So you have secured good marks in your last examination, fulfill all the criteria, and now are looking forward to joining a nursing training program to give your bit back to the world. The million dollar question is – how to proceed? Given here are some points which you may consider to make the whole process a lot easier for you.
How to prepare yourself for a nursing school interview?
You are aware by now that merely applying for a position in the dream college and getting selected for the interview is not everything. Preparation is in two stages – between the time of application and that of selection, and from then on till you appear for your interview. While in the first stage your preparation can be generalized, in the second you should ideally prepare keeping specific colleges in mind.
Take note that your experiences from past learning or work experiences matter a lot, so try to integrate them in the possible answers you are framing to deal with the upcoming interview. Apart from that, you should obviously go through your study material. Also take time to prepare a list of questions to ask of your own during the interview as nowadays there are often provisions for questions from the interviewee which reflect their enthusiasm and willingness to participate.
- Research the college you are aiming for
Every organization comes with its own distinctive culture, so it is very important that you thoroughly go through the ‘about us’ section, the policies, any recent notable event in which the organization got involved, and the like. You can also talk to your instructor, or to some insider whom you might know, to get a clear idea about the practical realities before actually appearing for the interview.
- Look into placement prospects
This is another important thing you should look into before applying in the first place. Your instructor (in case you had one to assist you through the application process) would be the best person to know about this.
While you can expect nursing school interviews to be lenient in case of some answers considering you are yet to learn about and deal with certain practical scenarios, you are expected to have a thoroughly comprehensive knowledge of the basics of your prior education. Obviously, better the school, more stringent the interviewing process. The interviewers can be admission counselors, local alums, faculty or current students and the interview may follow a one-on-one or a panel format. The interviewer may or may not have prior knowledge about you through your application file. In case your prior research has not prepared you for some sudden changes in the interview scene, you need to rely on your thinking and adapting capabilities to sail through.
Sample questions and answers:
The multiple mini-interview, or the MMI format, is fast becoming popular in the US nursing school interview scene. Such interviews involve 6-10 timed station that you as an applicant would be rotating through for a period of two hours.
Whatever it may be, most of the nursing school interview questions would fall into any of the following five categories:
- Situational or ethical
- Traditional, open-ended
- Current affairs
Given below are a few sample student nursing interview questions and answers that you may expect at a typical interview:
1. Why would you like to become a nurse?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions in a nursing interview, and try to steer clear of clichéd answers like, “I love helping people.” Take some time for this answer and personalize it as much as possible. Show your passion instead of putting in motivators like family and monetary expectation.
2. Why do you want to join our nursing program?
Through this question, your interviewer wants to know how important you consider the place you are aiming for. So you obviously don’t want to give a reply that would show your choice to be replaceable. And for this, you should do your research before going for the interview.
3. What would you do in case of disagreements with your professor?
These are ethics based questions, and the interviewer is trying to determine your communication skills, level of maturity and how you personally approach situations. Understand that able students would ideally solve conflicts without blowing the thing up and taking the issue too high up the chain of command. So carefully think it through, and don’t be shy about asking questions yourself to better understand the test situation.
4. Why do you think we should choose you?
You are not the only one interviewing for the position in all probability. Needless to say, more prestigious the institution, more the rush for the seats becomes. So you should not only flaunt your qualities using wise words but also convey your enthusiasm for both the profession and the institution.
5. What would you do if you saw a colleague/ a classmate behaving unethically?
This is a question posed to understand your moral and ethical standards. While the institution won’t be expecting a public scandal to result from your righteousness, it would not expect you to keep quiet about things either. Again, be very wise while choosing your words while answering, and show your willingness to follow the chain of command while following through your complaints.
6. What qualities do you think a nurse should possess?
Through this question, the interviewer would try to know what is it that you would prioritize as a nurse, and your sense of realism and idealism as far as your profession is concerned. This is one of those questions that do not have one correct answer. Your answer to this question should reflect your opinions, without you going overboard that is.
7. What are your strengths?
Do not be shy when asked about your strengths. Understand that your strengths are your own, and talking about them without exaggeration would not only impress your interviewer, but would also help the institution to assign you places in teams based on your abilities. So patience, good communication skills, adaptability, whatever it is, just put it out.
8. What are your weaknesses?
All human beings, no matter how great they are, have at least one weakness. And acknowledging your own is not an additional one, but rather shows how aware you are of yourself. So feel free to put in a few socially acceptable weaknesses, and also show your willingness to address them to improve yourself.
9. What would you do if a patient or a family member threatened you?
Once you start practising or have practical sessions as a student nurse, remember that this is going to be a likely scenario. It may as well happen that not only do you manage to anger someone you are expected to work for, but also be at the receiving end of threats or bad behavior. Through such a question, the interviewer would try to gauge your ability to deal with unexpected conflicts in emergency situations and to perform under pressure. Carefully consider the situation before answering. You should display your communication skills, your willingness to follow protocol and your ability to keep a cool head in your answer.
10. What would you do if you find the course difficult after you are in it?
Struggling through a course after choosing it, irrespective of how much you like it, is normal. And acknowledging that in your answer would do half the job of impressing your interviewer. Because with that, you would practically demonstrate your willingness and your ability to speak up and do things when required. Students who take responsibility for their learning are naturally favoured more than the passive ones. Also, in case of test questions for similar situations, do not externalize problems, for example, do not blame professors for bad grades.
11. What do you think of euthanasia?
This is one of the trickiest questions you may face, and it is best that you go through the policy of the place you are aiming for. Have there been cases of euthanasia there? How does the college expect the students to deal with the idea of euthanasia? While it is okay to have your own opinions regarding such sensitive matters, ideally you should put the comfort of the patient foremost. As university interview questions, these are designed more to judge your own ideas than to assess your practical abilities.
12. How dependable is your transportation?
You may often be required to move around for practical classes and demonstrations, and many institutions expect you to have a reliable form of transportation to make things easy on both ends. Carefully go through the requirements and policies before applying, and refrain from doing so in case things get difficult for you.
Presentation during the interview
This is something you should pay special attention to. Have energizing meals that would be filling without making you sleepy. Take care of the interview time, and do not be late. Remember that it is extremely important to keep a cool head to deal with unexpected situations, and there would at least be one in any interview. Mediate before heading out. Here are some things you should pay special attention to while dressing up:
- Cleanliness: Looking clean and natural not only creates a positive impression, but also helps in soothing nerves. In case you are a woman, try to avoid too much make-up. Keep it light and formal. If you are a man, make sure to shave before heading out. If there is a beard or moustache, trim it well and clean it before walking in for the interview.
- Clothing: Remember comfort is the key here. Do not go for tight-fitting or revealing clothing. Be in clean, ironed semi-formals. Your shoes should be comfortable as well.
- Jewellery: If you do wear jewellery, avoid showy or distracting pieces. Keep them small and neat.
- Perfume: You never know if your interviewer would be allergic to some smell or chemical, and you would not only be losing out on it but may also inadvertently be responsible for some embarrassing situation. So avoid using strong-smelling aftershave, shampoos, creams or deodorants. Keep your mouth smelling fresh, but then don’t walk in chewing a mouth-freshener.
- Pay attention to your handshake: This is the next thing you do after walking in, and remember that you can spoil everything that would be proceeding with a mismanaged handshake. Whether male or female, you don’t want to appear cold with a half-hearted, limp handshake. At the same time, you don’t want to make your interviewer uncomfortable in a clingy, vice-like grip. Practice till you get it correct before going for the interview.
Yes, a nursing interview may not always be easy. But a cool head and a calm demeanour can take care of half the job while solving sudden problems. Understand that there is not much room for pretension. All you need to do is to be in control, and practising with test nursing programs interview questions before the mirror and thinking out possible scenarios can go a long way in helping you clinch that seat in the nursing school of your dreams. All the best!