Any tips from past experience interviewing for the RN New Grad program at UCLA?



I'm interviewing on Nov. 10th for the UCLA New Grad RN program and was wondering if people who interviewed in the past could offer some tips, sample questions, or advice for the interview. Thank you! :redbeathe


19 Posts


I found this person's interview tips to be incredibly helpful. They interviewed for the ucla new residency program in 2009, but i think it's still applicable. i found this response on one of the ucla new grad forums


I relocated from the Midwest to Los Angeles right after I graduated. In sharing my experience, I don't want to discourage you at all - coming out here was the best decision I could have made...but it wasn't easy.

As you are experiencing, the economy is really hurting new grad RNs. I applied and interviewed for the UCLA New Grad Residency Program in 2009. I did not get the position, but here is some advice I can give from that interview:

  • You might have an initial phone interview if you do not want to fly out for the interview. I only had in person interviews.
  • Thoroughly research the unit areas you want to work - "MICU, SICU, and possible the neuro/trauma ICU." KNOW specific medications that might be used more on those units than others. Practice scenarios specific to these units - I interviewed for peds and was asked numerous questions about interactions with family members. In my interviews, I interviewed directly with the nurse managers of the units I was applying.
  • I felt that the recruiting office and the nurse managers hit hard on patient centered care. I realize that all hospitals are stressing this, but never before had I experienced it so much in an interview. The recruiter asked me, "If you saw trash in the hallway what would you do?" It isn't a trick question, just say, "I want my environment to be clean and safe for the patients and their families, so I would clean it up immediately." Etc.
  • The recruiter and/or nurse manager will ask you why you want to relocate and will judge you on the probability they can retain you. You need to have a solid answer.
  • Be open minded about unit opportunities! I naively limited myself to pediatrics and learned at the end of my interview that this was one of their most wanted areas. Try asking the nurse recruiter what areas have more openings and less applications for increased opportunity.
  • BE PROFESSIONAL! I couldn't believe how many applicants did not wear a suit or arrive on time. Ask the nurse recruiter for the specific names and titles of those who will interview you so you can place them directly on your cover letter. Remember, THOUSANDS of new grads are applying for a job at UCLA and you need to stand out in a positive way.
  • I was in and out in about 3 hours. This included two interviews and listening to the nurse recruiter and HR speeches about relocation assistance and benefits (last year I believe their relocation $$ was around $1500 or $2000). It could be longer if you apply for more units.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for a tour of the unit ahead of time with the nurse recruiter. It will give you a taste of the units you want to work on. Plus, the interviews were in a medical office on Wilshire - not at the hospital - so you may want to do this to actually SEE where you are anticipating to work.

In terms of the hospital itself, it is amazing. My sister gets care there and gave birth to her second son at Mattel. The emergency department staff are wonderful and very knowledgeable. The facility is beautiful. My sister and her family live in Westwood (UCLA is located in Westwood Village) and I love to visit because it is trendy and I feel safe. This area has a lot of opportunity for apartment housing, but anywhere in this part of LA is going to be at least $1000/month for a studio (probably on the low side). Pay will probably start around $34/hr which when you factor in cost of living, is comparable to salaries else where. For a new grad that is good out here.

I do want you to know that the job market is very saturated in SoCal with new graduate nurses. Part of the difficulty with relocation is that many graduates of SoCal have done rotations in area hospitals and have networks and connections. WE transplants often do not. I was fortunate to find a new grad position with the VA after about 5 months here and I got that placement because I was open minded with a position (psych) and I had taken a per diem night shift position with a medical research group. I now have a year of experience and suddenly nurse recruiters from most large hospitals are calling me back for med/surg positions - even with only a year of psych! I have gone to a few job fairs and CEU classes at area hospitals and they all tell me the same thing - new grads MUST be open to various opportunities and after one year they can ultimately transfer. I never would have thought I would take a psych job but I must admit I have learned a great deal from this year that I would not learn in a medical unit. Although I am ready to move on to another area, I feel strongly this experience will be an aid in the future.

My suggestion: if you can afford it, fly out for the interview. While you are here, plan ahead to visit other hospitals and get a feel for the area.

Preparation is key!

Good luck!



19 Posts

Good luck! i'm interviewing for the med surg unit on Nov 15th. it's my first nursing interview and i'm nervous!

I talked to HR today and I asked her what the interview process is. She said that if they are sure they will hire you it will only take one interview. but if they are unsure, there will be a second interview. she said that it usually takes 2-3 weeks and they will tell you if you got the job.

my aunt knows someone that works at UCLA (not as a nurse but health related) and their response about their interview was:

"it's easy they just gave me one interview and told me like 2 weeks later I got accepted. they asked general questions plus some practical ones but not hard like common sense."

Hope this helps and i hope we all get hired! working at ucla would be a dream


31 Posts

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences! It is so helpful!!