Nursing school is an exception.
Since many people apply for every study program in this field (the number of applications often exceeds the number of open spots in a 10 to 1 ratio), and since right personality and attitude are crucial for every good nurse, many schools opt for admission interviews.
It is a reasonable choice, since a personal interview is the most effective way of understanding your personality, motivation, and attitude to work and life. It is a great way to see whether you apply becasue you really want to become a nurse, or you apply just becasue your parents want you to.
What will happen in your interview?
Try to show compassion, enthusiasm for the job, understanding of the role of a nurse. But you should also show them that you understand that it is not an easy subject to study, and are ready to work hard to achieve your goals.
Remember that your non-verbal communication–that means the emotions you show in this interview, is equally important as your interview answers.
Let’s have a look at some questions now.
Questions and how to answer them
Why did you choose the career of a nurse? First and foremost, you should know why. You should have a reason, and the reason should not be to pursue the dreams (or expectations) of your parents. You can say that you always felt for the sufferers, or that you had a good role model in your family (another nurse). You can also connect your answer to a specific position you want to have in the future, let’s say working for the Red Cross in Africa, or whatever you dream of….
- What motivates you to do this job? Job of a nurse is not an easy job. Refer to an inner calling you feel, a calling to help. Or perhaps your desire to improve healthcare in your country, the most you can do from a position of a nurse. The key is to show them that you have a strong motive, that you won’t falter quickly in job, that your motivation will help you to overcome difficult periods in your personal and professional life.
- Why did you choose our college? Here you have two options. The first one (the less favored, but more honest) is referring to the location of the school, or other reasons that make the study with them convenient for you. The better answer consists in praising them for something they do (perhaps their reputation, the excellent study programs they have in place, great campus life, or anything else that got your attention on their website).
- What are your core values? A tough question to answer, mostly becasue we often can not even tell what our values are–though each of us has some values, and acts accordingly… Love, hope, health, faith, empathy, compassion, movement–they will all resonate nicely with the members of the admission committee.
- Nursing job can be repetitive. What will motivate you to do it well every day? Everyone experiences crisis of motivation. You can either try to convince the interviewers that your desire to help and inner motivation is strong, and you won’t get tired of this job. Or you can go with a more honest answer, saying that each of us needs some occupation, and money to pay bills, and that for sure these things will push you to try hard, even if you struggle with motivation. You will still try your best, simply becasue you do not want to lose the job….
- Imagine a desperate patient who think that they will die soon. You are on a night shift and they are crying. What will you do to help them?
- What do you consider the most challenging aspect of nursing? The answer to this question is very personal. I knew nurses who got emotionally attached to patients, and suffered terribly when they did suffer, or when they died. But I also knew nurses who simply hated night shifts, and struggled to cope with the schedule of their job. And what do you consider the most challenging thing?
- If you shall name three key abilities of a great nurse, what would they be? Not an easy question. I would probably go with empathy, understanding for both physical and emotional needs of the patients, and good heart. But there are definitely few more abilities that can go to the list…
- We have quite a lot applicants for this nursing program. Why do you think we should choose you, and not some other applicants? Another tough nut to crack. Basically you have two options. One of them is listing your abilities and strengths that make from you a perfect applicant for a study program. Another one consists in humility, saying that you do not really know, that you have a strong desire to work as a nurse, but can’t tell whether you are better than the other applicants for the study program, since you have not met them in person…
- Do you have any role model in life? You can go with some famous nurse, such as Clara Barton, or Edith Cavell. You can also opt for one of the charity figures, such as Mother Teresa. Another alternative is to pick someone who’s close to you, someone who works in healthcare and does a good job every day (your father, your uncle, a good friend of you, etc).
- Do you have any personal experiences with nurses from the past? Can you tell us something about this experience?
- Where do you see yourself in ten years time? The last question is the easiest one. Tell them that you want to work as a nurse, and do a great job everyday. Feel free to add a specific position, or locality of job, if you follow such a dream….
Go through the questions, think about your answers, and try to learn how to win your interviewers over. If you would like to get some advanced help on the subject, consider hiring an interview coach, or have a look at our Interview Success Package (great answers to thirty most common interview questions, plus a guide on how to win the hearts of your interviewers).
Thank you, we wish you good luck! InterviewPenguin.com – Your best interview coach since 2011.