Preparing for your Staff Nurse Interview is important – you’ll need to make the right impression, sell yourself and demonstrate care, compassion, and competence.
Normally your interview will be brief and only last around 15 to 20 minutes and is usually completed by the two or three people – the ward / unit manager plus a senior nurse and possibly a HR representative.
How to Make a Good Impression
First impressions are important and doing this well will put you in good stead for the rest of the interview. You’ll be understandably nervous but try not to be a gibbering mess.
- Smile when you walk in and shake hands with members of the panel if you can.
- Take your time, get comfortable and compose yourself.
- Ask the panel to explain or reword a question if you don’t understand it.
- Ask for extra time to answer a question if you need it.
- Keep good eye contact and don’t rush your answers – be concise.
How Can You Prepare?
Prepare an opening statement. It’s commonplace for interviewers to ask open-ended questions like “tell us a bit about yourself” or “why should we employ you”. Prepare a reply that covers not only your professional life but also a bit about your personal life. It’s important the interviewer feels they have gotten to know you.
Learn about the area. Familiarise yourself with the area you’ll be interviewing for, understand the kind of patients or clients they look after and if possible arrange a visit to the area prior to interviewing.
Read up about the trust. Have a knowledge of recent incidents or feedback as well as any awards or commendations the trust or area has been given.
Demonstrate common sense. It is likely your interview will include scenario-based questions and it’s just as important to demonstrate common sense as well as clinical skills. Don’t be afraid to say things like ‘I’d ask the patient‘ or ‘I’d speak to the family‘.
Principles, values and behaviors. Demonstrate you are a trustworthy, respectable person with a caring attitude. Read these ‘Values and Behaviors’ documents by University Hospitals Bristol, Guys and St. Thomas and Nottingham University Hospitals – trusts pride themselves on providing patient-centered and holistic care.
Know the 6 C’s. Care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment. You can read the full NHS England document here.
Use keywords or phrases. You can score essential points in your interview simply by using phrases like; “I work well within a team”, “I’ll always seek advice from a more senior nurse when I’m unsure”, “I can prioritise my workload” and “I have good communication skills.
Tell them about your areas of interest. If you have a keen interest in core areas like end of life care, infection control or tissue viability mention these at interview and demonstrate you would be keen to take up link-roles.
“What would you do if…”. These questions can he hard to prepare for but remember to demonstrate common sense and show your principles, values and behaviors. Usual topics will include the identification and management of a septic patient, dealing with confused patients, speaking to patients wanting to self-discharge, identifying safeguarding concerns and the management of dementia or delirium.
The Quality Care Commission and the Francis Report. Have awareness about the role of the CQC. Understand the recommendations that were made in the Francis Report and the implications it had on healthcare.
Prepare questions to ask. Show your keen and have two or three questions prepared to ask.
Although you should take your portfolio, have important documents at the front, it is unlikely the interviewer will have time to look through it all.
These tips are for ‘Band 5’ Staff Nurse role and should be used as a loose guide only, it is likely you will be asked questions specific to the trust or area you will be working in.
Finally, don’t over prepare and good luck!
Former student nurses share their top money-saving tips
“A nursing degree is very different to most undergraduate courses.”
Direct from former student nurses, the Student Money Guide is packed with useful tips.
New nursing students should claim fuel reimbursements, car share, compare markets and supermarkets and seek second-hand textbooks to make their student funding, and part-time wages go as far as possible, updated advice from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) says.
The College’s latest Student Money Guide for nursing is packed with useful information on childcare, travel expenses, charitable funding and tips for those moving into private rented accommodation.
The top money-saving tips.
Direct from former student nurses, the guide offers some top money-saving tips, which include;
- Develop a good relationship with your bank – meet and go through all the options and accounts which will save you most money and give you the best interest rates
- Use online materials, the RCN Library for example, instead of buying textbooks – If you do buy them, try advertising on university notice boards for second-hand copies, or, have a look at www.abebooks.co.uk. Use cashback websites, such as Quidco, when making purchases.
- Get a Young Persons Rail Card if you spend over £72 a year on rail travel – all full-time students are eligible, regardless of age.
- Claim fuel reimbursement if you drive further to placement than to university – it is offered, so you might as well.
- Be penny-wise, seek out free pickings – go to sites like Freecycle for free furniture, kitchenware and bicycles.
- Check out your local discount warehouses for basics, cleaning products, toilet rolls, washing powder and buy these as a household to split the cost of a bulk buy – it is well worth it.
- Share lifts to placement and do food shops with fellow students.
- Make sure your supermarket shop is cheapest – check online comparison sites like mysupermarket.com ahead of your shop.
- Use your local butchers and market.
- Take a packed lunch and ﬂask to university – you will save a small fortune and probably eat better.
Nursing is different to other degree courses.
Claire Cannings, Senior Welfare Adviser commented: “A nursing degree is very different to most undergraduate courses. The placement element means there is less time for part-time work, and the long shifts mean childcare and travel is often more expensive.
“Fluency with finances, brilliance with budgeting and keeping clued-up on things complimentary can pay dividends. This can, in turn, impact positively on study and well-being through a student’s learning years and beyond. It’s amazing how many grants and funds students are entirely unaware of which is why we’ve collated all the information they need in one place.
“While the RCN will still be making the case to Government to invest in nursing education, we hope the guide will continue to be a valuable resource to our current and potential members.”
Induction framework for General Practice Nurses launched
It also provides guidance for practices employing General Practice Nurses.
The document provides a framework for both new and experienced general practice nurses.
NHS England, in collaboration with The QNI, has launched a new Induction Template for General Practice Nursing.
The Induction Template is has been designed to enable employers to ensure that nurses in a first career destination role in General Practice are well supported when taking their first career step in primary care.
Not just useful for newly qualified nurses, the 51-page document provides an induction framework for all new general practice nurses, enabling them to develop key skills required for the role.
It also provides guidance for practices employing General Practice Nurses.
Nursing associates, health care assistants and student nurses preparing for a primary care placement may also find the template useful.
A great start to a long and exciting career’.
The author of the document, Queen’s Nurse and experienced nursing mentor and educator, Sharon Aldridge-Bent said; “Developing this template highlighted the urgent need for a comprehensive induction and orientation programme for all nurses new to general practice.
“This most certainly will assist with recruitment and retention of nurses in the primary care setting.”
Paul Vaughan, Head of Nursing Now England, responsible for the delivery of the GPN Ten Point Plan, said: “this new resource will enable employers to ensure they provide nurses new to general practice with a really good experience of working in the sector and ensure they have a great start to their long and exciting career working general practice.”
The resource underpinned by General Practice – developing confidence, capability and capacity – A ten-point action plan for General Practice Nursing (2017) contributes towards the overall strategic goals outlined in the General Practice Five Year Forward View.
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