oodles and oodles to learn and welcome it-I cant wait for it. Please feel free to give any and all advice necessary. TIA

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    Quote from Haylee1301
    Through the school that I graduated from we were required to purchase and attend the Kaplan review. We went to 4 8 hour sessions with a Kaplan professional and were taught about answering questions and what exactly NCLEX is looking for and how to narrow down choices for answers. With us taking the course we also have access to an online thing for Kaplan. It has review videos, questions from a question bank, sample NCLEX tests, and questions trainers. There are 7 questions trainers that are available. The first 4 or so are for review and Kaplan says that questions trainer 6 and 7 are more closely related to actual NCLEX style exam. I have seen on here where people have went through Kaplan though and purchased just the question bank questions from Kaplan. I am not sure exactly how much that is, but the course fee that we had to pay was about 420$, so hopefully it helps me out I hope that this helps you too. Go here to look: http://www.kaptest.com/
    Thanks for your response. I would do this but I will not have enough time to use the materials in the way they are meant to be used. I take my NCLEX on June 6th. I do have Saunders, LaCharity, Kaplan blue book (2010-2011), Lippincott's Q&A and Exam Cram and I did take a 4-day review course recently so I think I'll be ok...I hope

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    Just wondering if anyone here in GA has or is working for this hospital. There are 3 in the state-Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah. I am a new grad and was told to apply there by another nurse who works there part-time and said they hire new grads. Had never heard of them until now and wanted to know if anyone has had experiences at any of them? TIA

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    Quote from meltnpointofwax
    if you want to get your masters, then sure obviously you need a BSN.
    but if you want to work on the floor, an ADN is sufficient and sometimes better. my friends at the university complain that they don't get as much clinical experience as i do. they're doing a lot of paper writing and busy book work instead of spending as much time as possible on the floor.

    just remember, that a patient will never say you're a bad nurse because you don't have a bachelors degree. in an ADN program, you will learn the important things first. you can always do an RN-BSN bridge program to learn how to do research later.
    I wholeheartedly agree with this. Where I'm at, we have 3 large hospitals-two are Magnet and one is a teaching hospital. The Magnets just this past January changed their rules and now are only hiring BSN's. We had a panel of Nurse managers from the teaching hospital speak to our class to dispel the myth that hospitals will not hire ADN's. They all said that their hospital prefers the ADN over the BSN (but all agree continuing your education is essential to maintain evidence-based practices, etc) because of the hands-on experience, the clinical hours given and the preceptorships taken have continually produced some of the best RN's they've seen (and no, that doesn't mean that BSN's aren't great RN's). I have talked to many nurses and managers in the hospital as well, and not one of them has stated that having a BSN over an ADN gives anyone an edge. For the first nursing job out of the gate, the Nurse recruiter herself told me we are all in the same boat and the first hire usually comes down to personality, as none of us have the experience, BSN or ADN, to base the hire on). I have every intention of going for my BSN in the near future, and will possibly continue on for my NP, but for now, I'm not interested in being a manager of other nurses, etc...I just want to be a floor nurse and get some good experience under my belt. This teaching hospital does promote continuing nurses education and will pay for it as well.

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    HMAmara, Brighten, Tricia76, and 1 other like this.

    I will say here only my thoughts, opinions and experiences as I'm sure there are many others with differing opinions and experiences. While in college taking my pre-nursing classes, I formed some friendships with ladies I had the same classes with probably because we had the same goals or were on the same track (nursing school being the goal). While I didn't necessarily seek out friendships, I am a bubbly type personality and love meeting new people, etc..., so it was a natural feel for me to be friendly and talkative to others. However, am I still actual friends with any of them? I, like most people, lost track of most of those ladies as some of our college goals changed, life got in the way, etc...and some I keep in contact with every now and then. But what defines a friendship? In pre-nursing we had the same goals (to get to nursing school and to pass the classes). I think the like-mindedness alone brought most of us together at that time and as I said, then things change and people move on.

    On to nursing school-I just graduated in May and spent two yrs with pretty much the same 70+ people sometimes on a daily basis. Did I form friendships? You bet! I found nursing school to be quite different than my pre-nursing classes, as many do of course. You all are on the same path with the same goal-to pass and graduate! Did I know all 70+ people personally? Nope but I knew their faces and had plenty of positive exchanges with many of them in the duration. For me, my class became my family. We did hard time together, we cheered each other on, we were saddened each time we lost one, etc...I didn't go into nursing school to seek out friendships but did I make some close friends? Yes I did People have a tendency to form groups of likeness and begin hanging out, studying together, etc...when going through tough things like NS. Yes, you have your cliques, some not so nice but they're there. I try to always give everyone the benefit of the doubt cuz that's how I was brought up and I've been stung many a time because of it too but because of who I am, I haven't let it stop me from being friendly to others or let it discourage me from making friends while in school. We had a few "loners" in our class and they all passed and graduated too. So I think it's just personal preference as to whether or not it's important to make "friends" during NS or not. I made 4 of the closest friends ever during our two yrs together and I wouldn't trade any of it for anything. At the same time, I realize that a lot of people feel the camaraderie with one another while in NS but have no real intentions of actually remaining friends once out of school. For me, true friendship is important and once I've made those connections, I have a hard time letting go (i.e. I want to remain friends or think we are going to but the other person is different and doesn't feel the same way). My little circle of the 5 of us were tight during class, clinical, precepting, etc...we shared many joys and triumphs with one another, as well as some heart breaks, let-downs and sadness, in and outside of NS. To me, those are the things that can make friendship real-truly giving of oneself for the betterment of the other. But sadly, I have newly discovered that the other 4 peeps I held dear to me, don't feel the same way. I have had my heart broken and feelings hurt numerous times since being out of NS through circumstances I've experienced with them. I have found that, sadly, these ladies are more like the majority of people in general that take, take, take and refuse to give, love others more than themselves, and are really just intolerant of other people's differences. As NS was winding down, I began to see things in them I was shocked at (back-biting, talking behind others backs, sarcasm, sarcasm, sarcasm, making fun of others, laughing at others, etc...). Yes, NS, especially the end, is more stressful than anything, but I was shocked to see the transformation in these women take place, to a point that I knew I wasn't like them anymore and really didn't think I wanted to be around them anymore. We took a trip together after NS which opened my eyes wider and then stayed together in a house for an NCLEX review week we had and that's when I decided that these were indeed NOT the true friendships I thought we had all through NS. I'm still hurt but I move on. I am not a perfect person by any means; however, I was always taught to be the friend you want to have, treat others as you wish to be treated. I can look back and truly say I was those things to these women but the outcome is not what I thought it was going to be. A lot of it is just the fact we're women-women have the tendency to be catty to one another; that's just the nature of women sometimes. With all of that being said (sorry to have rambled), I still wouldn't trade it for anything. With each year that I get older, I learn new things about myself and other people I associate with. I have chalked it all up to a really good learning experience. I see that I let myself get too close, too invested in those "friends" however, I do believe that we did help keep each other sane and going during NS when at times each one of us was weak, or wanting to give up. Will I make friends in my nursing jobs in the future? Maybe, but never to that degree-I won't allow myself. Does that mean I've changed my beliefs or who I am? Nope. I do believe that people come into our lives for a reason and a season. The reasons and the season of NS is over for now. It's time to move on and continue to experience the ups and downs of the people I'll meet and befriend, but I will still always try to treat others the way I wish to be treated.

    Again, this is just part of my experiences, thoughts and opinions. In a nutshell, you will gravitate toward likemindedness with others while in NS because that's just how NS is-tough, and getting thru it with others going thru the same toughness somehow makes it easier (and I know there are plenty out there that have gotten thru without any closeness to anyone else in their class and that's cool too ).

    Good luck in NS!

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    What is this Q-trainer everyone is talking about, is it a paid course for Kaplan or something everyone can have access to?

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    I'm taking mine on Mon. June 6th at 2:00pm-two weeks from today! Scared to death!!

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    Took my final yesterday-GN Comprehensive...passed with a 95! Have a 99% chance of passing the NCLEX on the first try! Pinning this Friday and Graduation on Saturday!!! WHOOOP WHOOOOP!!! Congrats everyone!

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    Quote from Turd Ferguson
    I wore a suit and tie (all charcoal/black/white) to my interview with HR as well as the nurse manager, both were extremely impressed that I took the effort to dress so professionally (both said they rarely see anybody dress in true professional attire any more).

    As far as getting over the jitters- practice makes perfect! Get plenty of nursing interview questions together (you can get plenty from this website, plenty from other websites) and have your friends and family interview you. Take it seriously- dress up, sit across a desk from them, answer like you would in a real interview. You can even have a "panel" of 3-4 of them drill you with the hardest questions you can find. The goal is that you'll become so comfortable interviewing that the interview itself will be just like you've been doing.
    Thanks TF for your suggestions! I will be using them to practice!

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    Quote from nancy, nurse mentor
    1. i like a suit myself. skirt or pants does not matter. make it neutral. you can't go wrong with navy or black. be conservative with shoes, makeup, jewelry and fingernail length and color.
    2. practice is a good idea as long as the people you pick to help you can give you constructive feedback.
    3. make sure you take the role of interviewer so you can see what it is like to be one the other side. ask yourself what you want to hear and see.
    4. list what you want out of a job. good management? certain hours or benefits? a specialty? a supportive preceptor and a long enough orientation? during the interview you want to see if this is the right job for you as much as they are trying to find out if you are the right person for the position. go after what you want. don't settle.
    5. i have heard other people suggest that when they are nervous about performing, they imagine the people in their underwear. that has never worked for me.

    what has is something called rational emotive behavior therapy. not to worry, i'm not suggesting you go into therapy. this is something you can do at home by yourself. i have since 1975 when i read the book, a guide to rational living by albert ellis and robert harper. that book is available used on amazon.com for $5.00. this version may not be as easy to read as his more recent books. below is a list and where you can find them. (you will only need one so don't bother to buy all three. look at their table of contents, read some of their pages and pick one that you like the best.)

    how to make yourself happy and remarkably less disturbable by albert ellis
    available used on amazon.com for $5.00 including shipping

    how to control your anxiety before it controls you by albert ellis available used on amazon.com for $10.00 including shipping.

    here is a quick explanation of ellis' concept: you have control over your feelings by what you say to yourself.

    i teach it to others this way. a + b = c
    a = the situation b = what you say to yourself c = your feelings

    so your situation is interviewing for your first nursing job.
    your feeling is being terrified.
    what you are telling yourself to create those feelings? then change those sentences to some that will change your feelings.

    the more you do this, the easier it gets. best to you as you become the best nurse you can be.
    thank you for all of these suggestions! one of the books arrives today and i'm off in search of a great suit! i appreciate you taking the time to respond

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    Tinknurse2B, Moogie, and SkiMama like this.

    I totally understand what you're feeling about being sad about not being able to have a pinning ceremony and graduation. For me, it's a validation of all the hard efforts, the tears, the long nights of studying, etc. I've put in and is a wonderful climactic ending to something I have worked so long and hard for. It is a kind of closure for me as well. In nursing school there are many small disappointments along the way that we all have to face, and we got through them with support from friends, family and loved ones. While this is a much bigger disappointment, I think you are handling it right by recognizing your sadness and moving on anyway-it doesn't take away the blood, sweat and tears you put into passing nursing school, by any means. I think you should have that party with your close friends and family and if they hold the ceremonies in August, if I were you, I would go anyway, even if most others have left the area. Walk on and be proud of your accomplishments! Between now and then, maybe you could find a way to help those affected by the horrible storms that devastated the area and so many lives. After all, showing love and compassion for others in need is a huge part of what being a nurse is all about-doing for others and making even a small difference for even just one person or family may make you realize that is the only closure you need.

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    ambirrgrrl and Cyan8181 like this.

    I know what you mean. This is very bittersweet for most of us, especially our group of friends that have held each other up and supported one another the last two yrs. I am truly going to miss our "nursing family"; it really is going to be a transition going from the safety net of NS instructors and friends to the big, wide world of nursing at a real job but I'm ready to spread my wings and fly too at the same time. As much as I'm ready and glad for school to be over, I'm not looking forward to when things settle down (NCLEX is over and we all have jobs in different hospitals). As much as I want my other life back (hubs and kids), I realize NS and the close relationships I've made the last two yrs IS my life, HAS been my life. Definitely gonna be a sad/happy transition for me!

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    ambirrgrrl likes this.

    Pinning on Friday, graduation on Saturday then Monday a bunch of us girls from class are off on a 5-day cruise to celebrate!! Then it's home and NCLEX review week next and 3 interviews! Then more focused studying for the NCLEX beast. I AM going to relax with my family...a lot! Read "normal" books, sleeeeeep and be a lazy bones and do nothing for awhile too! I can't believe the time has come!

    Congrats to all my fellow Grad nurses out there! WE DID IT!!!

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    I have a lot as well but will start with these (in no particular order):

    1. Skydive

    2. Learn Italian (family is from Italy, which leads me to...)

    3. Go back to Italy and go to the home town my family is from and possibly find relatives

    4. Spend 6 months to a year being a nurse on a mission trip in a third-world country (preferably delivering babies and taking care of women's health)

    5. Spend a month in Africa at a monkey orphanage taking care of the babies

    6. Build our dream ranch home in TN, with lots of land so my husband can hunt, have two horses and several dogs (love animals!)

    7. Travel the USA and abroad with my husband when we retire

    8. Write a book about certain things I've been through in my life

    9. Be the best neonatal nurse I can be and truly make a difference in the little ones' start in life

    10. Sing backup in my hubby's band and not be afraid!

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    Quote from Nancy, Nurse Mentor
    I have interviewed at least a hundred would be nurses and want to be family practice residents and agree with all of the above posts. I would add the following:
    1. Don't offer any critical info about yourself. I once had a candidate say that he had accidently killed someone when he was a EMT. Not a confidence builder!
    2. Know how to answer the question: What are your greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses? When you talk about your weaknesses, say how you plan to overcome them.
    3. If you do not know the answer to a clinical question, don't try to fake it. Say you are unsure. Then explain what you would do to find out the information. Employers don't expect you to know it all. They want to see if you know what you don't know and will take initiative to get the knowledge and develop the skills.
    4. Always ask a question about your potential employer at the end of the interview. It shows interest.

    Don't forget to smile even if it is on the phone. Do the interview in front of a mirror and smile. Your positivity will positively come through!
    Thank you for this! I will also be graduating this month and have 3 interviews (on the same day) at a large teaching hospital that I currently work in (as a PCT). My question is, how do I get over the nerves that make me unsure of myself and make me sound like I'm babbling? I have been reading interviewing suggestions on here and have begun to jot down past experiences that will assist me in remembering events when I'm asked the behavioral questions. Practicing in front of a mirror is okay but I know me and when I'm sitting before the 3 or so nurse managers, I'm afraid I'm going to crumble. I'm terrified! Also, I know I will be dressing professionally for the interviews but is there such a thing as too much? Should I invest in a nice black or navy pants suit/skirt with jacket or is dress slacks, blouse and nice shoes the way to go? I want to look very professional; I just need the confidence to go with it. I'm interested in any advice you can share.


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