11 January 2008

I’m not sure if I’m actually jet-lagged or just exhausted and getting sick.

In the last forty-eight hours:
I have spent 12 hours in flight between here and Seattle,
I have consumed three servings of Airborne or its CVS-brand equivalent,
I have been drenched by pouring rain on two different coasts, and
I have had my first nursing school interview. 

The interview was fine. Not great, not terrible, but fine. I was generally impressed with the other candidates, the faculty and staff were extremely welcoming, Seattle was gray and drizzly but relatively likable. The UW campus is beautiful, and everyone I met there was all Left-Coasty, which is to say laid-back and very friendly. Lots of coffee and creative facial hair.  Mark fit in perfectly.

The group interview thing was still a bit odd, but my cohort of applicants had spent an hour together in the lunch session, so that did a fair bit to reduce the jitters. All four of us had traveled a fair distance — Chicago, Phoenix, Texas, and Boston. There was one other candidate in my interview applying for my specialty, the Texan. She and I got along immediately, which is unfortunate, as she and I will never see each other again.

Because there is only ONE SLOT open for a candidate in Adult/Older Adult NP.  We learned this after the interview from the program coordinator. He was kind enough to give the group the stats for our respective programs. The other two were about 50% or a little better — about what you would expect, twice as many finalists for the number of openings. But the other aspiring geriatric NP and I learned that there were 30 applicants for AOANP, seven finalists, and one opening.

I wish I had a video of our reaction.  We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  All of this work, aggravation, travel, and stress… for only ONE of us to get in?  Why didn’t they tell us that before? If we had known the odds were so slim, would we have bothered coming all the way across the country? We wandered out in the rain mumbling to each other about it being time for a drink.

It’s clear in hindsight that they were putting the two of us head-to-head in the interview, and I wish that would’ve crystallized in my brain going in. But it’s just not in my nature to size people up that way — I didn’t think to myself, “She’s your competition, you need to come out of this stronger than she does” — and my naivete may have hurt me. But I didn’t get the impression that the other candidate was out for blood either. It’s an interesting scenario — this was a case where some amount of competitive strategy would have been helpful, but I don’t think that came naturally to either of us. Yes, this is a competitve program, but the instincts of a person who wants to be a nurse taking care of the elderly may, in fact, be a bit different than your prospective CEOs applying to Harvard Business.  

So that’s the story. I’m not seeing a return trip to Seattle in my future. And I don’t think I’m being overly negative. I just don’t think that I really did much to distinguish myself as *the* exceptional candidate out of seven finalists. And it’s very possible that my fellow interviewee and I were merely vying for the next-to-last spot on the waitlist.

And don’t get me started on why there is only one AOANP opening in a program of this caliber when there is such a constant need for geriatric practitioners… 



  1. Ahh, the trials and tribulations of nursing school interviews! 🙂 Have you read NursingZen’s blog lately? Sounds like UCSF has a nightmare on their hands for peds clinicals. Good luck to you next week!!

  2. Oops, I meant good luck in general…. When will UW let you know?

  3. Ha! I had just read her blog earlier today! What a mess. Sounds like UCSF is making promises they can’t keep. I call it karma.

    Should hear from UW this week or next.

  4. You make me feel so fortunate; I just drove over there from Redmond. I was applying for AACNP and CNL. I think everyone in my group was local. There are only 1 or 2 spots in AACNP and I think they said a total of 8 applicants. Overall 48 spots for 70 interviewees is not too bad.

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