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10 Most Common Nursing University Interview Questions and Model Answers

Advice & Insight From Nursing Interview Specialists

Interviews for Nursing can cover challenging topics. Here, we present 10 of the most common questions and answers suitable for candidates to Nursing schools. You can find more questions in our Nursing MMI Question Bank.

Motivation for Nursing

Why have you chosen to pursue a career in nursing?

My decision to pursue a career in nursing has always felt like a calling rather than a choice. From a young age, I’ve been deeply drawn to helping others and making a tangible difference in people’s lives. As I grew older, this passion guided me towards the healthcare field. In nursing, I see an opportunity to combine my natural empathy and people skills with medical knowledge and clinical skills, to provide holistic care to patients. Beyond the personal fulfilment, I am inspired by the versatility and potential for continual learning that nursing offers. The role of a nurse is fundamental in healthcare and provides the unique opportunity to offer support, solace, and treatment to patients in their most vulnerable times.

What areas of nursing are you most interested in, and why?

One area of nursing that deeply resonates with me is paediatric nursing. I’ve always been drawn to children, and the idea of providing medical care to those in such a delicate phase of life is very appealing. Children have unique needs and often do not understand why they are feeling unwell, which can be distressing for them and their families. I want to be there to reassure, comfort, and provide the best possible care. Additionally, I am interested in exploring mental health nursing. With increasing awareness about mental health, I feel there’s a growing need for nurses specialised in this field. It would allow me to use my empathy and understanding to support patients through challenging times while working towards reducing the stigma associated with mental health.

How do you plan to use your nursing degree in your career?

With my nursing degree, I envision making a substantive impact on individual patients and the wider healthcare community. My immediate aspiration is to apply the practical skills and theoretical knowledge I acquire during my degree to provide compassionate, effective care. I am particularly interested in working in a challenging and dynamic environment like an Accident and Emergency department, where I can make immediate differences to patients in critical situations.

As I grow in my profession, I’m eager to explore opportunities for specialisation. Given my interest in mental health and paediatrics, I might aim for further qualifications to become a specialist nurse in one of these fields. This would allow me to deepen my impact in areas of healthcare that are both personally meaningful and of great societal importance.

Beyond direct patient care, I see myself eventually moving into roles that influence healthcare delivery at a larger scale. This might involve managerial positions that enable me to implement policies enhancing patient care or staff working conditions. I’m also interested in potential opportunities in healthcare research, with an aim to contribute to advancements in nursing best practices. My overarching goal is to use my degree as a foundation to build a diverse and meaningful nursing career that impacts individual lives and contributes to improvements in the wider healthcare system.

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Personal Attributes

Can you describe a situation where you demonstrated compassion?

Volunteering at a local care home for the elderly provided an opportunity for me to demonstrate compassion. There was a resident named Dorothy who was often lonely as her family lived far away and visited infrequently. One day, I noticed that she seemed particularly upset. I decided to sit with her, and we had a long conversation. She shared stories from her past and expressed her feelings of loneliness and isolation. Listening attentively to her, offering a comforting presence and validating her feelings, I believe, demonstrated compassion. This experience has stayed with me and affirmed the importance of emotional care in healthcare professions. It’s not just about tending to physical ailments; it’s also about empathising with patients and their experiences.

How do you handle stress, particularly in high-pressure situations?

In high-pressure situations, I use a combination of effective time management and mindfulness techniques to handle stress. For example, during my A-levels, balancing rigorous academics with extracurricular activities was challenging. However, by prioritising tasks, maintaining an organised schedule, and taking regular short breaks for relaxation, I was able to manage my responsibilities effectively. Mindfulness techniques such as deep-breathing exercises helped me remain calm and focused. I understand that nursing can be highly stressful, and I’m prepared to apply and further develop these strategies to maintain my wellbeing and deliver high-quality patient care.

Can you give an example of when you had to work as part of a team to achieve a common goal?

As part of the school’s fundraising team, we were tasked with organising a charity event. We had to work cohesively to ensure its success. My role involved liaising with local businesses for sponsorship while also coordinating with the school’s art club for the event’s decorations. It required clear communication, collaboration, and mutual respect amongst all team members. We held regular meetings to update each other on our progress, discuss challenges, and brainstorm solutions. The event was a success, raising a significant sum for our chosen charity. This experience reinforced the importance of teamwork in achieving a common goal, a value I plan to bring to my nursing career where interdisciplinary teamwork is key.

 

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Ethics & Situational Judgement

Imagine you disagree with a decision made by a senior nurse or doctor. How would you handle this?

If I disagreed with a decision made by a senior healthcare professional, I would first ensure my concerns are valid and not based on a misunderstanding. If I still had concerns, I would approach them privately, expressing my views respectfully, and suggesting alternative strategies or solutions. I would frame it as seeking their perspective rather than outright disagreement. If my concerns were not addressed and I believed patient safety was at risk, I would escalate the issue to a higher authority in line with the whistleblowing policy.

A patient you are treating confides in you that they're not adhering to their prescribed medication regimen. How would you manage this situation?

If a patient told me they were not adhering to their prescribed medication, I would first reassure them that they can speak honestly without fear of judgement. I’d then inquire about their reasons – maybe they’re experiencing side effects or find the regimen complex. This information would allow me to address their specific barriers, either by providing further education or liaising with the prescriber to discuss potential modifications. Above all, I’d emphasise the importance of adhering to their regimen for their health and recovery.

How would you handle a situation where a patient's family disagrees with the proposed treatment plan?

Navigating disagreements between medical professionals and a patient’s family requires empathy, communication, and negotiation. I would start by listening attentively to the family’s concerns to understand their viewpoint. Next, I would reiterate the treatment plan, emphasizing why it’s the recommended course and how it benefits the patient. Where possible, I might bring in a senior colleague to provide further clarity or reassurance. If the disagreement persists, I’d discuss with the healthcare team the feasibility of exploring alternative treatment options that align more closely with the family’s views, without compromising the patient’s wellbeing.

Describe a time you had to adhere to a policy or guideline you disagreed with. How did you handle it, and what was the outcome?

In my part-time job at a retail store, a new policy was implemented that required all employees to work at least one weekend shift per month. Initially, I disagreed with it as it impacted my study schedule. However, I understood that the policy aimed to ensure fair scheduling for all employees. I decided to comply and adapted my study schedule accordingly. It taught me that sometimes policies and guidelines are implemented for the greater good, even if they may seem inconvenient at the individual level. As a nurse, I anticipate there may be policies I don’t personally agree with, but I understand the importance of adhering to them for consistent and high-quality patient care.

 
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