Be prepared for these nursing interview questions

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Because so many students apply to study nursing – many of them with the same great A Level grades – your interview can be the deciding factor in your university application. If you present yourself well, show your knowledge, and be positive about the course, you can greatly improve your chances of success. So how do you prepare for such an important task?

One major way is by preparing for the nursing interview questions you are probably going to be asked. Nobody expects you to have scripted answers (in fact, that probably comes across much worse), but being ready to put across your thoughts clearly and coherently will be very important.

To help you along the way, here are a few of the nursing interview questions you’re likely to come up against.

“Why do you want to become a nurse?”

Your answer to this may well have featured in your personal statement, but this is a very typical interview question which allows you to outline your motivation behind studying nursing. Before you are sitting in the tense environment of an interview, take a moment to consider exactly why you want to do this course. Have you or your family experienced fantastic treatment by a nurse in your lifetime? What qualities of a good nurse do you feel also apply to you? Whatever your reasoning is, be honest and positive about your approach to the role.

“What is the role of a nurse?”

It’s unlikely that you would have applied for a nursing course without knowing the answer to this, but in a stressful situation it’s very easy to be stumped by a simple question. When you’re answering, remember to include as many responsibilities of a nurse you can think of – including the less glamorous ones – to show that you have a full understanding of the job. Students who give the impression that nursing is all about polite, happy patients and quiet nights are far less likely to be offered a place on the course (and far less likely to enjoy it anyway!).  

“What is your opinion on…?”

Medical professionals regularly have to make ethical decisions, so there is every possibility you would be asked your opinion on a topic such as abortion or euthanasia during your interview. If faced with an ethical question like this, the most important thing is not actually what your personal view is (within reason), but that you approach the topic in a sensible and balanced way. Nurses regularly need to decide the best course of treatment based on the needs of the patient and their family, and not their own preference, so tutors are mostly interested in your willingness to do this.

“What would you do if…?”

Your interview panel may ask what you would do in a certain situation, such as the following:

  • What if two patients were fighting over bedside space?
  • What if a patient became verbally or physically aggressive?
  • What would you do if someone asked to make a formal complaint?
  • How would you handle telling a patient’s family that their loved one had died?

It’s important not to feel flustered by this question – remember, you’re not expected to have any theoretical nursing knowledge yet. Instead, make sure you come across as a calm and measured person who puts patient safety first in all situations. The rest can be learnt along the way.

“Do you have any questions for us?”

There’s a lot of speculation around this question, which tends to mark the end of your interview. Some say that you must have something to ask, while others believe it’s worse to say something frivolous than nothing at all (and we agree).

However, this is a really great opportunity to speak to someone face-to-face and put to bed any little concerns you have about the course – this could be the last time you visit the university before you make your final choice, so use the time wisely!

When Your Interview Is Over

Once all is said and done, don’t stress over any mistakes you feel you made or any times you stuttered and stalled. Chances are, your panel will discuss the many strengths in your interview and forget any difficult moments. If the conversation flowed well and you answered to the best of your ability, we’re sure you’ll be receiving good news very soon.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.

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