Thursday, October 1, 2009

CRNA Interview... Why do you want to be a CRNA?


If all the hard work, hours of studying, GRE, advanced classes in Chemistry etcetera weren't enough, CRNA applicants must endure an admitting interview that are sometimes short of an oral examination. My interview was no different, it was quick 10-15 minutes, but I can surely say it seemed like an hour. Below I will narrate my interview as well as present numerous questions I gathered throughout forums and blogs in order to prepare myself.

My Interview:

I arrived early and waited while other applicants took their turn at the interviewers. Tension was building up as my turn grew near and when finally my name got called I walked into the interview room trying to portray as much confidence in myself as possible. There were 7 people sitting in a round table and I was directed to sit in an empty chair. Among the interviewers were current students, CRNA's, Anesthesiologist's, the program secretary, and the NAP program director. The traditional "Why do you want to be a CRNA?" question was asked and from that point on a big blur was ensued upon me of what were my answers exactly. In summary, the questions I was asked were as follow:

  • Why do you want to be a CRNA?
  • I see you took a graduate level course in Advanced Anatomy and Physiology. How has that class helped you in your clinical practice?
  • Tell me about your clinical CRNA shadow experience? How did that influence you to pursue this profession?
  • Tell me about Vasopressin. Where does Vasopressin work?

And that was it. I believe I answered all questions to the best of my knowledge with sincerity. I was not expecting the vasopressin question, but luckily I knew the answer to that (Distal convoluted tubule of the loop of henle). Below I have pasted a list of questions I gathered online before my interview. I hope it helps and gives you something to think about when your time comes.

  • Why do you want to be a CRNA?
  • What is your single strongest personality trait that will help you in your academic and professional career as a CRNA?
  • What is your most important weakness that you will struggle with during your academic and professional career?
  • As a member of a small and elite profession, what obligations will you have, if any, toward this profession?
  • Please explain the difference between SA02 and PA02?
  • What is Mv02?
  • Tell me everything you know about hemoglobin.
  • Discuss the pharmacologic differences between dopamine and dobutamine.
  • What do you believe your role will be in this career field?
  • Do you have a role model in this career field?
  • What motivates you to pursue an advanced nurse practitioner role? Why did you choose this career field?
  • What are your short and long term goals? Where do you see yourself in five or ten years from now?
  • What strengths do you bring to this program?
  • Describe personal, professional, and educational attributes that make you uniquely suitable for this career field.
  • What changes in your personal or professional lifestyle do you anticipate as a graduate student and as an advanced nurse practitioner? How have you planned for this?
  • Do you have any questions about the roles and functions of a nurse in this career field? Have the questions ready for the panel in case they offer.
  • The other thing I always ask is the applicant's family's commitment; is your spouse fully supportive of this effort?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to manage a difficult clinical situation.
  • Tell me about a time when you were working with someone who wasn't pulling their weight, and they had a different value system than yours. How did you deal with this person?
  • Tell me about a time when you failed. What happened, and how did you recover?
  • Tell me about a time when you had an ethical dilemma at work. What did you do?
  • Tell me about a time when you felt it was you against everyone else. You thought you were right and that everyone else was wrong. What did you do?
  • Why do you want to be a CRNA?
  • What would make you a successful CRNA?
  • How do you handle stress?
  • What kind of patients do you take care of? Your favorite and why?
  • Tell us about your work experience.
  • How do you describe success?
  • Do you foresee any barriers to your education?
  • What does a CRNA do?
  • Where do you want to be in 5 years?
  • Why our program?
  • What questions do you have for us?
  • If you saw one of your fellow students or colleagues using drugs outside of work/classroom, what would you do?
  • With what theoretical/research/philosophical approaches to the field do you identify?
  • If you had to pick a topic for a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation, what might it be?
  • Who (within the field) has influenced you the most?
  • Tell us about your research projects.
  • What do you consider the biggest issue facing the profession today? Next 5/10 years?
  • How do you feel that your background will influence your research, clinical work and areas of interest?**
  • How do you feel about giving up a paying job for several years?
  • What financial preparations have you made to ensure that you will not have financial difficulties during anesthesia school?
  • What is your strongest trait that will help you in your academic/professional career.
  • What is your most important weakness that you will struggle with, if any, toward this profession?
  • Tell me about a typical pt in your ICU.
  • What are your roles and responsibilities?
  • What do you know about XYZ school and our program?
  • What if in clinical someone told you you were taping your IV wrong. What would you do?
  • Tell me one of your greatest accomplishments? And at your last job?
  • Give an example of where you showed leadership.
  • Give an example of community service.
  • Give an example of when you worked on a team.
  • Give me an example of your problem solving.
  • What have you done to develop or change in the last few years?
  • How do others see you?
  • Do you work well under pressure? Give an example.
  • How do you think you will fit into the program?
  • How will you be an asset to this program?
  • What do you enjoy most about your job?
  • What do you want written on your tombstone?
  • What are your expectations of the program?
  • What will you do if you don’t get into the program?
  • Why should we pick you over someone else?
  • Tell me about your proudest achievement.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to think out of the box.
  • What can you do for us that other candidates can't?
  • Identifying Myocardial infarctions on a 12 lead EKG
  • What ae appropriate interventions for cardiogenic shock?
  • Discuss a mistake you made and how you resolved it...
  • What increases ICP?
  • What is the FIRST thing you would do if you looked up and saw 2nd degree type 2 heart block and the BP was low?
  • How does Atropine work?
  • How does Digoxin work?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • Why did you choose this program?
  • What would you do if you didn’t get in?
  • What would you do if you saw a fellow student with drugs?
  • What was your last difficult pt? What made it difficult and what did you do?
  • What is the role of a CRNA/What do you see as your role as a CRNA?
  • What are your career plans?
  • How do you relax if you’re feeling stressed?
  • What are the your two most important achievements as a nurse?
  • Why did you choose this career field over other advanced practice fields?
  • What attributes make you suitable for this career field?
  • Why should we choose you over other prospective applicants?
  • What are the symptoms of sepsis?
  • What would swan numbers sho in a septic pt and why?
  • What does levophed do? what is it's mechanism? what receptor sites does it work on?
  • Normal range for ICP?
  • Tell us about what preparations you and your family has done to prepare for the rigors of CRNA school?
  • Why should we select you over all the other candidates?
  • Tell us about your strengths and weaknesses?
  • How long have you been in the ICU?
  • The last question was something like this:
  • You seem so confident, how prepared are you to be a novice again? How well do you handle criticism?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

1 year passed

Has it been one year already!! My wishes have finally come true. The day before my birthday (June 26th) I received my acceptance letter. I GOT IN!! I'm glad I have been able to compound in my ICU experiences and believe it will benefit me greatly in my quest to become a proficient Nurse Anesthetist. I have 6 months of work in the ICU left, and even work has become a little easier now that I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am also glad I didn't have to take that stupid GRE to get in. So my advice to all of you out there is... keep those grades up, you just might find a program that waves the GRE based on your GPA.
I can't wait to get started!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Yet another Birthday

Its official, Im 29! Last year in my 20’s is before me. Unfortunately my application into the anesthesia program did not go through due to technicalities of my application. Hence, my application wasn’t even reviewed for possible acceptance. Fortunately, I was not overly upset by this hurdle on my pursuit to graduate studies. I do recognize that another year of experience in the CVICU will proof fundamental to my success in Anesthesia school.
As always I have a lot on my plate, with 7 weeks left in my BSN program and the imminent arrival of my fiance from Brazil, I have a lot to prepare. I have decided to take time off from school in the Fall and concentrate in work and studying for the GRE. Although not necessary due to my GPA for my primary choice of Anesthesia school, I intend to apply to other schools as well next year in order to enhance my chances of getting in.
Other than that, my birthday will be spent working tonight, I screwed up my schedule and neglected to ask this day off :o(

Friday, May 30, 2008

Waiting Game

Last minor CRNA application requisites were turned in today. Just in time for the deadline after tomorrow. The tedious and nerve wrecking wait is now upon me as I eagerly await a phone call, a letter, or something. I've been told that an Anesthesiologist, the director of the program and two faculty members will be conducting the interviews on June 20th and June 27th. I was happy to learn that my wait for the possible interview will not be long and that both faculty members in the committee know me well. I was also told a point system will be utilized to determine acceptance and that the interview makes up a great portion of this point system. I hope I'm at my best performance if offered an interview with them. Hopes are high, but the lingering knowledge of my short experience as a nurse takes its toll in my optimism. In the meanwhile I concentrate my efforts on these last 5 BSN classes that I'm taking during the summer. 

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Application In ... fingers crossed


Well, it's official. I've put in my application to the Nurse Anesthesia college of my choosing. I can't help but feel increasingly nervous about my application and wonder if I will even get an interview. Last time I felt this way was when I waited for the acceptance letter for my associates of science in nursing. I remember that feeling all to well. When I finally received the letter in the mail, I knew I was in before I opened it considering the thickness of the envelope. I was ecstatic! My hard work during my pre-requisites had payed off. I hope history repeats itself, I've worked hard these last few years to keep an above average GPA and gave up endless hours of fun to make this happen. All I've done in the last few years has been with this "mission" in mind. I must admit my motives have changed throughout the years. Initially I had no idea of what nurse anesthetists did exactly, and like most applicants, I was in it for the six figure income. My mind has shifted since then, I now see it as something I truly want to do as a career for the mere pleasure of the characteristics of the job itself and what in encompasses. I am truly fascinated by it, I want to do it, teach it, be good at it. Its way more fulfilling than a pay check at the end of the week. I must admit my hopes are kinda low considering my short nursing experience and the 500+ applications already turned in and counting, with still 2 weeks remaining for application deadline. But I must remain optimistic. I truly think I have a solid chance this time around.

Friday, May 16, 2008

This video is hilarious!! Check it out!