Last updated on August 24th, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Nursing is a job with a meaningful purpose. Providing health and medical care to children and seeing them turning into young adults, with their ideals and dreams, can hardly be beaten.

But what about your own dream, your wish (or desire) to become a pediatric nurse? It won’t be easy to attain it. You will typically compete with many other applicants in your nursing interview, and you will have to demonstrate both your readiness for the job, and right attitude to work and life.

In this article I will analyze some questions they may ask you in an interview, and I will try to give you some advice on how to answer them. Let’s start.

 

Can you tell us something about yourself?

Try to talk not only about your education and clinical experience, but also about your character, attitudes, and dreams. Nursing is more than just administering vaccinations and measuring temperature. But you surely know that…

Say them how much you like to work with children, that you enjoy being around them, and that you dream of making some difference in life of your patients, or in your local community.

Nurses spend a lot of time with doctors, and the two should have something in common, some topics to discuss. That’s why you can mention a few things from your personal life as well–your hobbies, activities you enjoy doing. They should sense that you have some life outside of work as well…

 

Why pediatric nursing?

A common answer (and certainly a decent one) is saying that you love children, that you enjoy being around them.

But you can surprise your interviewers with even a better reply. For example, you can say that the early years of life are the most important for each man and woman. We develop our formulas of thinking during our early years, we build our immunity, we overcome certain diseases and illnesses.

When we forget genetics for a moment, we can say that our childhood determines (at least to a great extend) how healthy we’ll be for the rest of our lives, both physically and emotionally.

And that’s exactly why you want to work with children. You see the positive impact you can have in your job.

healthy child is playing with a whistle

Why do you want to work in our clinic/hospital?

Try to convince them that it was a sensible choice, that you didn’t apply with ten other healthcare institutions (even if you did). You can refer to their reputation, references you got from someone, or anything else that makes their place special in your eyes.

The key is to praise them for something. It can be modern equipment, attitude to children, excellent customer service, anything.

However, if you apply for a pediatric nurse job in a place that can hardly be praised for anything, you can refer to more prosaic reasons of your choice. You chose them because the place is nearby your house, or in a city where you always wanted to live.

There’s nothing wrong with applying for a nursing job in places that do not have the best reputation in the eyes of the patients or local community. You can come in, improve the atmosphere, and make the place better.

 

Describe the most difficult or stressful situation you encountered during your clinical experience.

Pediatric nursing is no walk in the park. Children are not adults, and many times they may not cooperate. They may break things in your practice, cry, be aggressive, tell you bad words, and so on.

Do not take me wrong though. This is a great job, you just can’t wear pink glasses when talking about it in your interview. You have to convince them that you see both sides of the coin--both good and bad things.

Try to narrate a situation with a positive outcome. Or at least one that didn’t end up in a disaster :). The most important thing is to ensure the interviewers that you did not panic, that you at least tried to stay calm, and focused on the solution of the problem.

This question is also your opportunity to show certain level of empathy. Surely, some child misbehaved during your clinical practice. But they are children, you have understanding for their feelings, emotions and fears. And that’s exactly why the difficult situation didn’t derail you for a long time. You were able to bounce back quickly, and continued providing excellent care for the rest of your patients.

 

In your opinion, what role does education plays in pediatric nursing?

Educating parents (or even children, once they are old enough to understand) plays an essential role in this work. Especially when we talk about healthy diet, hygiene, and other matters, including the mental health and emotional development of their child.

Ensure the interviewers that you plan to educate the guardians about everything important, and more than that–you plan to question them in each meeting, ensuring that they follow they instructions, that they did not neglect anything.

Healthcare professionals spend a few hours each month with a child. Or even just few minutes. Parents (or guardians) spend the rest of the time with them. They make the decisions that have an impact on the health of their children. You are well aware of this, and that’s why you place a lot of value on educating parents and guardians.

 

Imagine that a parent complained about the care their child received, and blamed you for a bad service. How would you react?

Once again, this is your opportunity to show right attitude to your work, and empathy (or a bad attitude, but that won’t happen since you prepare for the interview with us :)).

Ensure the interviewers that you understand how important children are for their parents, and that they always want only the best for them. Since they love them, they can easily get agitated or even angry, sometimes for no real reason. Or because they do not know what’s best for their child…

But you have compassion with them, you won’t get into any arguments. What is more, you are aware of your imperfections. You can make a mistake (just like anyone else), and therefor you take each feedback seriously. Maybe you really neglected something, it can happen.

You would calmly listen to their words, apologize if needed, and try your best to remedy the situation.

modern operating room in a children hospital

What role do nurses play in mental and emotional development of a child?

Speaking honestly, their role isn’t particularly significant (at least in this case). Child psychologist has an opportunity to talk to children for hours, trying to uncover their fears and anxieties, emotional traumas they may carry within.

As a nurse, you won’t have this luxury. But you may spot that something’s not right, and you may refer the child to the psychologist. What’s more, you can try to play a positive role in their emotional development. That means being nice and supportive, building relationships of  trust with your young patients, having your ears always open for their words.

At the end, your role in their mental development may be quite significant…

 

Other questions you may get in your pediatric nursing job interview

  • What do you consider the toughest aspect of this job?
  • What do you consider your greatest weakness as a nurse?
  • Tell us about your most favorite and least favorite subject at nursing school.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
  • What advice would you give to parents/guardians regarding ADHD?
  • How would you define an excellent patient care?
  • Do you have any questions?

* You can also download the full list of questions in a one page long PDF, print it, and practice your interview answers anytime later:

interview questions for pediatric nurses, PDF

Conclusion and next steps

Pediatric nursing is a wonderful job. Whether you succeed in an interview for this position depends on several factors. First and foremost, you should show enthusiasm and motivation. They should get an impression that you really want to work as a nurse, and do not apply for this job only because you spent years (and a small fortune) to finish your studies.

Secondly, you have to convince them about right attitude to your work and various situations that will happen in your daily practice (uncooperative patient, angry parent, long day in the office, etc). You can do that with good answers to the questions I explained in this article.

Last but not least, you should try to build a good connection with your interviewer, especially if it’s someone you’ll meet with on a daily basis in your work. Interviewers are only people. We prefer to hire nurses that are friendly and easy to talk to, people we will enjoy spending our time with during the day… I wish you good luck!

Matthew

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Matthew Chulaw
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