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Memorandum

To:

Kathryn Hughes

From: Laura Burns Comm 1010 Section 49


Date: 10/16/2015
Re:

Interview on 10/7/2015 with Debbe Lee Schuster, PhD., RN


debbe.schuster@slcc.edu Phone: 801-957-6251

I interviewed Debbe Lee Schuster, PhD., RN, Nursing Arts Lab Director at Salt
Lake Community College in order to gain insight into how the program could help me
on my path to a career in nursing. My goal was to learn the following; how to increase
my chance of acceptance into the program, what I would need to do to succeed as a
registered nurse, what my prospects for employment might be upon completing the
program and obtaining my license as an RN. The following is a summary of what I
learned about my chosen career and my interview skills.
How the Nursing Program at SLCC Will Advance My Career in Nursing
Having a CNA license is a prerequisite to acceptance to the nursing program at
SLCC. This will compel me to take the first step on the path to becoming an RN before I
even begin the nursing program. Once accepted to the program, I will have an
opportunity to apply for a license as an LPN after completing my first two semesters of
nursing. After becoming an RN I will be able to transfer to the University of Utah to

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complete my BSN. The way this program is structured, I will be able to work as a nurse
as I am completing my educational goals.
The Following Factors Determine Admittance to the Nursing Program at SLCC
I was surprised to learn that overall GPA was not the main consideration for
acceptance to the nursing program at SLCC. Dr. Schuster told me that they are far more
interested in how well Ive performed in my science classes. She also told me that they
consider my score on the HESI test to be a very good predictor for them to determine
whether or not Im ready to begin training as a nurse. The HESI exam is a test given by
Health Education Systems, Inc.
How to Succeed as a Registered Nurse
The best way for me to succeed as a nurse is to continually gain education in my
profession. Once Dr. Schuster passed her nursing exams, she continued to educate
herself, eventually completing a doctoral program in Arizona. She told me that I would be
able to work as a registered nurse with only an associate degree and license, but that
many of the health care organizations are requiring their RNs to attain a four-year degree
to remain employed with them. She told me that this is pushing a lot of older nurses to
simply retire earlier rather than go back to school. The climate has changed so that a fouryear degree is no longer an advantage. Its a requirement. This means I will need to set an
educational goal of obtaining at least a masters degree.
Prospects for Employment as a Registered Nurse

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There are many employment opportunities for me once I get my license as a


registered nurse. Many of those opportunities are not even in the nursing profession. For
example, there are a number of law firms, consulting firms, insurance companies and
even marketing organizations that hire registered nurses as consultants. There are also
many opportunities to go into a number of specialties, like gerontology, psychology,
nutrition or oncology.
Dr. Schuster very highly recommended hiring on with The Huntsman Cancer
Institute if I ever have the opportunity. She said that their training and support of their
health care providers is unparalleled in the industry. When I asked why she wasnt
working there, she told me that she is able to utilize all of her skills and be creative as the
director of the Nursing Arts Lab.
Its also possible to work extra shifts anytime I wanted to pick up a little extra
money, by working per diem through a registry. I like the idea of being able to have the
flexibility that working per diem would offer while I am school. The only draw back
would be a lack of benefits like health care insurance and retirement.
Analysis of Nursing as My Career Choice
The more I learn about the nursing profession, the more confident I am that I am
making a sound career choice. One of things I like about nursing is the ability to take a
valuable and fulfilling skill with me wherever I want to go. Most states are willing to
allow nurses to work for at least thirty days under the license of their home state while

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moving their license to a new state. Should I ever decide to roam, I will have the ability
to secure employment wherever I go.
More importantly, a career in nursing will give me the ability to do something I
love every day. That is exactly what I want. I believe I have found a career that will
enable me to earn a good living, be a life-long learner and enjoy doing something
worthwhile every day.
Analysis of My Interview Process
I felt very well prepared for my interview with Dr. Schuster. I had researched
nursing, the program at SLCC and Dr. Schuster. My questions were well prepared and I
took good notes. I had defined my goals and I knew what I wanted to learn from my
time with her. We met in the conference room of the nursing lab in order to minimize
distractions. I intentionally tried to create a plan to allow for more open-ended
questions.
I planned out my introduction and how I would build rapport. I asked Dr. Schuster
to tell me a little bit about her self and what made her choose nursing. What I did not
account for is how hard it is to steer an interviewee while remaining pleasant and
engaged when they go off topic or tangent. It was hard to wrestle control of the
interview back from her. It was a very pleasant exchange, but I felt like I was deferring
to my interviewee more than I would have liked. I truly enjoyed learning about her
background but I needed to redirect Dr. Schuster several times in order to obtain the
information I valued. That was tricky.

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While I struggled to control my interviewee, I excelled at building rapport,


listening actively and using secondary questions to probe for more information. I did a
good job of closing the interview. Toward the end of our time Dr. Schuster was
beginning to go off topic again. I gently reminded her that I had promised to only take
an half hour of her time and told her that I didnt want to take her away from her other
responsibilities. I thanked her for the opportunity to get to know her and learn from her
and told her that I was looking forward to working with her in the near future in her
nursing lab.
I found room for improvement in my interviewing skills in the following areas. I
will create a better balance of open-ended questions vs. closed-ended questions. I will
also be more assertive in interrupting so that I can redirect my interviewee when she
begins veer off topic or ramble. Though I will need to do this tactfully without giving
offense, I have found that it is necessary to hone this skill. Another thing that I will
implement in future interviews is dividing out blocks of time for specific topics. I can be
more aware that taking too long on one topic or tangent will cost me time in another
area I want to discuss.
I learned not only what the next step on my career path should be, I basically had
a road map for success from the first step through the next ten years given to me.
Overall, I feel that this was a very successful interview experience where I got out of my
comfort zone and walked away with valuable real-world knowledge and experience that
will actually help me in my personal life and career.

December 11, 2015