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50 Interview Questions & Tips for Registered Nurses

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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.

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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RCN says the NHS is Supplementing Nurses with Unregistered Staff

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The Royal College of Nursing says that 90% of England’s largest NHS Hospitals are short of Nursing staff and supplementing them with unregistered staff.

The analysis of data on the NHS Choices website by the Royal College of Nursing had confirmed that a large proportion of NHS hospitals are short of Nurses.

The RCN says the data demonstrates that NHS hospitals are supplementing Registered Nurses by putting more unregistered staff on shift. They explain that with the situation is worse at night when two-thirds of the largest hospital trusts put more health care assistants on the wards than planned.

These findings support the RCN’s recent research highlighting 40,000 nurse vacancies across the NHS in England despite NHS Digital only having adverts for 11,500 vacancies.

Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive, said the findings showed patients were being put at risk and called on the Government to increase the number of nurses.

“These startling figures show that, despite the Government’s rhetoric, our largest hospitals still do not have enough nurses and that is putting patients at risk.

“In light of this, the Government must redouble its efforts to train and recruit more qualified nurses and stop haemorrhaging the experienced ones who are fed up, undervalued and burning out fast.”

Janet went on to add it is unreasonable to expect unregistered staff to fill staffing gaps.

“It is unfair on the healthcare assistants too – they should not be left in a situation they have not been trained to handle.

“Nurses have degrees and expert training and, to be blunt, the evidence shows patients stand a better chance of survival and recovery when there are more of them on the ward.

The RCN has, once again, reiterated the need for safe staffing legislation to be brought into force in England – who have fallen behind both Scotland and Wales.

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‘Thousands’ of funded training places for Student Nurses & Midwives announced

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The Government has announced ‘up-to’ 10,000 extra funded places for student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in England by 2020.

The Department of Health says that it plans to reinvest some of the annual £1.2bn it will save after removing bursaries from student nurses, midwives and allied healthcare professionals back into training new healthcare professionals.

This news comes only a week after the official end to the NHS Bursary system in England.

‘Extra’ university places will be available for a range of healthcare roles including; nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The actual number of places will be officially revealed next week when universities begin to fill empty spaces on their courses through their clearing process.

Health Education England (HEE) has previously claimed it received no extra money to fund more clinical placements in the 2017-18 academic year but changes to the way educational placements work could be to blame.

Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, said:

“There just aren’t enough nurses in training to fill the thousands of vacant posts, and the removal of student nurse funding is only driving down applications further. Meanwhile, the pay cap is forcing many nurses out of the profession they love”.

Many claim the move is part of a bigger plan to create more ‘homegrown’ nurses as the government fails to reassure nurses from the EU that they will be welcome post-brexit.

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