Some of the most common interview question for a nurse include:
- Why did you decide to become a nurse?
- How do you manage your workload and prioritise tasks?
- What sort of feedback would I get from patients if I asked them about you?
- If a work colleague did something wrong or unsafe, what would you do?
- What made you specialise in your chosen branch of nursing?
- What are your main strengths and what do you enjoy doing within nursing?
If the word interview has you break out in a cold sweat then fear not: we have consulted the experts in our specialist nursing recruitment team to provide top tips when it comes to interviews for nursing roles.
Below are 10 interview questions and answers scenarios with tips on how best to answer them.
Top nursing interview questions.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
Now’s the time to share what attracted you to nursing. Try and relate it back to what you are passionate about - is it helping others? Is it empowering individuals so they can help themselves? Or is it the variety of scenarios you get presented with on a day-to-day basis?
How do you manage your workload and prioritise tasks?
With rising pressures in healthcare it is important for employers to be able to see that you will be an efficient member of their team and this question will help them to do that. Make sure you refer to real life examples.
What achievement are you proudest of in your career to date?
Employers are always keen to find someone who is not only good at their job but can also demonstrate the soft skills required for the role in question.
The best responses to this question will talk about moments that you went above and beyond your role to ensure a patient’s safety or to help provide effective care. Compassion and kindness are two soft skills that are on the checklist for every employer looking to fill a nursing vacancy.
What sort of feedback would I get from patients if I asked them about you?
In nursing, providing support and care for patients at a difficult time in their lives is key and how you are perceived by your patients determines the kind of nurse you are.
With this type of question try to relate to a specific patient or example of care you have provided and how this made your patient feel and the difference this made to their life.
If a work colleague did something wrong or unsafe, what would you do?
When practising as a nurse you are governed under the NMC’s code to work cooperatively with colleagues in order to provide the best possible care for a patient.
As well as sharing best practice this also means challenging colleagues or reporting to a senior member of staff if you witness a colleague doing something unethical or not in the best interest of a patient.
The interviewer would be looking for you to demonstrate that you are trustworthy and always able to act in a patient's best interest even in personally uncomfortable situations.
How do you propose to continue and manage your PREP in line with revalidation?
In order to renew professional registration with the NMC it is required that you submit the relevant revalidation documents. Whilst your employer will support with this, there is an onus on you as a practitioner to produce written reflections, have reflective discussions and ensure your revalidation is verified by a confirmer.
In order to demonstrate that you are legally able to practice an interviewer would be looking for you to show that you have taken the necessary steps and recording tools to revalidate.
What made you specialise in your chosen branch of nursing?
Job satisfaction and feeling a sense of achievement in your role is key in order for you to provide the best level of support and care to your patients.
The interviewer would be looking for you to demonstrate your passion for your client group and why this area interests you especially if you are interviewing for a post within the same/similar branch of nursing.
Providing examples and specifics makes this become more relatable to the interviewer and adds substance to your answer.
What client group are you now looking to work with and why?
How you answer this question will be dependant on whether you are interviewing for a post similar to your previous roles or whether you are looking to branch in to a new avenue within nursing.
If you are interviewing for a similar post, draw on past experiences where you have worked with a particular group of patients and how you supported them.
If you are looking to work with a new patient group discuss why this area is of interest to you and how you can use your previous work experience to transfer existing skills.
What are your main strengths and what do you enjoy doing within nursing?
When answering this type of question make sure you pick specific strengths that can be applied to the role you are interviewing for giving specific examples of how you have utilised the strength previously.
Job satisfaction is key to staff retention and you providing the best level of care to patients and demonstrating this to an interviewer is crucial for you to convey you are someone they should invest in you and make that hire!
What are your main weaknesses and what have you done to overcome them?
Personal reflection and learning from past experiences and mistakes is fundamental for you to become the best possible practitioner.
Don’t be afraid of discussing real life weaknesses/ mistakes that you have previously made in your career, no one is perfect and you having the insight to realise this is the only way you can improve!
This type of interview question is really popular for this reason, not to identify what you are bad at but for you to demonstrate that you are continuously learning and evolving within your role and specialism within nursing.
Don’t forget to ask your own questions too
Prepare several of your own questions and have them to hand to ask after your interview. This will suggest that you are interested in the role you are interviewing for and keen to find out more.
However, don’t ask any questions that have already been covered during the the interview! Examples of questions could be:
How would you describe the culture of the ward?
What are the goals of this team for this year?
What does success look like in this role?
As well as preparing for potential questions, there are other ways you can ensure you prepare for your interview to enhance your shot at success.
Research is key - ensure you have researched the organisation and have thoroughly read the job and person specification to understand how your current skills set and experience fit in.
If you would like further advice on interview tips for nursing roles, please get in touch with one of our nursing recruitment specialists by clicking here.