You're an alternate- Pt. 1

I was sitting in my living room one morning when I got a call telling me that I'd gotten an interview for a spot in the Children's Hospital Colorado Nurse Residency program. I sat there slightly stunned. I had debated not even applying for the program, and now I had an interview. "Well," I thought, "I can go with it I suppose".

I spent hours making my nursing portfolio, hunted down some professional clothes, and prepared as many interview questions I could find on the miraculous invention of Google.

This interview was composed of 2 panel interviews (3-4 people sitting on each), and then a written test. My handsome husband (then fiance) man dropped me off, and two hours later I emerged thinking to myself, "Well I'm glad that's over with. I better start looking for some other jobs."

Let me highlight a few prime examples of WHY I figured I had botched the interview.

Example #1

One interviewer asked me "Sarah, tell me about a time you have failed."
Now the best answer would have been something clinically related that I could have beautifully crafted into a story that explained how I'd failed, but in the end learned and succeeded. Instead, all I could think of was:

"Well, uh, this past March my fiance got into the church choir and I didn't."

Well there was a fantastic answer. My 2 million mistakes in nursing school, and all I could think of was the church choir?! I rambled on and on, and somehow transitioned my church choir story to one about how I accidentally gave a patient a medication that my nurse had already given her.

Not only was the story about double dosing my patient something that never actually happened to me, I'm sure the transition from church choir to medications was just beautiful.

Example #2

They asked about a time I had had a conflict with a colleague and what I did to resolve the conflict. Oh good, I had a GREAT answer prepared. But once again, all that came out was:

"Well, uh, this girl didn't help in our group project, and we felt that it wasn't fair, so we reported her to our clinical instructor."

I'm sure I expanded on it a little bit more, but the above statement is something most 5-year olds say on a daily basis ("That's not fair! I'm telling!) Once again, perfect answer gone wrong.

Example #3

The written test... Oh the written test.

Ten questions that I had absolutely no idea on. I used every single inch of space to write... mostly trying to cover up the fact that I had NO.IDEA. on most of the answers.

Most of the questions I answered, "I would go and look it up and report back to the family." If I had put that on an exam in nursing school, I wouldn't have passed nursing school.

I drove away from the hospital fully expectant that I would receive a "Thank you for applying but unfortunately..." email in a couple of weeks.

I jetted off to Haiti the very next day (another story to come!), spent 10 days on a medical mission trip down there, and came back to find an email in my inbox that said:

"Dear Sarah. You have been chosen as an alternate for the position at Children's Hospital Colorado. We will notify you of your status before July 31st."

I was an alternate... well, now what?

Click here to find out how the story ends!

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