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50 Interview Questions & Tips for Registered Nurses

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by Matt Bodell.
50 Interview Questions & Tips for Registered Nurses

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. 

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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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Unions call for pay deal to be extended to the private sector

Thousands of NHS workers, many of whom are the lowest paid, have been excluded from the deal because they are indirectly employed by the NHS.

Published on

by Ian Snug.
Unions call for pay deal to be extended to the private sector

Healthcare unions have warned that a “dangerous imbalance” between sectors could cause harm to patients.

The Royal College of Nursing and Unite have called on the government to ensure the NHS pay deal is extended to those providing NHS services in social care, the private sector and primary care.

The NHS pay deal, formally accepted by healthcare unions earlier this month, will mean at least a 6.5% increase for the majority of NHS staff in England. Pay negotiations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are ongoing.

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However, thousands of NHS workers employed by social enterprises, general practice, social care, arms-length bodies, independent and charitable providers, have been excluded from the deal because they are indirectly employed by the NHS but still have a direct impact on patient care.

Made to feel like the poor relations.

Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, Unite National Officer, said: “Excluding indirectly employed NHS workers from the new pay deal is unjust. It will be a disaster for morale with thousands of low paid NHS workers being made to feel like the poor relations of NHS employees. 

"Regardless of whether an NHS worker is employed by a private company or the NHS, they are still health workers and their contribution to patient’s health must be recognised.”

In a letter to Jeremy Hunt, Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "“I urge you to consider how to address the pay of all nurses and health care assistants providing NHS services, whoever their employer, so that a gap in pay does not result in workers being drawn away from primary, community and social care services.

”This would include those employed by social enterprises, general practice, social care, arms-length bodies, independent and charitable providers.

"I do believe that without this additional funding, we will see a dangerous imbalance of the workforce, which will significantly harm patients of non-NHS services.

"Many of our members delivering NHS services but not employed by NHS organisations complain that they endure poorer working conditions, loss of career and education opportunities,"

"We recommend the establishment of a new and separate national staff council, negotiating for all nurses and care assistants in health and social care who are not directly employed by an NHS organisation."

 

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Healthcare must be redefined as a safety critical industry, says RCN

Healthcare should be reframed as a safety critical industry in order to avoid errors and improve patient outcomes.

Published on

by Clare Bodell.
Healthcare must be redefined as a safety critical industry, says RCN

The Royal College of Nursing has called for the healthcare sector to be refined as a safety critical industry.

Healthcare should be reframed as a safety critical industry in order to avoid errors and improve patient outcomes, according to written and oral evidence submitted to the Draft Health Services Safety Investigation Bill Committee by the Royal College of Nursing.

Speaking at the Committee hearing earlier today, Dame Professor Donna Kinnair, Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice at the RCN, told MPs and Peers that while the College supports the creation of an independent body to investigate serious patient safety incidents in England, this could only work effectively if healthcare is redefined as a safety critical industry.

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Donna said the Bill in its current form places disproportionate emphasis on blaming individuals, and ignores examining the wider context in which mistakes can happen. As well as blaming frontline professionals for system issues beyond their control, this risks investigations failing to root out the true cause of errors, further compromising patient safety.

In light of the 40,000 nurse vacancies in England alone, the RCN has called for nurse staffing levels at the time of an incident to be reported by the HSSIB for every investigation.

In addition the College has called for concerns raised about staff shortages on shift before the incident to be noted by the investigation.

Safe staffing levels should be enshrined in law.

In England, 71 per cent of NHS day shifts in adult acute wards fell outside the recommended nurse to patient ratio (1:8) standard set out in the NICE guidelines. Of those, 26 per cent shifts had more than 14 patients to one nurse. The RCN has previously called for safe staffing levels to be enshrined in law.

The College also raised concerns that healthcare staff who speak out in HSSIB investigations must be guaranteed a genuine safe space in which to discuss errors. It further recommended that findings of investigations be shared with health and care providers both within the NHS and independent sector, in an anonymised and appropriate way.

Speaking at the hearing, Donna Kinnair, Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice at the RCN, said: “The HSSIB will have to tackle those thorny cultural issues such as lack of staff, which people so often say we can do nothing about. It becomes more and more perverse that we tend not to look at the issues that are right in front of us.

“One of the things we are very clear about is we have an understaffed health service. The fewer nurses you have on duty, the worse patient outcomes you have. Nurses deliver 70 per cent of care. We would be working with HSSIB to make sure safe staffing levels are enshrined in law.

“It’s cheaper and easier to deal with the individual, and place the blame on the individual’s head, but this is not the solution. We can make the system safer.”

Nurses are forced to deliver care in unsafe circumstances.

Speaking outside the hearing, Donna said: “To improve patient safety, HSSIB investigations must root out the true cause of errors including systemic failures by Government and agencies. With staffing levels on many shifts below recommended safety guidelines, it is unjust, and potentially misleading to emphasise individual blame when systems and procedures are at fault. 

“Many nurses already struggle in the knowledge they are forced to deliver care in unsafe circumstances, yet their concerns are often ignored. Investigations should note concerns raised prior to incidents, and must take into account inadequate staffing levels.

“Staff should not be held to account for all care that is delivered, irrespective of resources and funding. Appropriate levels of accountability have to exist at all levels, including Government.”

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Jeremy Hunt congratulates NHS staff on a 'well deserved pay rise'

"This is an incredibly well deserved pay rise for staff who have never worked harder".

Published on

by Ian Snug.
Jeremy Hunt reappointed as Secretary of State for Health

The Health and Social Care Secretary says the pay deal is 'well deserved'.

Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has publicly congratulated NHS staff after they 'overwhelmingly' voted to accept changes to the agenda for change system and a multi-year pay deal.

Since March, 14 healthcare unions have been asking NHS staff whether they want to accept or reject the pay rise, which means a 6.5% increase over three years for over a million hospital cleaners, nurses, security guards, physiotherapists, emergency call handlers, paramedics, midwives, radiographers and other NHS staff across England.

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'Overwhelmingly accepted'.

Yesterday, following consultation exercises and online ballots, it was announced that health workers had voted 'overwhelmingly' to accept the deal.

In the statement released by the Department of Health and Social Care, Mr. Hunt said; "This is an incredibly well deserved pay rise for staff who have never worked harder. Salaries will increase between 6.5% and 29%, with some of the biggest increases for the lowest paid.

"I hope this will also go some way to helping us recruit and retain more brilliant staff in our NHS."

'The issue of NHS pay has been put to bed'.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “After today, the Government cannot assume that the thorny issue of NHS pay has been put to bed. This deal marks a step in the right direction but the bigger leap to truly fair pay still needs to be taken. It does give a genuine pay rise to over one million people from next month and that cannot be underestimated in challenging economic times.

“Ministers knew that the public were behind our members when they turned up the heat last year. Today’s deal would not have been reached without the campaigning efforts of tens of thousands of nursing staff last year and we thank the public for the support shown."

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