• 05 May 2020
  • 12 min read

Top 3 nursing interview questions, and how to answer them

  • Claire Quinn
    Student Nurse and Vlogger
  • 0
  • 4557
Play video: "I went into the interview with the expectation that I wouldn't get the job and that it was just kind of a practice run and I feel like maybe that mindset also helped."

Having been offered a new job, Student Nurse, Claire Quinn, outlines her interview experience by breaking down each question, and how she answered.

Topics covered in this article

0.10 Introduction

0.54 The impact of Covid-19 on Student Nursing

1.50 The backstory to my interview

4.26 Question #1. Out of all your placements so far, what was your favourite and least favourite and why?

6.22 Question #2. Out of these values, which one stands out to you the most and why?

7.57 Question #3. What do you define as good quality care and why?

9.35 My final tips

0.10 Introduction

This video is a one that I wanted to make for a while and it's just kind of an update how things have been going on, what I'm doing now, how you can prepare for interviews.

Kind of everything since I've actually come to the end of my course recently, and now about to start emergency register with everything that's been going on.

I just want to say I hope everyone is doing as best as they can under the circumstances.

I know everyone has their own unique situation that makes things difficult, but we really just need to all come together and try and get through it.

So yeah, I hope everyone is doing the best that they can at this moment.

0.54 The impact of Covid-19 on Student Nursing

We found out today that we third year student nurses will be joining the emergency register, and this came not as a shock, and it's something I'm actually really happy to do.

So we'll be joining the NHS to fight obviously the coronavirus, which is what's going on recently.

And yeah, I'm really honoured to be able to step up and help, join the workforce, and really hopefully get through this together.

So that's definitely a big update.

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It's been a long time coming, but I think it's definitely the right decision.

We were supposed to be doing a dissertation at the moment, but that's now been postponed too so we can start work sooner, which is good or bad I guess in a way.

Happy I don't have to do the dissertation, but it's just all happened so quickly, I think everyone can relate.

1.50 The backstory to my interview

So today I just want to share with you some tips from me doing an interview myself, a nursing interview and getting the job.

Because even my friends ask like, "Oh, how was the interview? What did they ask?".

I can give you kind of a brief overview of what it was like during my interview and how it went.

So to give a bit of a backstory, I went to an open day for a certain Trust, hospital, a university hospital, and I went, wasn't expecting anything.

I went with my friend, we had a look around open day, I want to work in oncology.

So we went to the oncology hospital, the oncology centre, I was fascinated by it. I really enjoyed the environment if you can say that.

But you know, the whole feel of the staff and everything just felt really good to me and just felt right.

So at the end I got talking to one of the sisters and they basically said, "Would you like to interview today?" And I was like, "Okay, I haven't prepared anything but I'm willing to."

So about 20 minutes later I had my really, really informal interview with one of the oncology sisters and matron in the Trust and I was terrified beforehand, literally sitting outside trembling, trying to read up on the Trust values, because obviously when you normally go for an interview, you're really prepared.

You know obviously the succeeds, the Trust values, what you've done in the past, where you want to work, like you've had time to think about it.

But in this instance I didn't have any time to think about it, which I guess was good and bad.

Because it was like, it was good because I had to just be natural I guess and be able to come up with things on the spot.

But then it was bad because I didn't feel prepared.

I didn't know the Trust values, I didn't know specific things about the hospital or the oncology centre.

I didn't know any of that.

But when we went into the interview, they really put me at ease.

I was really honest with them.

And I think that's something, it's important to be, and everyone might be like, "Oh, I'm nervous".

But I think actually being really honest with them, I was like, "I'm going to be honest with you. I didn't know this interview was going to happen today".

So you know, just like pre-warning, kind of like in a jokey way, but you're fully serious.

4.26 Question #1. Out of all your placements so far, what was your favourite and least favourite and why?

So I sat down and my first question, I remember this one was, out of all your placements so far, what was your favourite and least favourite and why?

And I found that a really good starting question, because everyone knows what placements they've had.

Everyone knows which they didn't like, most certainly which they didn't like, because obviously that stands out.

But also the one you liked the most, which is the one that stands out.

So I said that my favourite was my oncology placement and I see that fits into the job I was going for.

I said, "I just found I got to know the patients better. I got to know the families better. You built a good communication with them, good relationship with them. I just really liked how you saw the full patient journey."

And then I said, "My least favourite was community."

And I think I've talked about this previously.

I didn't really get on with community.

I found it quite slow pace, I didn't like how lonesome it was.

The fact that you weren't really working with a team, although you were back in the office, all day you were driving around by yourself and as an extrovert I found that not very nice.

So I was honest with them about that.

I said, "This is the reason why I didn't like community".

And I also said, "Because it was quiet and not busy".

And I think that's a good reason not to like somewhere, not that any reason is bad.

But I think if you said maybe, "Oh I didn't get on with X, Y and Z," then maybe it doesn't come across the best.

So maybe saying, "Oh I didn't like it because it was too quiet or it wasn't busy enough.

Or I actually really like working with the team and I like having people I can bounce off and I felt like in the community I was very by myself and working autonomously".

So that in itself I would say is a really good answer, because it's just like, "Okay, she likes being busy, she likes working with the team".

They're both two positive attributes.

So therefore why not say that?

6.22 Question #2. Out of these values, which one stands out to you the most and why?

I think my next question then moved on to say about the Trust values.

And this is the part I was terrified about.

Because I don't know about you, but when I've heard about interviews, I've heard so much about you got to know the Trust values.

So you got to know what you're doing, you got to know what they are, which one's your favourite, why, blah, blah, blah.

So I was terrified.

And the question actually was the Trust values are, care, compassion, equality, diversity.

They're not the Trust values by the way, but I'm just giving an example.

And they actually said, stated the five Trust values and then said, "Out of these values, which one stands out to you the most and why?".

And I found that also really go wrong, because obviously all five Trust values are a Trust value for a reason.

So they're all, anyone is a right answer basically.

So I just pick the one that I think I picked teamwork, because I just said:

"Coming back to the community placement, I like working with the team. I like having that bouncing off ideas. I like double checking things with people. I like the fun aspect of it, like the staff room, all of that. That you never feel alone, that you're not making big decisions just to make big decisions, you're making them as a collective."

So I find that a good question, because they knew that we weren't prepared because we were open day applicants and maybe that's why they gave us the question.

So I'm not going to say every nursing interview will give you the Trust values, but I guess that worked out well.

7.57 Question #3. What do you define as good quality care and why?

The next one I think was what do you define as good quality care and why.

I found this really difficult, I instantly felt like my mind was going blank.

And I basically said, "I think you can define good quality care by patient satisfaction and also how happy the staff feels, the individual staff".

So I know if I come home from a good day, a placement, soon to be work, which is terrifying.

If I come home from there and I say, "Okay, that was a good day. I'm satisfied with the care I gave, I'm satisfied with the nursing I provided".

I think that classifies this good quality care.

And also if the patients is satisfied, because we talk about patient centred care all the time.

But yes, it can be patient centred, but if the patient isn't satisfied, and I know you're not going to satisfy everyone and you're not going to be able to make everyone have the best time possible, because it's a difficult situation no matter why you're in hospital.

But to really understand that if a patient feels like they received good quality care, then I inevitably will take that that it is good quality care.

And they really liked that answer, but it wasn't what they were looking for basically.

They were more looking for like lack of falls, lack of infection, things like that, which they said they'd never heard my answer before, which I guess I gave them something a bit different, which I was happy about.

9.35 My final tips

So yeah, they're three of the questions that I received in my interview and answered.

And I just want to say that that interview, although it was very anxiety inducing beforehand, during it I really kind of settled into it and I felt like it came off well that I wasn't really prepared.

And I know people sometimes like to have prepared answers and stuff, but I don't think that works out as best as some people think it does.

Because it can come off very rehearsed, while if you're natural, if you're just being yourself, if they like you, they like you.

And that's amazing.

So yeah, I would recommend just being yourself.

You have got through three years of nursing, there's obviously a lot of good qualities to your personality, so just let them shine and they will definitely see that.

So after the interview, just to finalize, I got up and was like, "Bye guys, thank you".

Like, that was really nice. And they've basically said, "Where are you going? We want to offer you a job," which I was so shocked about.

I wasn't expecting that at all. I went into the interview with the expectation that I wouldn't get the job and that it was just kind of a practice run and I feel like maybe that mindset also helped.

Thinking, "If I don't get it, it's not the end of the world".

Well, if you put all your belief and everything into it, I think that can make it really difficult.

Because then if you don't get the job, it's you're so disheartened, you're so distraught, you put so much time into it.

While if you kind of play it by ear, go with the flow, then I think you can't be too upset if you don't get it.

Because we're so short of nurses here in the NHS that honestly, if you have got this far and you've managed to get through this really difficult course, then you're doing well.

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  • Claire Quinn
    Student Nurse and Vlogger

About the author

  • Claire Quinn
    Student Nurse and Vlogger

Claire is a student adult nurse from Ireland, but studies in the UK. She makes vlogs for her channel, Claire Quinn - Nursing Secrets, where she shares tips and advice from her own experience as a student nurse.

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