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Panicking a little

I applied to grad school thinking that I probably wouldn't even get an interview, but I just received an email informing me that they are offering me one.  This is fantastic news, however I'm being realistic that I still probably won't get in (really impacted and competitive program).  The interview is going to be on Monday or Tuesday next week (eek!).  I'm panicking because I'm not great at being quick and witty, and I'm introverted, which I feel will show as fake if I try to force energy during the interview (although I am excited).  I feel like I don't even know where to start preparing for this. 

I know we had a semi-related thread about this a few days ago, but any tips on interviewing for grad school?  Any Nurse Practitioners out there with advice for interviewing and what they might ask? 


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Re: Panicking a little

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    No advice, but good luck!
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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    Only advice I have is to listen to good music beforehand to get yourself pumped up.  My playlist was "Edge of Glory", "Defying Gravity", and "Firework".  
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    edited January 2015
    so, i take it you're an RN? applying to grad school to be an APN?

    i'd say be prepared to answer WHY you want to become an APN. maybe think of mentioning the importance of continuing education and the difference between nursing care vs medical care (like, i got asked, why be an APN vs a Dr), why / how you want to make a difference, what makes you want to be "more than" a bedside nurse. think about how you may juggle work and school, if you'll still be working while going to school. plans for your future r/t becoming an APN. if you have worked with APNs in your current or previous jobs, how that's influenced you, how you're experiences have impacted you to want to continue your education to become an APN (i'm sure some of this you discussed in your application essay...)

    make sure to ask some questions about the program. how clinicals work - what type of places students do rotations. what type of mentorship, if any, they offer. if you plan on going part-time, what the timeframe for a part-time program would be like, if any of your nursing experience qualifies for your portfolio (if you have one, some schools do, some dont). ask about electives, if possible. are you doing an MSN or DNP program? how does an advisor for a thesis work. 

    come up with the usual answers for strengths/weakness. weakness - perfectionist is usually a good one, strength - teamwork and delegation, etc

    and don't try to be something you're not! Even if you're introverted, you can still show your interest and excitement in other ways. Maintain eye contact, don't move around too much, small smiles. speak clearly. Remember to bring a few copies of your resume and application essay (just in case).

    good luck! :)


    ETA: don't think negatively! they obviously see something in you to make them want to give you an interview, there's no reason why you can't be accepted as well! Yes, APN programs are highly competitive but you got this! positive thinking :)
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    bethsmilesbethsmiles member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited January 2015

    No advice, I didn't have to interview for my grad program, but good luck!


    ETA: Ditto @redwoodoriginal's advice about not being someone you're not. As someone who ended up in a grad program that wasn't a good fit, I can say this is just as much about finding a good fit for you as it is about getting accepted. My two years getting my masters were much more miserable than they needed to be because the program just wasn't a good fit for me.



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    @redwoodoriginal Thanks for the advice!  I actually am applying to an entry level nursing program (with a BS in another degree besides nursing).  The first 15 months is accelerated to get the equivalent of your BSN, then you take the NCLEX and start working on your masters. 

    Do you think I need to bring a resume or anything?  I didn't include one with my application. 


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    I have 0 ideas, and will never get that far in school, but omg awesome! Congrats, and good luck!

     

    I'm great in interviews, because I'm really good 1 on 1. Once you throw me in a group I sink to the back and get overshadowed easily =\

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    levieenroselevieenrose member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary First Comment Name Dropper
    edited January 2015
    Congratulations, Levioosa! 

    I know nothing about nursing, so my advice is a little generic: 

    Read through all the web literature on the program, funding, placements, and faculty that you can. If the faculty has any publications/projects that they are involved in, it might be a good idea to get a handle on those. You could also try contacting the office assistant beforehand and get some of your more basic questions about the program answered (anything not already online, that is--you don't want to waste her/his time during a busy season), leaving room to think about more specific, in-depth questions.

    Crossing my fingers for you!

    ETA: Gender modification

    Then happy I, that love and am beloved 
    Where I may not remove nor be removed.

     --William Shakespeare (Sonnet 25)

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    Ditto PPs. I was really nervous about my grad school interviews because I'm like you, introverted, not bubbly and friendly, not good a chit chat. However, I was able to talk intelligently about my field, ask good questions, and it was clear I was prepared for the interview. I was also polite and dressed well. Even if I wasn't bubbly and excitable, I think it did come across that I was very interested in the program. 

    My boss frequently interviews potential new grad students. He says the 3 biggest things he looks for are professionalism (stuff like being on time, polite, clean, dressed in nice clothes), interest in the field and knowledge about the program, and general attitude or ability to get along well with others. 

    Anniversary
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    Redwood original gives good advice.

    One addition: In facilities other than hospitals, NP's often supervise a small interdisciplinary team, present at case conferences to medical and non-medical staff, and to families. They are coordinators and educators. Prepare to discuss your communication skills with medical and non-medical people.
    Any good student can master the language of their own field. But listening to people from other disciplines, and to families, assessing what they understand and do not, and translating this into language the listener will understand is a real skill worth talking about.
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    No advice, but yay on getting the interview! Good luck!
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    levioosa said:
    @redwoodoriginal Thanks for the advice!  I actually am applying to an entry level nursing program (with a BS in another degree besides nursing).  The first 15 months is accelerated to get the equivalent of your BSN, then you take the NCLEX and start working on your masters. 

    Do you think I need to bring a resume or anything?  I didn't include one with my application. 
    Yes, I would bring a copy of your resume, contacts for your references, and any other material you may have attached or composed for the original application. Have those printed on good paper. It's a nice gesture to have those available for them, and they might want to glance at it. 

    Then happy I, that love and am beloved 
    Where I may not remove nor be removed.

     --William Shakespeare (Sonnet 25)

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    Thank you all so much!  I was definitely freaking out a little earlier, and now I feel much better.  I have one more question:  Apparently the interview will be a group interview.  I'm not even sure how that works.  Has anyone been a part of a group interview before?  I think it's a little weird, but I understand why they are doing it.  I'm just not sure what to expect/how it might differ from a normal interview.  


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    You will probably go round robin a question or two each. The only group interview I ever did, after individual questions , the interviewer gave out question sheets and paired us off. We had to interview each other. So weird. Asking each other, all ad lib, so we could write up an interview from the question sheets. Six of us there, talking across the conference table. Two interviewing at a time while the others watched. One other woman and I got jobs, and at our inservice training session that same interviewer. Told us he had evaluated us based on how friendly and comfortable we were with strangers, how well we chose an interview style that was interactive and not just firing questions, and our ad-libbing from such a bare bones list of things to find out about the other person.

    We had finished the interview with a half hour to write up a professional report style summary of what we thought were the other person's skills, strengths and weaknesses for the job we were interviewing for.

    This was a rehab facility and we were each interviewing to be head occupational or physical therapist . He mentioned that in the written reports, we were the only two who did not confuse what we heard from the person we interviewed with information from the other interviews we watched. And we each wrote coherent and legible reports in our own formats, with no need for rough drafts or notes. He commented on the extent of our own job knowledge as shown by the questions we asked. The guide questions sheet had just had things like education and clinical exp?
    Team player or not?
    Sufficient clinical experience?

    So we were really winging it. And I know 2 in my group were foundering trying to formulate the next question while listening carefully to the one we just asked. Without and notes, we had to have a framework in mind for a report, and remember details.

    It felt like a behavioral psych class session.
    I have no idea if this was a typical group interview or not.

    For what it is worth, good luck.
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    levioosa said:
    @redwoodoriginal Thanks for the advice!  I actually am applying to an entry level nursing program (with a BS in another degree besides nursing).  The first 15 months is accelerated to get the equivalent of your BSN, then you take the NCLEX and start working on your masters. 

    Do you think I need to bring a resume or anything?  I didn't include one with my application. 


    Ah! that's the same thing I did after I got my BA and then went into nursing 4 years ago :)

     

    So, I think a lot of others have covered it, but I agree. Bring your resume! It will help bc they will most likely ask you how you got to this point, what you did before and how you realized you wanted to go into nursing. For example, I was an anthropology major in undergrad, and then I applied to the Pediatric APN program. My interviewers were fascinated with my anthro background, and I used the fact that I love studying different cultures, come from a diverse background, and a lot of anthro is studying people to understand them, so I tied in nursing care with understanding people and being able to read people and situations to help with situations in peds with worried parents, etc.

    And instead of using nursing experiences, have you volunteered anywhere? Why did you decide to go into nursing? Again, you may have mentioned them in an application essay, but be prepared to repeat, but find other ways to tie it into your love of caring for others, and why not med school? b/c you want to care for the PATIENT - patient centered quality care!!, vs medical care that you feel is focused more on the science of it. What specialty are you applying for? Did you shadow someone in the APN role you want to specialize in? Talk about that, or how you came to that decision.  

    I know some people suggested looking up the faculty, and that would be a good idea to do within your specialty, but it's not the end of the world if you don't. You can include that well I know Prof X's primary research is in pressure ulcers, and I find that with becoming a Geriatric/Adult NP and wanting to work in a nursing home setting, doing my master's project on that would be fascinating. Or, if you really aren't sure yet - don't say that, but say that you have read on how diverse the interests of the faculty in your specialty program are, and you are excited to find what subtopic really stimulates you and you hope to work with one of them on your master's project/thesis/etc.

    I have no idea how a group interview works, I've never had to do that. We had a fake group interview - they sat us all down together, went over the presentation of the program and the school, and then we asked a few questions, and then they pulled us into one on two interviews.

     

    Good Luck!!

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    I have always had group interviews working for the state government, I'm not sure if it will be the same structure for you.  But it is usually 3-4 people, in your case I'd imagine it would most likely be department heads of your program, and for us usually someone from HR to make sure the interviews are fair and everyone is asked the same things.   Each person generally asks a question, everyone takes notes, we get scored on a recommend/ not recommend basis (but they don't tell us which) and at the end they give you an opportunity to ask questions.  So very much like a regular interview just with multiple people there. 

     

    Good luck!

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    @redwoodoriginal @classicalandedgy @whatawagsbny thank you so much!  This has really helped focus me.  I had a million thoughts running through my head yesterday and I didn't know where to put them.

    @Whatawagsbny that was a really interesting experience.  I definitely feel like they will have us to some kind of interaction because at all of the information meetings I've been to (both at this school and others) they have stressed the importance of working as a team with your fellow students (since you are on a track with the same 20-40 students for the entire duration of the program).  It's a little odd that I might have to interview someone else, so I guess it's time to go and review that recent thread about interviewing a potential employee for some more ideas! 

    Thanks, everyone!


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    It had not occurred to me before that interview they had already checked my clinical skills and knowledge, so it is quite reasonable that they focus on the ability to build a department as the next level.
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