As with all interviews, you need to ensure you get the basics right at the start of the interview. Shake the interviewer(s)' hand(s). Initiate eye contact early and attempt to maintain it throughout, don't look down or away when you are thinking of answers. Remember your manners: be polite, reply to everything you are asked and smile where appropriate. Try to stay calm before the interview and remember to keep hydrated. Relax in the interview, after you have been introduced this should be easier.
It's very important for you to practice before hand with people you don't know very well. This may include teachers from around school that are intimidating. If you have your practice interviews with someone you feel comfortable with you won't be adequately prepared - you won't know the people interviewing you, and those people may be rather intimidating. Do yourself some justice - Do you really want to be rejected because of lack of practice and letting the pressure/a 'scary' person ruin you, when in fact you're a perfectly good candidate? From personal experience, this is the most important thing of all.
Even if you have a wonderful personal statement it will not carry you through if you can't handle the pressure. Nurses in every branch deal with a huge amount of pressure everyday. If you can't handle an interview the interviewers will have strong reservations. Being nervous is fine. Letting Nerves take you from behind, swinging you round with one leg is not.
If you aren't doing this already then I'll be concerned but just a reminder - know current issues. Particularly within your branch of nursing, but one or two in general is good too. Don't just know what the issues are, have an opinion. Contribute to some form of discussion. Know all sides.
Know your Personal Statement inside out. Every university is different. Some ask questions on Nursing alone, others personal to your application and some do both. If you have referenced any bit of research in there (such as a particular book) you need to make sure you know that inside out, backwards and forwards too.
At the end of the interview make sure you ask questions. Prepare some questions in advance that you can propose - nothing that you should obviously know though. This will show that you've thought about and are interested in something more specific. This is especially useful for you if this is your first choice university. E.g. Can student nurses use facilities outside of lecture time?
Here you will be asked similar questions to those you'd be asked in an individual, but in this scenario Universities are testing you in different ways.
They're testing your maturity, interpersonal/communication skills as they are doing in individual interviews.
A key tip for group interviews is not to let yourself get lost and be forgotten. - Make sure you contribute. When I had my group interview it was only me and one other applicant in the discussion with the interviewers. The other two just sat there, with their head down and only spoke when the interviewer prompted them, and even then they did not give full answers. However, within the discussion, as well as ensuring you are active, also ensure others are having their say - don't interrupt. Where are your eyes when you're in the interview? At the people who are speaking? Or are they just on the interviewers?
So many people I know didn't apply to a University they wanted to because they were 'put off' by the prospect of a written test during the interview.
Whilst they may seem daunting, they are not.
Basically, they're just going to pick a question from possible ones above and rather than verbally answering it, you use written communication. They're not scary and they're not looking for perfection in technique. They are checking to see you understand Nursing. They're not normally very long. The one I had was 10 minutes. It would be irrational to expect someone to write a masterpiece in such a time, surely? They were checking my understanding.
Universities see a lot of applicants. This is a way of remembering who is who.
What Questions Might I Be Asked?
- Here is a list of potential questions you might be asked. If you have had a nursing interview and have any to add, feel free.
- How do you feel you fit the role of the modern nurse?
- What is the role of a Nurse?
- What is the role of a Nurse in X branch?
- What is a key skill in X branch? (The branch you are applying for)
- Why do you want to be a Nurse?
- Why your specific branch?
- How would you work as part of a team?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- How would you overcome your weaknesses?
- How do you deal with stress?
- Name a stressful situation you have been in? (and how you coped)
- How do you work within a team?
- What experience(s) have you had?
- How would you apply this throughout the course?
- How do you deal with conflict? (use an example of a situation involving conflict you have been in - what was the result, did the way you 'dealt' with it help matters?)
- Why this University?
- How do you think your current qualifications have prepared you for a nursing degree?
- What qualities have you got which a nurse needs?
- What are some of the issues surrounding the British healthcare system and how can we overcome them?
- Do you think the NHS should put so much funding into the Mental Health Services? Explain your answer.
- What would you do if a service user confided in you that they were storing up their pills in order to overdose?
- How would you react to a suicide on the ward?
- What would you do/ how would you react to an aggressive, violent patient?
- What would you do/How would you deal with a patient on an acute ward who had done some very horrible things to people?
- How would you feel if a child died in your care?
- What are the 6c's of nursing?
Example answers to questions
Question: Do you think the NHS should put so much funding into the Mental Health Services? Explain your answer.
Answer: essentially speaking, yes, absolutely. There are various studies, such as one highlighted by Caroline Shreeve, which found that those suffering from depression had a significantly lower white blood cell count than those who were not suffering from depression, thus lowering their immune system greatly. As a result, untreated mental illness, such as the aforementioned depression, leads to physical deterioration (there are even links beginning to emerge with cancer) and ultimately admission into general hospital generating further costs (which are more expensive).
NB. Do not use Caroline Shreeve unless you know her work - the interviewers may ask you further questions. This answer does not take into consideration other reasons for the answer 'yes'. Nor does it give a balanced answer (ie. no). Simply a guidance.
Question: What is a key skill in Mental Health Nursing?
Answer: Building therapeutic relationships with service users and spotting the build up on tension and bringing it down. There can be aggression from patients thus such a skill is necessary in order to protect the patient from themselves, other patients and of course the nurses themselves.
Question: What would you do/how would you react to an aggressive, violent patient?
Answer: Well, as nursing is a multidisciplinary team profession, the one thing a nurse should not do is try to restrain the patient by themself (this is also for the nurse's own protection). I would seek assistance from my fellow colleagues, ensure other patients are protected and, where necessary, call in a specialist team to help restrain the patient to protect them from themselves.
Question: How would you react to a suicide on the ward?
Answer: My answer will be based on a Nurse fulfilling their legal, clinical, social and moral responsibilities. I would not move anything, I would block the area off and seek my manager to inform them of what has happened. The police would be called. The family would be informed. I would talk to someone, I may be in shock, I would make sure that I was still able to carry on with my duties and still give quality of care. Whereby removing myself if necessary.
Question: What would you do if a service user confided in you that they were storing up their pills in order to overdose?
Answer: I would talk to the patient and I would listen to them. I would assess the risk. depending on the conversation I may talk to a superior.
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