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50 Interview Questions & Tips for Registered Nurses

Matt B

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Preparing for your interview can be stressful. We have put together a list of example questions and tips to help you prepare.

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Interview questions for Nurses can be put into three main categories; the general questions (teamwork, strengths, weaknesses etc), clinical, ethical and practice based (sometimes scenario based) and finally values based.

PRO-TIP: Don’t set yourself up to fail by arriving at the interview under-prepared. Make sure you have done some research on the job and attended an insight visit if possible. 

You should take a look at our previous post on How to Prepare for your band 5 Staff Nurse Interview for some crucial tips on preparation and pre-interview reading.

General Questions

These are the ‘cliché’ questions. They are non-specific to your area of practice and will be about the interviewer getting to know you as a person.

  1. Tell us about your professional career to date.
  2. Tell us a bit about yourself.
  3. How well do you work within a team?
  4. How well do you work on your own?
  5. What do you think teamwork is?
  6. What is the difference between a leader and a manager?
  7. What do you think makes a good manager?
  8. What do you think makes a good leader?
  9. Identify your main weaknesses.
  10. Identify your main strengths.
  11. Describe yourself in 3 words.
  12. Why do you want to work here?
  13. Have you had any gaps in your employment, if so why?
  14. Why are you leaving your current job?
  15. What did you enjoy the most about your last position?
  16. What kind of manager do you work best with?
  17. Can you identify an area of development?

Clinical Questions

The core elements of the clinical, ethical or practice questions will be the same but the focus may be tailored to the specific area. Some questions are designed with the expectation that you may not know the answer but you would be able to list the steps and actions you would take to find out.

  1. Name a national or local nursing initiative that you feel passionately about.
  2. What was the last piece of Nursing research you read? Tell us about it…
  3. Your patient has triggered the ‘Sepsis 6‘ bundle, what are your actions?
  4. You arrive at your patient and they are unresponsive. What actions do you take?
  5. It’s the end of your shift you have a wound dressing, your writing, and an IV antibiotic left to do – what do you handover and what do you complete?
  6. Your patient is unwell and you are very concerned. The Doctor fails to understand how concerned you are and won’t review the patient. What actions do you take?
  7. Your patient is missing from the ward. What actions do you need to take?
  8. You have an unexpected death on the ward. What do you need to consider?
  9. Your patient is due an infusion of IV antibiotics and IV fluids at the same time but the drugs cannot be mixed. What do you need to consider or do?
  10. Your patient doesn’t want to get out of bed. How do you motivate them?
  11. You find yourself alone on the ward with a critically unwell patient. How do you respond?
  12. You have a patient who speaks no English. The family has offered to translate. What should you consider?
  13. A patient has been admitted from a nursing home. They have pressure sores and claim they have been left in a wet bed for hours at a time. What do you need to consider and what actions do you need to take?
  14. What do you think makes a good shift?

Values Questions

These questions are designed to see how you handle difficult situations and assess the knowledge you have about your profession. They are designed to make you think, so take your time.

  1. What are the 6C’s?
  2. Why do we have the NMC Code of Conduct?
  3. What do you know about NMC Revalidation and why is it important?
  4. Your patient is refusing their medication, what do you do?
  5. A patients relative isn’t happy about the care they are receiving. How do you deal with this?
  6. The Doctor won’t review your patient despite several escalations. What actions do you take?
  7. Another member of staff has posted messages on social media related to a patient. What do you do?
  8. You are rotated to work with someone you don’t like. How do you handle the situation?
  9. Your patient wants to self-discharge, what actions do you take?
  10. You have a disagreement with another member of staff. How do you deal with it?
  11. Tell us about a time you made a mistake at work and what you did to resolve this?
  12. Tell us about a conflict at work and the steps you took to resolve it.
  13. What do you think is ‘good patient care’?
  14. Tell us about a time you went ‘above and beyond’.
  15. What do you think the most difficult part of being a nurse is?

Now, it’s your turn…

The interviewers will always give you a chance to ask questions, usually, towards the end of the interview, you should pre-prepare appropriate questions;

  • What training opportunities can you offer me?
  • Are there routes for progression?
  • What do you want from the ideal candidate?
  • How soon should I hear the results of the interview?

Good luck with your interview – if you were asked any unusual questions you can share those in the comments section.

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Documentary reveals four in ten nurses have earnings below the minimum income standard

Ian Snug

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The Documentary, Who Deserves a Pay Rise?’,  will air tonight (23/10/2017) on Channel 4 at 8pm.

The Channel 4 documentary ‘Who Deserves a Pay Rise?’ reveals that four in ten nurses live in households below the minimum income standard.

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The Channel 4 Dispatches ‘Who Deserves a Pay Rise?’ reveals how far salaries have fallen in real terms since 2010, meaning many workers are now living below the national minimum income standard.

It investigates how pay freezes and caps are affecting public sector employees working on the front line in Britain, meeting a police officer who has been made homeless and a nurse who skips meals.

Figures from NatCen show that 41 per cent of nurses do not meet the income measure used by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – up from 23.3 per cent seven years ago.

The figures show that greater number of nurses live below the standard than police officers or teachers, at 34 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

On Friday the Royal College of Nursing delivered a petition to the Downing Street calling for the end to pay restraint for NHS workers. This followed an announcement earlier this month when Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, announced an end to the public sector pay cap.

The RCN has once again repeated called or an above inflation pay rise.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:

“This is a timely pre-Budget reminder that the Government has driven down living standards with year after year of real-terms pay cuts, leaving more nursing staff falling behind the acceptable income standard than other public sector workers.

“After telling the Commons that it has scrapped the cap on pay, the Government must put its money where its mouth is next month. The Budget must commit the funding to give nurses an above inflation pay award – anything less amounts to another pay cut.

“The Chancellor cannot ask the NHS to make other cuts to cover pay rises – it must be given new funding to cover the cost.”

The Documentary, Who Deserves a Pay Rise?’,  will air tonight (23/10/2017) on Channel 4 at 8pm.

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RCN members deliver #ScrapTheCap petition to Downing Street

Ian Snug

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Frontline nursing staff today handed a petition of 67,000 names to Downing Street, urging the Government to scrap the cap on public sector pay.

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RCN members – representing every country of the UK – led the Summer of Protest campaign in their local communities.

Michael Coram (London), Kayleigh Peel (West Midlands), Jane Leighton (Northern Ireland), Julie Lambeth (Scotland) and Jean Richards (Wales) are RCN Pay Champions and spent the summer promoting the Scrap the Cap campaign, distributing campaign materials and organising events at hospitals and in public spaces.

The petition’s signatures were collected on 67,000 postcards, which were completed during the Summer of Protest, at events held in towns and cities. If stacked end-to-end the postcards would reach more than one and a half times the height of Mount Everest. The petition was accompanied by a letter from Michael Brown, Chair of RCN Council.

The campaign saw thousands of nurses join together to protest against the 1% pay cap, which has caused nursing pay to fall by 14% in real-terms since 2010, leaving them £3,000 a year worse off.

It highlighted that low pay has stood in the way of attracting enough staff to provide safe patient care. With 40,000 nursing vacancies in England alone and more nurses leaving than joining the profession, it is vital the Government ends the pay cap to prevent the nursing workforce from shrinking even further.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:

“Nurses from all corners of the UK have shown the Government that they are a force to be reckoned with. Throughout the summer they campaigned tirelessly to end the cap which has cut their pay year-on-year.

“Our members in front of the famous door today and everybody across the UK should be proud of their achievements. The Government has listened to them and has categorically said they are scrapping the pay cap.

“This petition shows huge levels of public support for nurses, who work so hard to provide care for patients in the midst of a staffing crisis and increasing pressures in the NHS.

“Their next pay offer must not come in below inflation and Ministers must not ask the NHS to make other cuts to pay for it.”

After mounting pressure from the RCN, the public, other trade unions and MPs, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, announced in the House of Commons on October 10 that the pay cap will be scrapped.

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