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Preparing for a nursing interview 

If you’ve got an upcoming nursing interview, certainly coaching can help you to understand what to expect from nursing interview questions. I am aware that for many nurses, a nursing interview can be a daunting prospect and in fact, the fear of interviews puts many off moving to a different trust or applying for a new job.

You will most likely to asked to take part in a formal panel interview and your questions will be a combination of traditional and competency-based exploring your experience, skills and qualifications.

Obviously, depending on the level/seniority of the role, the questions will be suitably adjusted but I’ve laid out below common themes that will crop up and can help you with your nursing interview preparation.

What to expect from a nursing interview

Whilst there is a lot to cover in a nursing interview, some of the worry or concern can be diminished by knowing what will come up in advance and preparing well ahead.

Clinical: These may be hypothetical or direct and may be explored through written tests or formal interview situations.

Professional Values and Ethics: You can expect interview questions exploring your ability to adhere to the NMC Code of conduct. These can be in the form of scenario based or competency-based questions. It is recommended to read the updated code which is available from the NMC website.

Previous Experience: The interviewer will ask questions exploring your experience as demonstrated through your application form and CV. For Band 6 and above, you should expect questions based on your ability to manage a team, delegate tasks and take on greater responsibility.

Training and Qualifications (CPD): In this category you should expect questions exploring your understanding of governance, clinical effectiveness, NHS and Trust targets as well as your ability to keep your skills and knowledge up to date.

Core Competencies: These interview questions will be designed to see whether you have the key skills and aptitudes required and will be in the form of competency-based questions. Topics can include the following:

  • Communication Skills
  • Developing Self and Others (Personal and People Development)
  • Health, Safety and Security
  • Equality & Diversity
  • Changing and Improving (Service Improvement)
  • Decision Making and Problem Solving
  • Quality Care
  • Team Work
  • Leadership 

Personality, Motivation and Coping Skills: Your reasons for applying or for choosing your area of specialisation and how well you deal with difficult situations such as dealing with demanding patients. 

Key Areas and Hot Topics: The following areas are hot topics currently and you should expect questions exploring your understanding and your ability to apply guidelines in your daily practice. 

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)
  • Duty of Candour
  • Safeguarding
  • Infection Prevention and Control
  • Mental Health Services
  • Health and Safety
  • Equality and Diversity 

More recently, some NHS Trusts have introduced Value Based Recruitment and incorporate strengths-based and blended Interview techniques into the process.

Nursing interviews and assessment centres

Employers will often use this method of selection when they are recruiting from a large pool of applicants, such as newly qualified nurses, or in response to a recruitment campaignTypically, these centres will be testing your competency on numerous skills including communication, adaptability, clinical understanding, numeracy and literacy skills. The means through which these are tested can include written scenarios/case study exercises, OSCEs, presentations, group discussions, role play exercises, psychometric exercises. 

Check out the RCN pages for more indepth insight to nursing interview assessment centres.

Band 6, Band 7 and Band 8+ Nursing Interview Questions

For senior posts at band 6 and above, your interview will be more in depth with questions also exploring your ability to lead a team and manage resources. Questions may be posed on the following topics:

  • recruiting and developing nursing staff
  • implementing staff development initiatives
  • overseeing induction and training programmes
  • dealing with disciplinary and performance issues
  • carrying out appraisals

Nursing Interview Questions about the 6 Cs and NHS Hot topics

It’s important to keep your knowledge and skills up-to-date as you will be asked questions related to the 6Cs and NHS hot topics.

Bear in mind, there may be questions certainly from Band 6 and above regarding NHS hot topics, for example, funding, mental health issues, the Charlie Gard case. You may even be asked about older issues and how they are affecting your daily care such as the Francis report.

If you want support with an upcoming nursing interview, get in contact to book sessions with me.

Together, we can ensure that you nail your next interview and get the job you deserve.

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