Whether you interview for your first nursing job as a new grad, or for a place at a nursing school, in nine out of ten cases they will ask you to tell them something about yourself. And while some people consider the question an easy one–an icebreaker, I do not agree with them. It is typically the first question, and it will set the tone for the rest of an interview. As they rightly say–you make the first impression only once.
It doesn’t mean that you won’t get the hired if you say something wrong while introducing yourself in an interview, or on a job application, or if you stutter at the start of your interview. Everyone can experience some nerves, and one bad answer won’t ruin your chances to succeed in this interview. But a good answer to tell me about yourself question can definitely help you improve your chances, and make things easier for the rest of your nursing interview.
Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question. I tried to include on my list answers for fresh graduates, experienced nurses, but also for students who just try to get a place at their favorite nursing school. Simply answers for different scenarios you can face in your nursing interview. Once you read the answers, do not forget to check also my notes below, for additional hints and explanations.
7 sample answers to “Tell me about yourself” question in a nursing interview
- My name is Marry, I’m from Bristol, and I’ve always wanted to work in healthcare. Following the role model I had in my mother, I decided to pursue a career in nursing, and did what I could to arrive at this point, when I am finally a registered nurse and can apply for a job with your amazing clinic. If I should characterize myself, I’d say that I am responsible, compassionate, and detail oriented, though sometimes impatient and too hard on myself. In my free time I enjoy going for a walk with a dog or for a hike in the hills nearby. I also love Italian cuisine. Would you like me to elaborate more on my education, or on anything else?
- Well, where to start? My name is Mark, and I’ve been working as a pediatric nurse for past three years. I’ve really enjoyed my time with the children, and believe that I’ve learned how to work with this particular demographic group, and address the main challenges child nursing presents. But I also came to a conclusion that I would prefer hospital setting to ambulant care, and decided to submit my job application with your children’s hospital. Just like anyone else, I have my strengths and weaknesses, better and worse days. But I keep learning and always try my best for every child, regardless of how I feel on the given day. And I am a real bookworm, often spending long evenings reading true crime stories or biographies of successful people. That makes for a short introduction, please feel free to ask about any details.
- I’m Sara, 24 at the moment, finally trying to realize my dream of becoming a nurse, applying for a place at your nursing school. I have always been a responsible student, earning an average GPA of 3.4, because I knew that good grades were essential if I wanted to get to one of the best nursing schools in the country. Other than that I am just a normal woman, with passion for nursing & movement, fighting my daily battles, trying to find my place in life. I currently live with my partner Carlos, a med school student. I think that I have found quite a good balance in life, with just one part of the puzzle missing–the coveted place in your study program.
- What probably strikes you is my age, considering this is my very first application for any job in nursing. So let me tell you my personal story, in short. I’ve started as a banker, wanting to earn big, and enjoy luxurious lifestyle. And I did earn well, and could afford nice things. But the more I bought, the bigger void I felt inside. What’s more, we were working impossible hours, sometimes up to 90 hours a week, and it really drained me, both physically and emotionally. I decided to change my career, and for once actually do something good for others, instead of just trying to earn more money, on an expense of someone else. I managed to graduate from nursing school, earn my certification, and now I sit here in front of you, looking for a new chapter, for a job with a meaningful purpose. That’s my story in short, and I am ready to answer any additional questions you may have.
- I would characterize myself as a dreamer. It may sound silly considering what we are witnessing right now in the world, but I still dream of having an impact, changing something to better in the world, and leaving my mark. If not in the history of the world, then at least in a personal history of every patient I treat as a nurse. Before any of it can happen, however, I have to earn my nursing degree, and that’s the reason why I sit in front of you today. It is an important milestone on my journey. When it comes to free time, I just enjoy spending quality time with family and friends, and working on my language skills. Currently I am trying to learn Spanish and French. And if I should pick my greatest strength, I would definitely pick dedication. If I make up my mind about reaching a goal, I won’t give up…
- I’m James, 31, and up to this point I’ve worked as a certified nursing assistant in a nursing home. Though I liked my job somehow, and tried my best, I have progressively come to a realization that elderly people aren’t really the most fitting demographic group for me. I would love to work in a school environment, with young people, and that’s why I decided to apply for a position of a school nurse with you. It is easy for me to communicate with young people, to gain their trust, and overall it’s a better match to my personality. In my free time I enjoy playing soccer, and going out with friends. Is there anything else you would like to know about me at this point of an interview?
- I’m Emily, 23, and I dream of working as a mental health nurse. We have a prevalence of mental health disorders in my family, and I understand better than anyone else what a difference a good nursing care, or a bad one, can make in a life of someone suffering from mental health issues. What’s more, I realize that more people than ever struggle with their mental health, and we need more nurses specializing in the field. That’s why I am here with you today, trying to get a chance to study at your school, earn my degree, specialize in mental health nursing, and make a positive difference in lives of others. I am mentally resilient, highly organized when it comes to studying or work, and I enjoy company of like-minded people, and cannot wait to meet fellow nursing students…
Combine professional and personal life in your answer
Some people say that you should stay strictly work-relevant in your answer to “tell me about yourself” question. In a nursing interview, or in any other one. But I do not agree with them. Hiring managers (or admission committee members, if you apply for a place at a nursing school) want to know you as a nurse, but they also want to know you as a person.
What is more, sharing something from your personal life with them shows right from the start that you want to talk in an open and genuine manner in an interview. It can only help with your chances. In the best case scenario, you should say something about your work and studies, but also share one or two hobbies and personal characteristics with the interviewers. Check the sample answers again for a good illustration of how to do that.
Special Tip: We have a popular eBook online for future pediatric nurses. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your interview answers, and get ready for every question they may possibly throw at you, you can check it out here: Pediatric Nurse Interview Guide eBook. Thank you!
If something may look strange, address it right at the start of your interview while introducing yourself
Life isn’t black and white, and each of us has their own journey. Someone happens to apply for their first nursing job when they are twenty two, but someone else may be fifty five years old when applying. Someone even decides to leave their well-paid job and apply for a position with much worse compensation, simply because they do not see meaningful purpose in their work any longer.
These things happen, but they may still leave the hiring managers puzzled. That’s why it is good to explain them to the hiring managers right at the start of your nursing interview–when answering the “introduce yourself” question. Employment gap, leaving a better paid job to become a nurse, changing your career completely, graduating from nursing school later in your life, and so on. Share your story with the hiring managers, explain any uncharacteristic things on your resume or application, and make sure that they do not misinterpret anything….
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! But it isn’t the only tricky question you may face in your nursing interview! Check also sample answers to the following questions:
- Why do you want to be a nurse?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses as a nurse?
- Nursing interview – Why should we hire you?
- What does nursing mean to you?