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  • 01 September 2021
  • 7 min read

How To Prepare For Your Scrub Nurse Interview And Answer The Typical Interview Questions

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    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
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“I believe compassion is extremely important in this job as often times children are not aware of the procedure they’re having, so treating them with kindness and respect is vital.”

Scrub Nurse, Amira Begum gives a comprehensive overview on what to expect from your interview and offers advice about how to stand out from the crowd.

Topics covered in this article


Application Process

What To Expect From The Interview

Advice To Remember

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In this article, I’ll be talking you through the steps I went through when I applied for my job as a Scrub Nurse (Theatre Practitioner).

Depending on where you’re applying, the application process may differ slightly.

However, this piece should give you an insight into the typical questions.

Interviewers may ask and possibly help you look at a different role of nursing.

This article will be specific to a scrub or circulating role.

A scrub nurse works in the sterile field, working alongside the surgeons, whereas a circulating nurse works outside the sterile field.

Knowing the distinction between these two is important as they both have different responsibilities.

Also, in most workplaces nurses are expected to be able to carry out both roles.

Application Process

I applied for my job through the NHS jobs.

Most Theatre Jobs do like you to have some experience before applying but luckily this one didn’t specify that you needed previous experience.

However, I still took it upon myself to call up the recruitment number and ask.

I think it is beneficial to call with queries you have about the job or the requirements.

This is so that you can have everything they ask for ready.

On NHS jobs when you apply for any job, they have seven sections which need to be completed before submitting your application.

The first section is all about your personal details such as name, address and national insurance number.

The second section is about your qualifications, here I just wrote my GCSEs, A - Levels and my degree.

At this point, I hadn’t qualified so for grade I wrote “pass to be confirmed.”

It also asks you here about membership of professional bodies, here I wrote that I was still a student.

The third section is all about employment history.

Now, most of this I had to leave blank as this was my first proper job so in the section that asked about employment history I explained how after I left school, I went onto sixth form then pursued further education.

The fourth section was for references, my two referees were my personal tutor at Uni and one of my third-year placement mentors.

The fifth section is called supporting information.

This is where you have to sell yourself.

Here I spoke about why I actually wanted to become a nurse.

Then I spoke about the skill set I have gained for my nursing placements.

This involved talking about how in my final placement I would take on the role of “Charge Nurse” (under supervision).

This role meant I was working closely alongside the MDT (Multidisciplinary Team) and was also in charge of admissions and discharges.

I also spoke about how I would often support first year students and even advise them how to safely carry out certain nursing procedures.

This is the section where you talk about WHY they should hire YOU.

What makes you employable.

You need to talk about what you excel at and why you would be an asset in their workplace.

The sixth section is called monitoring information where you state things such as your religion and ethnicity.

The last section is the safeguarding section.

After you complete all of these you can submit your application.

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What To Expect From The Interview

If your application is successful, you will move onto the interview stage.

This is when your potential employer invites you for an interview.

I know how scary and nerve-wracking interviews can be but hopefully this will help put you at ease.

In my interview I had two interviewers.

There was a band 7 Scrub Nurse and an ODP (Operating Department Practitioner).

Usually, they have around ten questions that they ask.

The first few questions are generic.

Normally, they ask about your past experiences, why you want the job and why you think you’d be good for the role.

They also ask role specific questions.

One question that was asked to me was “What would you do if you were scrubbed and the Surgeon did something that wasn’t on the consent form?”

Consent is crucial in nursing; I mean even before checking a patient’s observations.

My answer to this was “sticking to the consent form is vital unless there’s complications or something else stopping the surgeon from actually doing the procedure that was originally planned.”

Sometimes, the original procedure cannot be completed as it could end up negatively affecting the patient.

Other examples of role specific questions are “what would you do if your sterile field became desterilised?”.

In this situation, I would ask my circulating staff to get me a new tray which will be sterile and I’d also ensure to change my gloves.

I’d also ask for new sterile drapes for the patient.

If you have previous theatre experience then you may be asked questions related to surgeries such as “What would you do if the patient was bleeding out?”

This is when you’d talk about asking for big 22x22 swabs, having ties ready, having suction, bipolar and monopolar ready.

Advice To Remember

My main piece of advice would be to research the hospital, look at the common procedures that they carry out and what theatres they have. Read about How To Answer Healthcare Support Worker Interview Questions.

This will give you a rough idea of what to expect.

When researching the hospital, it’s always a good idea to read into their trust values too.

This is important as often times interviewers will ask if you believe you possess these values and how you would show them.

For example, in my interview I was asked about our hospital values which are: compassion, ambitious and brave.

I answered with saying “I believe I am compassionate as I am able to empathise with patients and treat them in a respectful manner.

I believe compassion is extremely important in this job as often times children are not aware of the procedure they’re having, so treating them with kindness and respect is vital.”

As a follow up question, I was asked “can you describe a time when you showed compassion in the workplace?”

I went on to talk about when I was a student, and we had a patient with a very complex safeguarding background.

I had to be very patient and gentle with her.

Overall, I think the main thing to remember when going for an interview is that the interviewer already thinks you would be good for the role, the interview is just for them to get to know you better.

The interviewer just wants to know the person behind the application.

I wish you all good luck in your careers, please comment any questions or queries you have about theatres or scrubbing. Read and learn more about Nursing Degree Course Interview Tips.

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About the author

I’m Amira, I qualified as an Adult Nurse over a year ago and I have been working in theatres since qualifying. I am an adult trained nurse working in a paediatric hospital. I specialise in spines, trauma and orthopaedics. Outside of work I am a keen baker and fitness enthusiast.

    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
  • 0
  • 3089

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