I am a Charlotte native who graduated in May and am half way through the Journey ICU RN Residency Program at CMC.
Things are pretty competitive. Big push for BSN (I am ADN, but start RN-BSN in January). It helps if you have healthcare experience, especially working within the system (of the 5 new grads my unit hired, only one was from outside the system, but other units hired more outsiders). The thing about Charlotte is that we have like 11 different nursing programs
, but only some of them graduate a class in December.
My interview was over an hour long. They asked me like 12-15 questions, then there was time for me to ask 4 or 5 questions and tour the unit. You have to just do whatever it takes to prepare and be confident. Every unit has its own preferences, but they typically want to see professionalism, teamwork, an inquisitive mind and the drive to self educate outside of your shift for new grads.
The pay is lower than local competition, with night shift diff at $4 and weekend at $3. However, CHS, especially CMC Main offers the more comprehensive and high tech specialty services, with nationally recognized expertise in multiple areas as compared to any other hospital in the region. There are so many opportunities to learn and advance your practice, particularly at CMC Main.
As for the residency program, I can only speak to critical care (Journey). I think it is great. I have a preceptor for 6 months of on the floor full time experience, broken down into 4 phases. You start with stable patients, then advance to the sickest, with phase meetings to identify strengths/weaknesses and how the unit and residency program can support you as you grow in your role. We also have classes about concepts that are vital to critical care, get ACLS certification, and attend high fidelity simulations to practice skills/protocols and critical thinking. There are competancy tests, a presentation to your fellow residents on a patient of your choice, and a unit education project. They are not at all stressful like school though. You just use these opportunities as tools to evaluate where you are and what you need as a new nurse. I couldn't be more grateful to spend my first 6 months of professional practice in this program!
Everyone's opinion about working at CHS differs and is also influenced by their unit culture. Overall, CHS provides excellent services and unparalleled expertise, but with lower pay and area for improvement. You have to go into it knowing that you will go through tough times as a new grad and as a nurse. You have to love what you do and become an involved teammate if you want to foster contentment long term.
Wish you the best!