RN Residency Interview Prep

✨ 𝐠𝐞𝐦𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐦𝐲 𝐧𝐞𝐰 𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐝 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐲 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐩

A majority of nursing interviews are centered around “tell me about a time” questions which are essentially scenario questions

#1 Choose scenarios from your experience that showcase qualities of the nurse you aspire to be

#2 After a couple of interviews I noticed that scenario questions are generally centered on 6 topics (in no particular order): 

1. patient-centered care

2. evidence-based practice

  1. critical thinking

4. safety 

5. teamwork and collaboration

  1. Prioritization 

#3 have a scenario to answer at least one of these questions 

“ tell me about a time you…”

1. used critical thinking

2. had a difficult coworker &/or what makes a great team 

3. had a difficult patient

4. were compassionate

  1. had to prioritize & change plan of care
  2. used evidence based practice or a question related to our EBP project
  3. made a mistake

#4 use S. T. A. R format- to answer scenario questions

Situation: *make sure to state which rotation, brief overview of setting 

Task: * what you need to do  

Action: * what you did to complete the task

Result: * can also be what you learned 

#5 if you don’t know or understand the question ask clarifying questions!! It shows the interviewer how you problem solve & can give you better insight on if you are answering their question

Lastly, be present! know your responses well enough, but no need to memorize! All of your quirkiness makes you more personable!! As much as they are interviewing you, you are interviewing them so notice how well you personality matches with theirs ❤ 

Good luck interviewing!!

First Day RN —-> Six Month RN

“ 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒂 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒕, 𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒂 𝒓𝒆𝒒𝒖𝒊𝒓𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒋𝒐𝒚 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒔 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏” 

Let’s play spot the difference between photos?  

Photo #1 : 

*shrugged shoulders: the entire hospital felt so foreign & I felt out of place 

*☁️ moments of doubt wondering: would I be a good nurse? 

*curious: how I would impact patients as a clinic RN?

*change: I underestimated how much starting a career, in a new state, in a pandemic was going to affect me 

Photo #2 

*open body posture ✌🏾: feel so comfortable in my skin & my role in the hospital 

*☁️ less moments of doubt: I am a good nurse!!! I challenge myself, expect to learn every day, and have compassion for my patients

*impact: RN clinic role centers on patient advocacy & empowering parents to care for their children at home

*I have learned: change is a constant, resilience is a requirement, and joy comes from within 

How did I pass NCLEX-RN?

“When you feel like quitting, remember why you started”⁣

When I was over stuDYING for the NCLEX, I would remind myself that NCLEX was just another step in my journey so I can start caring for patients as a nurse.

~ U World & Rationales⁣
⁣~ Mark Klimek Audio Lectures & Notes

𝐒𝐭𝐮𝐝𝐲 𝐆𝐨𝐚𝐥𝐬⁣
~ 100-150 Questions a day⁣
~ Write rationales for each question I got wrong, even the ones that I got right. Rationales are the best way to study for NCLEX. You won’t remember the specific questions on UWorld, but you will remember the rationales for why you should 𝕡𝕚𝕔𝕜 𝕠𝕟𝕖 𝕥𝕪𝕡𝕖 𝕠𝕗 𝕒𝕟𝕤𝕨𝕖𝕣 𝕠𝕧𝕖𝕣 𝕒𝕟𝕠𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕣. I also used my rationales to pinpoint patterns of types of questions & content I was tested on.

𝐒𝐭𝐮𝐝𝐲 𝐏𝐥𝐚𝐧⁣
~ Three Weeks to Study⁣
~ On UWorld I didn’t do the questions based on categories (prioritization, etc) I chose to do a comprehensive test each time⁣
~ I started with 75 question tests at a time, but after I completed my test & reviewed my rationales, I was so exhausted I wouldn’t want to study anymore for the rest of the day. My average scores were 40-50% when I did 75q tests at a time⁣
~ So I started doing 10/20/30 question tests at a time & I continued reviewing/writing rationales after each test. My scores improved dramatically (60-80%) & I was learning so much more (less burnout)⁣
~ I would make a goal for 50-75 questions in the morning, break in the afternoon, then another 50-75 questions in the evening. My goal of 100-150 questions a day completed!!⁣

𝐒𝐭𝐮𝐝𝐲𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐍𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐬⁣
~ Notebook/White paper to organize my notes of rationales. Noticing patterns & seeing areas where I was weak & improving upon them was SO helpful⁣
~ Having time for self-care, doing something fun, was major 🔑 I needed that time to step away from the stress of studying⁣

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RN New Grad Residency Spreadsheets

I have gotten a couple of requests on my Instagram Account @thenurserah https://www.instagram.com/thenurserah/ to share the residency program spreadsheets I have been using to find new grad programs in California. It’s hard as a new grad to know how much opportunity there is out there, but there are seriously a lot of hospitals in California with new grad residency programs.

Which programs you apply to depends on a variety of factors. I would use the spreadsheets as a way to organize which new grad programs you are interested in. For example, I would select a hospital I was interested in and go directly to that hospital’s website to learn more about their new grad program. The hospital’s website is the gold standard for accurate information. When researching, I would look for key details like when the program opens, what the requirements are, etc. and I would organize this information in my Residency Template that I am sharing with you.

thenurserah Residency Template

The first excel sheet, thenurserah Residency Template, is a template I made when I was applying to new grad programs. Since it is a template, you’ll be able to fill out the information for the specific new grad programs you are interested in. I also included a check-off list in the template of items most often required in your application packet. Your application packet essentially becomes your portfolio when you go in for your interviews. Your application packet should include: Your resume, Cover Letter, Letter of Recommendations, and Licenses/Certifications/Special Projects. I included unofficial transcripts on the checklist because these are usually a required document in the application process, so it’s helpful to have them. However, it may not be necessary to include them in your portfolio. Also, the work experience doc & the licenses/certifications doc on the check-off list are word documents you can make so that the information is ready to plug into applications, they are not for your portfolio.

California Residency Programs 60 Total
CA Residency Programs Separated by Health System

The last two excel sheets I didn’t make myself. Two wonderful people on a Facebook group that I follow posted them online. The Facebook group I follow is called RNInterview Tools; before I knew anything about new grad programs, I got a lot of my information from this page. The excel sheets below are filled with tons of new grad programs. Filter through them and start adding the ones you select onto your spreadsheet. Make sure you do your research on the hospital website as well. I wish you all the best in your search for a new grad program!

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Nursing School Recap

Junior-Senior Year

Junior 1
Junior 1 was my Psych/Community Health semester. I felt that in the classroom, the workload was more doable than previous semesters, but it was a more mentally challenging semester. I had four days in an inpatient clinical site, and I would go to an outpatient clinical site 2x a week. After clinical, I would feel more mentally exhausted, compared to previous Med Surg clinical, where I mainly felt physically exhausted. I think this was a semester for mental health, checking up on each other & being more aware of mental health in our community. I remember my instructor saying, “In psych, you are the tool, you are as powerful as the insulin given to a patient who has hyperglycemia.” Those words stuck with me for the rest of the semester. I learned this semester that it is essential to take care of yourself to take care of others, and sometimes the most caring/healing thing you can do for a patient is to communicate with them compassionately.
Junior 2
There is a lot I could say about this semester, but this is where I solidified my foundation in nursing. This is where theory started to connect with what we were doing for patients in the hospital. Our exams were clinical application style questions based on what we would do in various situations. While the questions were tough, my critical thinking in different clinical situations grew because of it. I felt my clinical confidence increase; at the end of the semester, I completed my goal to take as close to primary care of three patients as possible. Achieving this goal wasn’t easy for me; I felt like I went through a crash course in time-management. For the first time, I tried to structure my clinical day/plan of care for my patients. I learned so much about myself as a student & future nurse this semester. Sometimes the hardest trials shape you for what you are meant to do; that’s how I would describe what this semester meant to me.
Senior 1
Senior 1 was my pediatric/maternity semester! Something I was looking forward to was applying for my capstone/preceptorship placement. My nursing program split my pediatric and maternity rotations in half over the semester. So I did my maternity rotation during the first half of the semester. The vibes were so different on this unit than any unit I’d been in previously that I was immediately interested in caring for moms/babies/kids/families. With this in mind, I knew I wanted a Maternity or Pediatric Capstone. The application for capstone was released when I was still in my maternity rotation, and I hadn’t had my pediatric rotation yet. The night before the application was due, I was struggling whether to put Pediatrics or Maternity first. I enjoyed caring for kids as a nanny/babysitter, so I had a feeling I would like to do pediatrics. I leaped in faith and chose pediatrics. I AM SO GLAD I DID. I can’t imagine myself in another specialty: pediatrics is creative & playful, and I enjoy building relationships with families.
Senior 2/Last Semester
Last semester of nursing school!! This semester I was focused on completing my capstone hours, 180 hours in a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology unit. I couldn’t be more thankful that I got this capstone; it changed my career path in nursing. After my experience in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, I knew I was passionate about caring for this patient population. I enjoyed building relationships with children & their families during their extended hospital stays as well as practicing a detail-oriented, compassionate, and sensitive type of pediatric nursing. I grew so much in nursing this semester; it only makes me more excited to get into a new grad program so that I can grow even more in my nursing practice. Gems I got from capstone: I worked hard in nursing school & it paid off in my ability to care for patients, I am passionate about peds heme/onc, and I am grateful for my crazy adventure in nursing school, it made me a better human.

New Grad Job Hunt

Keeping calm through it all by…

  • Staying Organized
    • Spreadsheet of pediatric new grad programs with important information such as when an application opens
    • Folders for each organization I am applying to include:
      • Resume
      • Cover letter
      • Information about the specific hospital
    • Word docs with information I can copy & paste into an application
      • One includes information usually asked on the application about work experience including contact information for supervisors, addresses, so it’s super easy to copy & paste
      • Another includes info about all my licenses & certifications, so it’s easy to enter information about them like license #, expiration date, etc
  • Being Resourceful
    • Reaching out, asking my friends, family, and other people who’ve been in my position for advice
      • It might be nerve-racking at first, but I’ve only gotten positive feedback
        • Shoutout to my amazing support system
    • Career Services at my university has been a huge help
      • My resume, cover letter, & interview skills have greatly benefited from their advice
    • Websites to follow
      • newgradnursehelp.com They have a ton of new grad programs posted on here from all around the U.S, super helpful if you are starting to look at new grad programs in your area
      • Facebook.com Believe it or not, I’m using FB & here’s how. I follow a bunch of New Grad Facebook groups where people ask questions and post resources all of the time. When I didn’t know a thing about applying to jobs as a new grad, I got a lot of my information from these groups
      • Grammarly.com Honestly, this app has been a lifesaver when it comes to quickly checking for errors in my writing. SO helpful
  • Practicing Self- Care
    • Facemasks, trips to Lush Cosmetics, spending time with family, playing tennis, and more
    • Self-care means to me that I do what is best for me
    • Today it was cleaning my room, oh my gosh, believe me when I say the laundry pile was out of this world
  • Believing in myself
    • My dream is to be a pediatric nurse, and I keep telling myself that what is meant for me will be

Mamba Village

Hello! As promised in a previous blog post, I am posting about Mamba Village which is home to many crocodiles! I visited two Mamba Villages, one in Mombasa and one in Nairobi. I will be posting about both Mamba Villages, enjoy!

When we went to Mamba Village in Nairobi, children from different primary schools were visiting. Their tour guide was very charismatic, and did a good job of welcoming the children. Pointing at a crocodile the tour guide said in Swahili, “unataka ni amuke?” Which translates to, would you like me to wake him up? The children responded, “eeh” or “yes.” Then the tour guide tapped the crocodile on the head with a stick; the crocodile immediately lached onto the stick with his teeth! The children ran backwards screaming, but they were only scared for a moment.

The Mamba Village in Mombasa is the largest crocodile farm in Kenya! It was a beautiful rainforest; there was even a waterfall where we took pictures. On a somber note, there was a man-eating crocodile at Mamba Village called Big Daddy. Big Daddy is 5 meters long and 137kilograms; he killed 5 people before he was captured and brought to the crocodile farm. Surprisingly, what I thought was the most enjoyable attraction at Mamba Village was holding a baby crocodile and a python. A week ago, if you told me I would be holding a python in the near future I would have called you a liar! I blame it on the heat in Mombasa, it makes me feel adventurous.

There is still so much for you to see, so tune in for my next post! Mamba Out!✌

Nursing School Recap

Freshman-Sophomore Year

USF Admission
The University of San Francisco was my #1 choice. I had a feeling that USF’s values and mission of “changing the world from here” would mold me into the nurse I needed to be for my patients.
Freshman 2
Because I was a transfer student, I spent my first semester at USF taking general education classes before my first semester of clinical. Since I had extra time, I spent it exploring the city, getting used to cooking consistently for myself lol, learning the crazy city bus system, getting a babysitting job, joining clubs, and volunteering. It didn’t take me long to get involved in the community at USF.
Sophomore 1
This was one of the best semesters ever. I always say I would repeat this semester if I could. It was the first time I got to wear white scrubs, learn how to use my stethoscope, and there were so many firsts that it was one of a kind semester.
Sophomore 2
Talk about a crazy stressful semester, but thank goodness for my support system. I felt there was a steep learning curve because our test questions became clinical application style questions. The famous your answer is right, but not right enough type of questions. We also had an assessment test called HESI that we needed to pass to continue in the program. I got a little nugget of wisdom from my dad this semester that I carried with me the rest of nursing school, ” you haven’t failed a test before, so why would you start now?” I chanted that through each test in nursing school after that, and thankfully I passed HESI.

Giraffe Center

On June 23, 2016 my family and I went to the Giraffe Center located in Karen, Kenya. The center had a luscious open area for the giraffes to explore, as well as a feeding station. That is where we could pet and feed the giraffes. The giraffes are fed little pellets in the shape of cylinders. To feed the giraffes we placed one pellet on our palm or on the giraffe’s tongue. I’m not sure which feeding method I preferred since the giraffes’ tongues were very slimey! But there was one Giraffe that made the slime worthwhile, Eddie. Unlike Daisy, who tried to head-butt me, Eddie accepted my love with open arms. I must say Eddie was very charming, he stole my heart.

Trip to Cucu’s (sho-sho)

I visited my “cucu’s” or grandma’s place in Kamahindu, Kenya. It was green, lush, and FULL of LIFE. Cucu couldn’t stop dancing once she saw us; she is amazing, and I feel very blessed to have spent time with her.

My grandma’s back yard is a valley filled with thousands of tea leaves. It was unforgettable scenery! While we were at the tea plantation, my Dad taught me how to pluck tea. The big idea is you pluck the stem, leaving two leaves and the bird. The bird is the budding of the next tea leaf at the top of the stem.

After the tea plantation, we visited land that my Dad and his siblings inherited. Despite the gloomy weather, my family and I trekked down the valley. To my surprise there was a large variety of vegetables such as Cabbage, Kale, and Potatoes. However, the most exciting thing was PURPLE TEA!

Btw my mom says I must tell you the nutritional value of purple tea: RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS.

Soon I will be sharing about my adventures at the Giraffe Center, and Mamba Village (which is home to many crocodiles).