Becoming a nurse is the culmination of a lot of hard work, study and commitment. It’s also the start of a career dedicated to helping others.
However, before you get to roll up your sleeves and get down to the work of caring for your patients, you need to get a job.
The good news is 94% of nursing graduates get a nursing job within the first 6 months of graduating. In other words, nurses are in high demand.
To apply for a nursing job, you will need to have completed your training and be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
From your training you should also have good idea of the kind of nurse or the area of medicine you would like to work in. Be that child nursing, adult nursing, mental health, or disabilities.
But applying for a job is one thing, getting it is quite another. Preparing for that crucial, career launching interview is essential. Especially when you have worked so hard to get this far.
Below are some of the most common questions you can expect to get asked:
Why do you want this job?
It’s a common question that most hiring managers will ask in almost any industry. Despite this so many people fail to adequately answer the question. Especially as most people’s first thought is ‘so I get paid’.
When answering this question, you need to strike the balance between answering the question fully and being concise. A long meandering answer will only cause the hiring manager to lose interest.
You answer should cover what motivated you to become a nurse, why the role excites you and why you are a good fit. You also need to try to communicate your passion and excitement for your new career.
It’s up to you if you want to mention why you chose to specialise in the field you did. It quite often comes up as a separate question. Either way, ensure you communicate what motivated you to study that area of nursing. And how your skill set perfectly matches the role.
What is your proudest Nursing achievement?
This is a tricky one as a newly qualified nurse. However, there will likely be something from your training that has made you proud.
Reflect on your experiences and note down a couple of examples. Keep the anecdotes short, sweet and to the point. First and foremost, it needs to communicate why that made you proud. It also needs to say something about your love of the job.
Have you ever had to deal with a mistake?
Again, this can be difficult as your experience is limited. However, it’s likely that you will have made a mistake during your training. Although hopefully nothing to serious or career defining.
This question is less about the mistake and more about how you handled it. Nursing can be a stressful job and the hiring manager needs to know you can cut it when things go wrong.
Give the mistake some context but be brief. Talk about what you learned, what you would do differently, and how you worked with others to rectify the situation.
Your hiring manager doesn’t expect you to be perfect, they are looking for someone who – when they make a mistake – is capable of admitting it, learning from it and ideally, not repeating it.
How do you deal with sensitive or confidentiality issues?
This can encapsulate a huge number of things ranging from patient dignity to patient confidentiality. So, your anecdotes could range from how you supported a patient who had soiled themselves, through to an unsolicited request for information over the phone.
But again, it’s about understanding the difference and what to do when those situations arise.
How have you dealt with conflict in the past?
This is another question that requires a specific example from your limited experience as a nurse.
If you’ve not experienced anything as a nurse, then draw on an example from past experience. The context doesn’t matter as much as your ability to demonstrate conflict resolution strategies. Also, that you’re calm under pressure and that you recognise the signs of when you need to deescalate a situation.
What makes a good shift?
This question is a little more nuanced than you might think and is much more about honesty than anything.
Your hiring manager will already know that nursing can be challenging, so while they want to hear about you doing your job well, there’s more to it than this.
They also want to hear about what a good shift would look like for you as an individual. There is no right or wrong answer as they want to understand the kind of environment/ward/department would be a good fit for you.
If you want your career to resemble a hospital drama, then say so. If you want something a little more balanced so you get your breaks and you’re not totally strung out by the end of the shift, that’s okay too. The NHS puts a lot of focus on work-life balance so be honest about what you want.
What do equality and diversity mean to you?
Equality and diversity are important issues, especially in healthcare. The dignity of patients, their religious and spiritual beliefs as well as sexuality and gender identify all have to be considered and respected.
The hiring manager will want to make sure you understand what these crucial terms means and how they play a part in your role as a nurse.
Also be prepared for…
While the above are the main questions you’ll be asked, there are a couple that can crop up along the way.
The first will be asking you to explain the concept of one of the six ‘Cs of Nursing’. Compassion is a popular one however, as long as you know them all then you can’t get caught short.
You may also get asked your view on the challenges facing the UK health sector at the moment. This isn’t an opportunity to rant about the government. Instead you should see it as an opportunity to demonstrate how seriously you take your job as a nurse.
If you’re committed, you will have a good understanding of the issues surrounding NHS funding and other problems. Do your research – don’t just skim your news feed. You may be asked follow-up questions so don’t get caught out.
If you’re reading this while contemplating a career in nursing, we can help! Stonebridge Associated Colleges are a leading UK provider of online learning courses.
Click the link below to view our Access to Higher Education Diploma (Nursing) online course and enrol. Alternatively, get in touch with a member of the sales team.
For helpful study tips and to learn more about distance learning, check out our blog.