UMDNJ CRNA Interview (University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey)

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    I recently interviewed for a position at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's (UMDNJ's) CRNA program. This is my account of that experience.

    We arrived, still asleep, at 7am. In the cold classroom overlooking the Newark/Manhattan skyline, we were given nothing to eat, although we were given water and/or coffee. The director of the program gave us a brief presentation of the program which was enjoyable and injected with some good humor, leaving me with a good impression of both her and the program.

    The ten or so of us (the applicants) then waiting in the room and were given the opportunity to speak with some current students as well as former graduates of UMDNJ's CRNA program. The students spoke highly of the program and seemed to feel they were gaining a good experience in a supportive environment.

    As we waited, applicants were called one at a time into another room to meet with the admissions committee. Hours passed and everyone was hungry. It was also cold. I spent the time getting to know everyone, both applicants and students, and I truly liked them. There were some bright, interesting people, and although some of us were in competition, I couldn't help but pull for them. We were not given the opportunity to interact with the faculty at all.

    Later, some unprofessional behavior was exhibited by the assistant director of the program which seemed to cause embarrassment for the students. One of them actually apologized on his behalf after he left the room. The student who apologized looked uncomfortable.

    When I was called in to interview, I was sitting at one end of a table, opposite about 8 or 9 people. They did not introduce themselves, but I recognized the director, assistant director, and a current student. (I don't know who the rest of the people were. I assume some of them were clinical coordinators and possibly former graduates.)

    They were sifting through a pile of papers, apparently they had lost my dossier and credentials. They asked the standard "Why do you want to be a CRNA", and then immediately began asking me clinical related questions, all of which I felt were valid and practical. They were, however, extremely rushed. For example, we did not discuss my unit, my practice, my patients, what my personal interests were, my background, how to handle conflict, how to collaborate with others, how to disagree tactfully, how to comfort a worried patient, how to talk to a family when disconnecting life support, or any other number of questions which are equally important and relevant to practice. I got the feeling they really didn't know anything about me.

    I was then told I had "30 seconds" to explain why they should choose me over the other applicants. They cut me off mid sentence by saying "Well, that's more than 30 seconds." They concluded with "Any questions?" I think the entire interview lasted about 10 minutes.

    I happily pulled on my jacket and stepped out into the freezing cold. Fortunately, there is a Wendy's down the street from the facility. I can't remember the last time a burger tasted so good.
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  3. 17 Comments so far...

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    I wish you the best - hope you get in!
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    They already know alot about you from your application. What they usually want to see is that you can answer clinical questions competently and can handle the stress of the interview. The interviews typically are short, there is no need to "personally" know the candidates. They just want to know that you have what it takes to finish the program. All applicants have acute care experience, they don't really care from where. Knowing how to talk to the family before disconnecting llife support is very important, but it doesn't belong in a CRNA program interview. The rush the interview on purpose, to see how you handle it. Have to be able to "think on your feet" while giving good answers while stressed.

    I think the interview process to get into anesthesia school is one of the most stressful experiences there is, second only to being a crna student. It is well worth it, hope you get in. Just be glad the program wasn't associated with a school of nursing that values nursing theory, imagine a second interview after the first where you have to discuss in depth a nursing theorist. Which is really pointless considering there are no nursing theorists that address anesthesia practice. There are a few that can be applied, but aren't that useful.
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    My interview w/ UMDNJ was very similar as well. I wasn't sure if they read over my resume and credentials beforehand, so I took it upon myself to mention them again as I was speaking. But yes, it was very short & brief- lasted about 10 minutes. Wish you the best of luck!
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    Quote from BCRNA
    They already know alot about you from your application. What they usually want to see is that you can answer clinical questions competently and can handle the stress of the interview. The interviews typically are short, there is no need to "personally" know the candidates. They just want to know that you have what it takes to finish the program. All applicants have acute care experience, they don't really care from where. Knowing how to talk to the family before disconnecting llife support is very important, but it doesn't belong in a CRNA program interview. The rush the interview on purpose, to see how you handle it. Have to be able to "think on your feet" while giving good answers while stressed.

    I think the interview process to get into anesthesia school is one of the most stressful experiences there is, second only to being a crna student. It is well worth it, hope you get in. Just be glad the program wasn't associated with a school of nursing that values nursing theory, imagine a second interview after the first where you have to discuss in depth a nursing theorist. Which is really pointless considering there are no nursing theorists that address anesthesia practice. There are a few that can be applied, but aren't that useful.
    Hello BCRNA,

    Thank you for your response. I think there is some value in "pressure testing" and stressing the candidates during the interview. All schools do this in some way. As you said, it allows insight into how a person performs under stress. That being said, the committee did not appear to be well organized. They lost my credentials, were clearly rushing, and can offer no excuse for such a disregard for hospitality. Do you believe the committee members failed to introduce themselves, misplaced paperwork, made unprofessional comments, and left us in a cold room with nothing to eat for hours as part of a calculated measure to put us under stress?

    I interviewed at six other CRNA programs where I received entirely different treatment. Regardless of how competitive a program is, there are still standards of behavior to adhere to. When UMDNJ's admissions committee interviews candidates, they are not just casually screening people. Sitting on the committee means you are a role model. You are representing yourself, your hospital, your university, and even the entire CRNA profession.
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    Quote from RNpjm
    My interview w/ UMDNJ was very similar as well. I wasn't sure if they read over my resume and credentials beforehand, so I took it upon myself to mention them again as I was speaking. But yes, it was very short & brief- lasted about 10 minutes. Wish you the best of luck!
    Dear RNpjm,

    I also anticipated that they might not have a chance to fully read my credentials before hand, so I brought multiple copies with me to the interview. However, when I tried to mention them while speaking I was cut off mid-sentence with "That's more than 30 seconds."
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    Hey aqua,

    Was it more clinical questions? Get to know you questions? Scenarios? How well do you know this drug? ... a mixture of everything? How were they able to rush you and also get an evaluation on you?
  10. 0
    Quote from Tsiasn
    Hey aqua,

    Was it more clinical questions? Get to know you questions? Scenarios? How well do you know this drug? ... a mixture of everything? How were they able to rush you and also get an evaluation on you?
    They asked more clinical questions that anything else. They were the types of questions you would expect on the CCRN exam. They also asked the standard "Why do you want to be a CRNA?" and "You have 30 seconds to tell us why we should choose you instead of those other people in that room."

    Yes, there were extremely rushed, they made that clear with attitude, body language, lack of eye contact, tone of voice, and and actually cutting me off as I was speaking. As for how they are able to rush and also get a good evaluation of the candidates, that is something you would have to ask the admissions committee of UMDNJ.
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    anyone here got an acceptance? heard some got their acceptance letter already?????
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    Quote from jmeng
    anyone here got an acceptance? heard some got their acceptance letter already?????
    Well, I got a rejection yesterday, but I guess that's no big surprise!


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