How to ace the five difficult nursing interview questions?

Jun 09, 2015

The key is of course preparation. The more one knows and understands the role, the more confident they become. A nursing career is challenging, multi-faceted and rewarding at the same time. In fact, the total number of nurses in 2011 around the world was 19.3 million according to World Health Statics Report. Different areas of work includes child nursing, adult, learning disability, midwifery, mental health, occupational therapy and more.
An individual choosing nursing as a career is required to have excellent people skills, keen observation, communication and most importantly compassion, care, patience and commitment. So, how to prepare for the interview? And what matters in the interview? First impressions are vital; Make an effort to impress with positive body language, appropriate clothing and a well written CV. Always research your employer this will let the prospective employer know you are a professional and capable person. And comes the most common question, how to answer tricky and difficult questions? We picked five such questions to help you with your interview.

1. What’s your greatest weakness?

The worst answer one can give to this question is “I don’t have any weakness”. The employer is trying to figure out if your weakness will make it hard for you to do a good job. They are also interested in how you handle a tough question like this one.

So describe how you have already made improvements and how you feel the period of mentorship offered by the new role will further develop your confidence. This way, you show self-awareness and turn a negative into a positive.’

For example: “In the past I had tendency to take too much at a time in a delusion of multi-tasking, but now I learned to prioritize and do a better time management. I now spend ten minutes at the start of each shift planning and prioritizing tasks. I’ve also learnt how to delegate and feel much more confident supervising health care assistants.”

2. Why do you want to become a nurse?

The easiest question any candidate can be asked, the key to answer is being honest. Though is a selling point it is important for the candidate to be true to themselves as to why they want to pursue a nursing career. Ask yourself why you want to become a nurse, you will get few thoughts. If you are a junior nurse, talk to few professionals to know more about the work environment, work culture and shifts. This will help you have an idea of the job and match them with your own personal strengths.

You can always answer “I wanted to be nurse ever since childhood. I love helping and caring for others. But it is a common answer every other candidate must have given. Try to match up your strengths with challenges the job brings while answering. You will definitely make a mark on interviewer’s mind.

3. Name a national initiative in nursing/health care that you feel passionate about.

Nobody expects you to know every initiative in the history. But, it is always good to research to know one or two such as the NMC’s revalidation project. After all, the information is easily available online. Familiarize yourself with how your values and behaviors fit with the organizational values.
Also, you should feel comfortable talking about the Chief Nursing Officer’s 6Cs initiative (care, compassion, courage, communication, commitment and competence) and be prepared to give examples of how you put these into practice.

4. What do you understand by the term ‘diversity at work’?

This question can be a bit tricky. What the employer is looking here for is your people skills. How comfortable you are working with people of all ages and backgrounds and how you are able adapt and handle stress under different environments.

Don’t think while answering this question instead you may talk about all those stories about a time that you witnessed or demonstrated diversity awareness on the wards. Or, if relevant, you could talk about how your own background, upbringing and culture may affect your interactions with those who are different to you.

5. Name a work situation where you made a mistake or things didn’t go to plan.

When an interviewer asks about a work situation that didn’t go well, they are looking for a candidate to demonstrate three things: 1) self-awareness, 2) an ability to learn and improve, and 3) an indication of their communication style/team work and attitude.

The importance with these kinds of questions is to focus on the positive. Take an example from your current or a previous role, and focus on what you learnt from the experience and how you would do things differently now.
If you need any further guidance on interviews get in touch – info@we-solutions.co.uk

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