Most students do not have to interview for a place at the school of their choice. They pass the exams, and they get in… 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 face to face interview is the most effective way of understanding your personality, motivation, and attitude to work and life. Let’s have a look how you can ace the student nursing interview, and secure your spot in a great study program!
What will happen in your student nursing interview?
They will ask you questions that relate to your attitude to nursing, to your motivation, personality, your hobbies. They will try to understand who you are, and why you decided to become a nurse.
Try to show compassion, enthusiasm for nursing, understanding of your role in human society. 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 you will face.
Questions you can get in your nursing school interview
- Why did you choose nursing? 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. Perhaps 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….
- 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…
- Can you name some of your qualities that would benefit you as a nurse? And is there anything you would like to improve on? What you say does not necessarily have to reflect in your interview presence—they understand that you experience stress, and cannot show them all your best cards. But you should believe that you have what it takes to become a great nurse—one day…On the other hand, humility can make wonders in the interviews. People in the interviewing committee prefer to choose humble students, people who are aware of their imperfections, people who believe that there is always room for improvement, and that learning never stops..
- 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 their beloved 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?
- Nursing studies are hard and time demanding. Are you ready to handle that? What are you willing to sacrifice? You shouldn’t wear pink glasses in this interview. In average, 25% of students do not manage to graduate from nursing school. Seems like a high number? Well, they do not always drop out because of failing in exams. Reasons range from getting pregnant to not having money to continue. Show the interviewers that you understand it will be difficult to succeed, and that you expect to devote most of your time to studies.You can also say that you talked to other students, who helped you to understand what will be expected from you at school, and how challenging the experience will be.
- 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 watch trends in the industry? What caught your eye lately?
- Except of studying, what do you plan to do while being at the college?
- How do you handle stress?
- Your friend Jason hasn’t come to class for a few days. Being a hardworking student, he very seldom skips classes. You know that he is applying to nursing schools in the past several weeks. You called his house and he said you could visit him. Enter the room and talk to Jason…
Conclusion, brilliant answers to all questions
Success or failure in an interview is not a question of luck. The better you prepare for the questions, the better you prepare mentally and emotionally for the big day, the better your chances of succeeding will be.
If you are not sure how to handle this situation, however (you are not alone), have a look at an eBook I wrote for you, the Nursing School Interview Made Easy. In includes multiple great answers to all 24 most common nursing school interview questions (including MMI scenarios), and winning interview strategies that will help you stand out in the eyes of the admission committee, and secure the coveted spot in the study program.
You will find some sample answers directly on the eBook page, so it makes sense to check it out even if you do not plan to purchase anything… Thank you, I wish you the best on the big day!
Matthew Chulaw, InterviewPenguin.com
* Special Tip: You can also download a full list of questions in a simple one-page long .PDF document, print it and practice your interview answers anytime later:
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Matthew has been working in international recruitment since 2008. He helps job seekers from all walks of life to pursue their career goals, and to prepare for their interviews. He is the founder of InterviewPenguin.com website.
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