Whilst it is true that getting called to a registered general nurse job interview is exciting, it is equally true that being faced with a panel of interviewers is an intimidating prospect for most people.  This article is designed to help set those fears to rest by providing simple, straightforward advice on how to make the interview a success.

The most important thing with any interview is not what is done inside that little room but what is done beforehand. Reading up on the prospective employer, getting up to date on industry news and going back over the original application are all good preparation methods. It’s best not to stay up working on this the night before, though—being well-rested counts for a lot. As well as being smartly dressed and well-groomed. A candidate needs to be fresh, alert and ready to engage in order to stand a good chance of success.

Interview questions for registered general nurse jobs.

An RGN, or registered general nurse, is a healthcare professional that has completed a three-year training course and holds a registration with the Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting.

In RGN jobs, being a good communicator, being warm and approachable and displaying a positive attitude are all important – so make sure that all these qualities come through clearly at interview. RGN interviews often focus heavily on personal qualities, how those relate to specific skills, and how those skills relate to the particular job on offer.

Candidates are likely to be asked about how they apply their skills in work with different kinds of patients, such as those who have physical disabilities or who are confused. They can also expect to be asked how they relate to other members of staff in a hospital context, when they are likely to delegate a task and under what circumstances they will seek help from a supervisor or another type of medical professional.

Because the organisation is such an important aspect of doing an RGN job well, candidates can expect to be asked about how they manage their schedules and deal with unexpected extra tasks. Questions about prioritising in difficult situations are common, as are ethical questions to which there may be no clear answer—the important thing in those cases is to show a clear understanding of the issues.

Another key attribute is the ability to work alongside other members of the multi-disciplinary team – doctors, healthcare support workers etc. – to provide the highest quality of care for patients. Needless to say, a commitment to teamwork should really shine through at interview.

RGN interview questions.

  • What training and educational route did you use to begin your career and how did it shape the person you are today?
    Take the opportunity to explain the reasons for your career choice.  Use the details of your CV to shape a say why you decided to attend a particular school or university and to describe the experiences that you had during your education. Be honest in giving an appraisal of how you feel your education has helped you to develop.
  • Do you see yourself as a team player or as better suited to working on your own initiative?
    Use the opportunity to give examples of how you have managed in both these situations. Choose one example that you feel shows your strengths in a particularly favourable light.
  • How do you set out your work plan at the beginning of the day?
    Be concrete and practical in approaching this question. Take the opportunity to demonstrate what you feel are some of your positive qualities, and use real-life examples in your answer, so that the interviewers can see that your answer comes from practice, not just theory.  It is a good idea to prepare an answer to this question before the interview.
  • How do you approach communicating bad news to a patient or a patient’s family? 
    The interviewer is looking for information on how you deal with tricky interpersonal situations.  If possible, use an actual experience, and illustrate your answer in a tangible manner.

Scenario-based questions.

  • How would you deal with a patient who didn’t want to receive prescribed treatment?
    Think of a practical example of this sort of situation, then describe it and base a response on the example.  Highlight your skills in interpersonal communication, persuasiveness, empathy, and problem-solving.
  • What would you do if you thought someone else in your medical team was making frequent mistakes?
    Come up with a realistic scenario and ask yourself how you might know this and what the best way forward would be.  Draw on your educational or work experience to illustrate your answer.  Use the answer to demonstrate your skills in situation analysis and communication.
  • You are concerned that there is a safeguarding issue in your ward. How do you approach dealing with it and who do you inform?
    Ethical considerations can form a significant part of practical work in nursing.  Use your own experience from the workplace to illustrate an answer.  If this is not possible, draw on your educational experience to describe what you feel is a practical and ethical approach in this situation.  The question may follow this structure but be different in the detail, so similar questions can be answered showing similar considerations.
  • It's evident from ward meetings that there are fundamental disagreements between senior nursing staff and doctors about a patient's care plan. How would you approach dealing with this situation and who would you go to with any concerns?
    The interviewer is asking how you would cope with a tricky professional conflict.  Put yourself into a particular role in this situation, drawing on the job description for the position for which you are being interviewed.  Approaching the question from that perspective, give a step-by-step description of a response, highlighting positive attributes such as conflict resolution skills and teamwork. 

General interview questions.

  • What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses?
    This is a common question that it is worth considering before the interview.  Think of situations in which you have demonstrated particular strengths or overcome particular weaknesses.  Speak about these incidents positively, demonstrating self-awareness and an ability to learn and develop.
  • Why did you decide to leave your last position?
    Be positive about your previous employer and focus, instead, on the opportunities that you consider are possible within the new position.  Remember to remain focused and positive when discussing the new role.
  • What makes this particular position appealing to you?
    knowledge of the job description for the new role is important, so review this before the interview, along with details about the employer.  Use this information to craft a positive reply based on your personal strengths and ambitions.
  • How do you keep up with new developments in your profession?
    There are many potential channels for staying up to date, including journals, conferences, and forums.  Choose one or two examples of how you have used these in real life, and describe what you have gained from them.
  • What matters most to you about the work you do?
    Once more, you can use this opportunity to lead from a general perspective into practical examples of what you have done and how this has been of benefit.  Work on describing such situations and achievements ahead of the interview, so that you are prepared to discuss them.  The staff at Randstad can give further advice on interview preparation.