What was the application process like
Fairly strait forward. Fill out the online application, attach your e-resume and write a cover letter. I interviewed with the nurse manager of the SICU over spring break of my lst semester of nursing school and was offered a position the next day on the phone.
is there a lot of competition for spots?
When I applied there was moderate competetion. Something like 37 qualifed applicants for 9 spots in the SICU. Now it is much stiffer since rather than a calss being 20-25 total for all units, and each unit having like 4-9 grads in the class the total classes are 6-8 with only one or two grads for each unit. Also the program was new when I applied. Now it is fairly well known and many more trying to get in to fewer spots.
What are they looking for in applicant (to improve my chances).
I think the number one think they look for is close ties to the local community. Talk about how you have always wanted to live in a small town and play up any ties you have to the area. Also they like to see a solid work history. They uinderstand you are new grads but try to show them you are dependable and a hard worker.
What was the residency/training like you for, did you enjoy it?
It was intense and challenging. We had tough classes an A&P, pharm, hemodynamics and a ton of other things. The standards were high, the tests high stakes. The teaching method is great. It's like OK we are having a class on this subject x and we are bringing in an expert on subject x, then we will have hands on lab experiences with subject x, then we will go out to real patient bedsides and experience it first hand, then you will work one on one with an RN expert taking care of real patients with a focus on subject x, then you will be tested on subject x. I loved it. However not everybody made it through. Some washed out and were offered jobs on med-surg, or in a few cases not offered jobs at all.
Did you relocate to Marshfield?
I relocated to a small town north of Marshfield. I got $5K in relocation assistance but I think that is long a thing of the past.
What is the hospital and its workers like?
Very modern hospital with nice facilities. The workers are top notch. Now that I have experience in many other hospitals I realize just how competent and well trained the nurses are at St.Joseph's. They are expected to practice with a lot of autonomy, much more than at other hospitals and they know their stuff. The physicians are good but nurse physician relationships are a little old fashioned. Not much calling docs by their first name there.
The bad side is the managment. In the last few years there has been a lot of turmoil. They recently had the lowest cultural survey in their history and they are coming down hard on staff. Last year they fired all the nurse managers and made them re-appy for their jobs. Not all were hired back and many were shifted around. For example the new ICU nurse manager was moved there from 7North, a med-surg until, and knows nothing about critical care nursing. They are Magnet but be prepared to become very cynical about Magnet there. Just prior to Magnet survey nurses were threatend that we had better tow the party line or else. We got 3x5 cards with the exact answers they wanted us to give to questions from surveyers. Many things like shared governance were put into place just for Magnet then done away with as soon as they got Magnet.
Moral is very low, pay is very low, benifits are bad and getting worse all the time. The health insurance offered is very expensive and low qualiety. They will only use Security Health Plan, which is owned by the physicans of Marhsfield Clinic.
I can't imagine a better place to spend your first few years as an RN. You will be well trained and very competant (or fired if not, they will fire a nurse at the drop of a hat). If you can work there you can work anywhere. Not a good place to spend a career.
I still work for them on a casual basis on the Sprit flight crew and still have many friends who work there. One of my best friends is an instructor in the residency program and has already responded to this thread.