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    I have got a group interview coming up for a Nursing Assistant position. Part of the assessment is going onto wards and interacting with patients whilst the assessor and other candidates are watching. I'm really nervous about this. What sort of things should I chat about? At the first part of the assessment the lady said it'll probably be with the elderly. What sort of things do you personally talk about with patients? I think I'm quite a chatty and happy person but I do get a bit nervous talking to strangers. I need to overcome this but I'm not sure how.


    For which nhs is your assessment for? As my assessment was literally maths/English test and a interview. I don't have professional care experience, but my best advice would probably be is to try and be yourself and just be natural. Try and not to think about it too much, as I'm sure you will be just fine Maybe try and imagine that you're talking to your own relatives.

    Good luck and I'm sure you will do great!

    It just takes a bit of practise and overcoming your nervousness - I volunteer with mainly elderly patients for the NHS, and at first I found it hard knowing what to say, but it soon gets easier.

    Topics that often come up:
    - if they're expecting visitors
    - how they're feeling today (some people love a good gripe about their health conditions), did they sleep well, enjoy breakfast etc.
    - the weather
    - TV/hatred of Jeremy Kyle
    - how they're passing the time, e.g. reading, knitting, crosswords etc.
    - how they spent Christmas/New Year
    - their life history (although this usually takes a while, so probably best to stay away if it's just a short chat you're after!)

    Really it's just a matter of using your common sense (not everybody will appreciate small talk, but most will), being friendly and avoiding controversial topics (I've had a few people rant about immigration at me, which took a bit of diplomacy to get us onto a different topic ). That and the offer of a cup of tea is nearly always appreciated (check if they're diabetic if they want sugar).


    I have spent the last 6 months working on a stroke ward as a Healthcare Assistant and generally the patients are 65-100 years old. I know at first I felt like I had no idea what to say and found the whole situation really intimidating.
    But most elderly people love younger people who have time to simply have a little chat with them as most staff are usually rushing around busy 24/7.
    I was told to introduce myself.. tell the patient your name and what you're doing there today/your job role. Ask what they like to be called... just by their first name or by their title e.g. Mrs Jones. Older people will often appreciate this as they find it very respectful.
    Look for queues in the environment that can get a conversation rolling.... I know a lot of my patients have photos of their grandchildren or family in their area so I usually ask about them.

    Elderly people are just the same as anyone else, so just imagine that if you were in hospital what you'd feel comfortable chatting to a stranger about. Simple things like "how are you today?" or chatting about what they used to do for a job. I always find that really interesting as some of them say they worked in healthcare or as nurses and we always end up having a lengthy chat as I want to be a nurse too. Find some common ground with people

    Just smile, be friendly and relax!

    I found it difficult when I first started as a student nurse as I was only 18 and didn't have a huge amount of experience talking to stranger. However over time you will develop confidence, I now find it simple.

    I usually talk about how they are feeling, how their night/day has been, have they got any visitors coming to see them, talking about family if they have photos present, what they did when they were younger, have they got any plans for the future/when they get out of hospital, etc. I find lots of patients also enjoy asking me things as well, most are very chatty.
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