Sunday, March 9, 2008

March '08: It's On.

After spending the last 6 months wondering, applying, grasping at information from various blogs and friends and attempting to read the minds of the admissions committee, I got the letter I wanted "We are pleased to inform you..."

(Happy Dance ensues)

The multitude of blogs about UCSF's MEPN program inspired me to write my own, after all, I do have a degree in Literature. So, it's March, and before I forget things, I thought I might write down the experiences I had in getting to hold the little acceptance letter in my hand.

First of all, I have to admit, I applied (well, re-applied) to this program at the last minute. I had applied two years ago for the FNP specialty, and after working in a clinic 8-5 (which really means 8-6:30, and those of you who work at clinics understand this concept), I decided that FNP was NOT what I wanted: hence, the initial rejection was a blessing in disguise. I spent the past two years applying for UC Davis' PA-C program, but really wanted to do an NP, just not work in a clinic.
I was bemoaning this fact one day, and my friend Jen, an ER nurse, tells me how she's going to apply for the ACNP specialty at UCSF. "What?? That's a specialty??" Light bulbs go off, and I realize that my ultimate goal of working in an ER or ICU as a healthcare practitioner can be accomplished.
I head back to my clinic with my new-found knowledge. The FNPs I work with absolutely glow when I tell them of my plan, "Yes, that's PERFECT for you. You have to become an ACNP, you'd love it!"
I learn more about the delineation between nursing philosophy and PA philosophy, and decide, yep, it's for me.
Except at that point I think it was September 10th. The UCSF app is due Oct 1, including GRE scores. And my original scores have expired.
Somehow, I got all of the application material in, and power-studied for the GRE.*

The waiting began. November passes by, December rolls around. On my 30th birthday, Dec 22nd, a Saturday, my friends and I are hanging out at my house in Sac, drinking champagne and having a generally good time.
My mom calls. "We are pleased to inform you that you have been offered an interview..."
Cheering ensues. Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.

Interview day occurs. The applicants who receive interviews are divided into two groups: one group interviewed Jan 18th, one group Jan 25th, and as far as I can tell, it has nothing to do with how *likely* you are to be accepted (I interviewed in the second group). The day is long, but really fun. Go to the meet-and-greet the night before if you can; it helps you to recognize other students and makes the day a bit more comfortable.
I ran into a good friend from my post-bac program at Mills that day, which was a wonderful surprise, and made me feel that much better.
You will have two interviews. Some had them the same day. Some had them different days at varying locations. Don't stress about this fact. The interviews are in the morning, between 9a-noon, so you get it done. Drink your coffee. Relax. You will do an amazing breathing exercise. The faculty are there to assess your academic preparedness, and to see if you have a personality. It was really, really fun. Remember, you are there to interview them as much as they are interviewing you.

My second interview was off-site, later in the week. I took the entire day off, and before the interview I got a croissant at Tartine, the best french bakery in SF. It's on 17th and Guerrero. I don't eat croissants, but I do from here. Yum.

After the interview comes the two months of distracting yourself. Don't obsess over what you might have said. I felt like I said a few things I shouldn't have, wondered if I could have asked more questions, but overall, I was polite and real.
Things that are good to know:
1) Why nursing? If you can't answer this question, then I have to wonder why you're applying.
2) Know yourself and your personality. Answer honestly.
3) I found it helpful to know the nursing philosophy (it's why I'm applying to this rather than going through medical school). What makes a good nurse, not just a nurse, but a *good* nurse.

And, yes, the acceptance letters are THIN.

Now comes the housing hunt. Although school starts in late June, I want to be able to move and settle in before school overwhelms me. Plus, if the move is done, I can still be a river guide during the high water. And I can take time to explore San Francisco.

Hope that's helpful. The housing is really overwhelming. I've looked at a lot of places and they are expensive. Brace yourselves for the price. My boyfriend and I are looking together, so that makes things a little easier. We're also planning for the influx of friends who will be hanging out at our house...

And so it begins.

*Note for those afraid of the GRE: it's not that bad. I used the Kaplan book and CD-rom, an entire $40 spent, and I scored very well.

1 comment:

nurse said...

Hi nikibeanster, I was happy to get your message and see your first entry. What an adventure! let's keep reading and writing... a tip for getting your blog to show up easily on google: try to get people to link to your blog and vice versa as much as possible (i linked to yours). we need more voices to be heard, about both mepn and nursing. nurseSF