Getting past the interview- need advice

  1. [FONT="Arial Black"]Let me start by saying that I greatly appreciate all of the knowledgable posts from everybody in this forum.

    Since I got such a great response from the last question I posted, I figured I could throw out a more personal question and see what I get.

    I went 5 for 5 this year on applications converting to interviews. So I figured that surely I'd get in somewhere unless I really freeze up or say something stupid during the interview. I had prepared for the interviews by studying my CCRN stuff and rehersing for all the potential CRNA inteview questions I could find online. Leaving the interviews (I've done 3 of 5 so far) I felt pretty good about them. I did not feel caught off guard. Then the denial letters started coming in (though I did make the alternate list at one program). The feedback I recieved was that my ICU experience was too low of an acuity (it's a 6 bed medical/surgical ICU). This is despite trying to inflate my experience as best I could without lying.

    Now I'm realizing that the only reason I went 5 for 5 was b/c of my high stats (GPA, GRE score, reference letters, CCRN, ect) {trying not to toot my own horn} :hatparty: I now feel that what is primarily judged during the interviews is the depth, not the time length, of experience. So while I feel that their feedback has merit, I also know that there have been many others that are now CRNA's who also came through our ICU for far less time than I've put in (3.5 yrs).

    So I'm holding out on an ICU change while I await the outcome of the next 2 interviews. I'm doing registry shifts now and then around town to get a feel for what other ICU's I might want to go into and I ask questions everywhere I go. I'm thinking that maybe the schools have a bias toward CVICU just from an inclination I get from what I've read here (though the schools won't say that explicitly). If I don't get in this year, I will go to the highest acuity ICU I can find (probably CVICU), and I'll continue to apply every year.

    Being in a uncommon and perplexing situation, I appreciate any advice since you all are definitely the best group of people to ask about my unique situation.
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   jackson74
    I was just accepted to a CRNA program starting fall of 07. If I were in your position, I would go ahead and try to get the CVICU job before the next two interviews that way you can tell the interview panel that you'll have at least 6 months CV experience before starting school (if you're interviewing for fall 07). I think this move may get you in, if not, you'll at least have a jump on next year. Good Luck.
  4. by   shang36
    [quote=jackson74;2014260]I was just accepted to a CRNA program starting fall of 07. If I were in your position, I would go ahead and try to get the CVICU job before the next two interviews that way you can tell the interview panel that you'll have at least 6 months CV experience before s
    t arting school (if you're interviewing for fall 07). I think this move ma well said jackson74! in addition to this ,I would seek job at big teaching hospital. a great positive on your resume,letters of reco. from an anesthesiologist would help you in a great way.CCRN too.good luck ! you can do it!
  5. by   malenurse2001
    Thanks for the advice and encouragement Shang and Jackson74. A few weeks ago I had thougt about changing jobs asap just as you both suggested. However, the timing for a job change is unfortunately kind of poor at the moment. We're expecting our 2nd child in two months. Plus, a job change will probably entail taking a big pay cut which will not help with trying to fund the CRNA training. And I was afraid that making an ICU change now might add to the interview panel's suspicion that the ICU I'm currently at isn't adequate. It's probably not the best attitude to go into the interview with, but I'm starting to feel like "there's always next year". I would really like to vary my skills mix and therefore improve my profile but I think I should wait to see how these next two interviews pan out. After all, application season begins again in another 6 months or so. At least what I'm potentially lacking is something I can fix for next year and not somthing that takes years to fix like a low GPA.
  6. by   jaznaa
    Quote from malenurse2001
    Let me start by saying that I greatly appreciate all of the knowledgable posts from everybody in this forum.

    Since I got such a great response from the last question I posted, I figured I could throw out a more personal question and see what I get.

    I went 5 for 5 this year on applications converting to interviews. So I figured that surely I'd get in somewhere unless I really freeze up or say something stupid during the interview. I had prepared for the interviews by studying my CCRN stuff and rehersing for all the potential CRNA inteview questions I could find online. Leaving the interviews (I've done 3 of 5 so far) I felt pretty good about them. I did not feel caught off guard. Then the denial letters started coming in (though I did make the alternate list at one program). The feedback I recieved was that my ICU experience was too low of an acuity (it's a 6 bed medical/surgical ICU). This is despite trying to inflate my experience as best I could without lying.

    Now I'm realizing that the only reason I went 5 for 5 was b/c of my high stats (GPA, GRE score, reference letters, CCRN, ect) {trying not to toot my own horn} :hatparty: I now feel that what is primarily judged during the interviews is the depth, not the time length, of experience. So while I feel that their feedback has merit, I also know that there have been many others that are now CRNA's who also came through our ICU for far less time than I've put in (3.5 yrs).

    So I'm holding out on an ICU change while I await the outcome of the next 2 interviews. I'm doing registry shifts now and then around town to get a feel for what other ICU's I might want to go into and I ask questions everywhere I go. I'm thinking that maybe the schools have a bias toward CVICU just from an inclination I get from what I've read here (though the schools won't say that explicitly). If I don't get in this year, I will go to the highest acuity ICU I can find (probably CVICU), and I'll continue to apply every year.

    Being in a uncommon and perplexing situation, I appreciate any advice since you all are definitely the best group of people to ask about my unique situation.
    I can speak from experience because I am a 2nd yr anesthesia student that went throught a similar situation. I originally applied to anesthesia school in Dec. 2002 and basically was told that my small community hospital CCU experience did not provide enough swan and invasive monitoring experience, so in 2003 I went to a neighboring community hospital and got a position in CVICU, worked for 2 years, got my CCRN, PALS, re-took GRE and reapplied and got in. I don't think its neccesarily the size of the ICU (mine was 8 beds) but, the acuity of pts and level of care. In a CVICU setting that recovers fresh hearts, there is no question about experience with balloon pumps, vasoactive gtt titration, use of paralytics and sedatives, and vent management. All your pts require this level of care.
  7. by   malenurse2001
    thank you so much for your reply jaznaa,
    i have been feeling somewhat aimless and disheartened lately, so i really appreciate comments from the experts in this forum. i do feel that the lack of high acuity experience is the only piece of the puzzle that i'm lacking. it really helps when those who know confirm it. i just don't really want to give up a good thing (which is what i have now) for less pay and more stress if lack of high acuity experience is not what's keeping me out. but i definitely will make that change if these next two interviews pan out the same way. we all have to make sacrifices to get in. i'm just biding my time a little to make sure that it's a sacrifice that i do have to make.
  8. by   driscollk
    I was accepted into a program after only one yr experience in a SICU. I believe that the setting makes the big difference. I'm at a large teaching hospital w/ a 10 bed unit all 1:1 care and we see trauma, transplant and major vascular. Experiences not time is more of the factor. Look for a unit in which you will use multiple pressors, swans and multi system problems.
  9. by   dfk
    Quote from malenurse2001
    thank you so much for your reply jaznaa,
    i have been feeling somewhat aimless and disheartened lately, so i really appreciate comments from the experts in this forum. i do feel that the lack of high acuity experience is the only piece of the puzzle that i'm lacking. it really helps when those who know confirm it. i just don't really want to give up a good thing (which is what i have now) for less pay and more stress if lack of high acuity experience is not what's keeping me out. but i definitely will make that change if these next two interviews pan out the same way. we all have to make sacrifices to get in. i'm just biding my time a little to make sure that it's a sacrifice that i do have to make.
    i agree, if the interviews are relatively soon, then wait and see what they say.. if you don't get in, obviously a pattern is present.. acuity is what you need then.. sacrifice for the greater good .. for example, i moved over 200 miles from hometown full knowing i needed increased acuity (aside from improving clinical skills) to stand out as an applicant. it worked. i can for you too.. it seems to be the only factory holding you down. good luck.
  10. by   malenurse2001
    [font="arial black"]hey everyone,
    i wanted to update you all.
    i got an acceptance letter today!!! :smiley_aa
    thank you to everyone that replied to my frustrated post. the guidance is much appreciated.
    hopefully my story will help others out there that are in a similar situation- which is why i wanted to post my happy ending.
    this fall the journey begins!!!
  11. by   Beech1184
    Having done lots of interviews when hiring nurses, the main thing is answer honestly. Use examples to identify your skills, don't inflate your experience, be very honest, express a sincere desire to learn and how you plan to do it, identify your strengths, be knowlegable about the unit you are applying for and identify a skill you can bring to the team , for example positive attitude, great interpersonal skills etc.
  12. by   jackson74
    Congratulations!!!
  13. by   shang36
    :spin:
    Quote from malenurse2001
    hey everyone,
    i wanted to update you all.
    i got an acceptance letter today!!! :smiley_aa
    thank you to everyone that replied to my frustrated post. the guidance is much appreciated.
    hopefully my story will help others out there that are in a similar situation- which is why i wanted to post my happy ending.
    this fall the journey begins!!!
    congrats malenurse! yes, journey begins now.so, where did you get accepted?exactly 3 yrs from we will be posting "i passed my boards". just imagine!:spin: :melody:
  14. by   malenurse2001
    Midwestern. How about you?

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