Western Carolina University CRNA Interview - Starting January 2015

  1. Hey all,

    I was just offered an early interview for the CRNA program at Western Carolina University, to begin potentially in January 2015. I am extremely excited for this opportunity and was wondering if anyone knew about the interview process. I have heard it is a lot of clinical questions, but also the usual (i.e. what patients do you take care of, why CRNA, etc.).

    If anyone has any insight that would be great. I would also love to hear about any others interviewing. Ashville is a beautiful place, and from the looks of things, it sounds like WCU is a great program that gives SRNAs a lot of experience in areas where other programs may lack (central line placement, blocks).

    Good luck to all.
  2. Visit nurseman78 profile page

    About nurseman78, BSN

    Joined: Jul '08; Posts: 202; Likes: 103
    SRNA student (Nurse Anesthesia); from US
    Specialty: 5 year(s) of experience in ICU, CRNA (student)


  3. by   nurseman78
    I realize that it's only me replying to this thread, but I just wanted to mention that the interview went well, and I was offered a slot in the program a few hours afterward. The interview was very pleasant, with mostly personal questions and some minor clinical questions. Despite some nervous moments, it went well, and I look forward to starting next year. If anyone has questions about the application/interview process, feel free to PM me. Thank you.
  4. by   Angelrina,CCRN
  5. by   presta
    Hoping to get an interview with Western next month. Would love to hear more about your experience. PM me if available.
  6. by   Paprice0412
    I am also hoping for an interview at WCU! Looks competitive.
  7. by   kagrace23
    I have an interview at WCU June 20th. I would love to get a few more details from you about the interview!
  8. by   nurseman78
    MY interview experience was sort of a combination of personal and clinical questions. Overall, it was pretty easy-going. When I approached the campus at Western Carolina University, I was greeted by the secretary, who gave me a bottle of water and allowed me to sit as she went and notified the interviewers of my presence. I was soon greeted by the program director and assistant program director, and was escorted into a small conference room.

    The interview was fairly laid-back. I was asked many "personal" style questions, most of which were exactly the ones I mentioned in my examples:

    "Why do you want to be a CRNA?"
    "Why did you choose Western Carolina University?"
    "How do you handle conflict?"

    Then they moved into the clinical portion of the interview by asking me what kind of patients I work with on my floor. They then asked me to describe a specific patient scenario. This was the part in which I grew a little nervous. I discussed a septic patient whom I had taken care of that was on a number of vasopressors, a ventilator, and had a number of complex things going on, including an absurdly high temperature requiring an Arctic Sun, CRRT / dialysis (which made her even more hemodynamically unstable), and more.

    I had a few flubs, which I actually caught and corrected during my response. These include the amount of fluid I would resuscitate the patient with (I mistakenly said 5 ml per kg, which only amounted to 300 ml, which I caught and corrected to 50 ml per kg, so more like 3 liters), and what other receptor dobutamine works on besides beta1 (it has mild beta2 effects, which I admitted I did not know, but I did mention that I know it causes coronary artery dilation, which I think helped).

    Finally, they asked me why they I think they should pick me over the other candidates. I think this was the key thing that sold them on me. I emphasized that I am teachable, try to be humble and honest about all of my dealings, and that I am not afraid to admit when I am wrong about something. Also, I mentioned that the safety of the patient is my highest priority, and I don't let ego get in the way of that.

    If I could give any advice to anyone applying for a slot in a CRNA school or any kind of nursing school or job, it would be to be humble and honest in your responses, as well as in your interactions with your patients and colleagues. The scary nurse or doctor is the person who thinks they know everything and is afraid to admit when they don't know the answer. Don't be that nurse. Be willing to say "I don't know, and I'm going to find out", and then go find out the answer.

    All in all, just be yourself. That's the thing they want to see the most. Have some patients in your head that you could talk about, but don't come up with canned answers. Just try to relax and be yourself.
  9. by   commonsense
    Got an email a little while ago saying today was the day to see if I'm going to get an interview or not, I've had my fingers crossed for a couple weeks now.
  10. by   anurse1
    I would love to know how the program is going for you at WCU. I am applying to a few programs within the next few months but WCU is at the top of my list. I visited the campus and loved the atmosphere and location. Asheville seems like a pretty cool place to live. I would love to know the pros and cons of the program. Thanks!
  11. by   nurseman78
    Overall, the program is going great! The faculty is very pleasant, professional and supportive. I had heard horror stories about a lot of other programs, such as professors attempting to "weed out" students, intimidation and so forth. The WCU program is not like that at all. The professors treat you with the idea that you will be future colleagues (which is right), which is great. The material obviously is very challenging, but when you're not working any more it's very manageable if you budget time. The WCU program is front-loaded, but integrated. The first semester there aren't any clinicals, but there are a few 3 hour simulation labs. The simulation lab, by the way, is AWESOME! It's very sophisticated, and set-up just like a real OR. There is also a pediatric simulator as well. It has been very helpful to help us feel more comfortable before we actually go to the OR.

    At the beginning of the program we had a day of team-building type exercises and a good orientation about how to get through school and the need to have balance, which was nice. They seem to care a lot about their students. There are also opportunities to go to many conferences (twice a year), and even the opportunity to go on medical missions to Chad, Africa, and also Honduras. One of the professors of WCU is actually working in Chad right now, and second-year students have gone out there to work with him. Pretty awesome!

    For those who don't know, the WCU CRNA program is not located in Cullowhee, where the main WCU campus is. It is in Asheville, which is a bigger city. Asheville is quirky: kind of like Portland, OR or Austin, TX. Lots of hipsters, craft beers, very eco-conscious restaurants. It's a southern hippie town, and there's a lot to do, even if you're not into the hipster stuff. There's really something for everyone here.

    All in all, I highly recommend applying to the program. There are a lot of opportunities for scholarships, too. I was able to get a small one, and there are a bundle of others ones to apply to as well.

    I personally am having a great time in anesthesia school. Yes, it's work, but it's not hell or torture as some make you think. And it's not impossible, either. Obviously you have to study and put in the time, but if you treat it like your job, it works out well. That was a big piece of advice we got from the class ahead of us: if you treat it like a 40 hour/week job, you will do fine. So far, so good!
  12. by   GaMommy81
    That is so great to hear!! WCU is on my radar for Spring 2016. It is wonderful that you are enjoying the program. Best wishes to you. Thanks for the information.
  13. by   anurse1
    So nurseman78,
    Is there a lot of competition for cases at WCU? Also, do you have to travel far for clinicals?
  14. by   nurseman78
    No competition or clinicals. There is no medical school close-by. There are opportunities to do clinicals with all CRNA practices. Most clinicals are local. There is an optional 8-week rotation in Lexington, KY in pediatrics.