Nursing School Interview Hot Topic: Careers in Nursing


There are many different places that your Nursing degree could take you. If you want to stand out at your interview, you could explain that, whilst you understand that your opinion might change during your studies, you are especially interested in a given area or areas. This will illustrate that you have researched the profession thoroughly, and that you have ambition in a certain area. This article provides an insight into some of the most common areas that you could specialise in as a nurse. Alongside these roles, you could also think about becoming a Nurse Practitioner, through working and gaining experience as a nurse, gaining a Masters Degree and becoming an independent prescriber.

​Theatre Nurse

Theatre nurses support patients and surgeons throughout the surgical process. This can involve prepping the patient for surgery, helping with the administration and maintenance of anaesthesia, being involved during the surgery, or helping with the recovery of a patient. It is a varied role that has a good amount of structure, although you must be prepared to spend long periods of time in the operating theatre.

Intensive Care Nurse

Intensive care nurses work in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and provide care to critically ill patients. You may also work in a Surgical ICU or Trauma ICU. Whilst you will support fewer patients than you would on a general surgical or medical ward, you will find that the serious nature of the conditions makes this job intense and high-pressure. You should consider this field if you are highly resilient and work well in tough conditions.

A&E Nurse

A&E Nurses, as the name suggests, work in the emergency department of hospitals, and are the nurses that you have met if you have been taken to an Accident and Emergency department. They are normally the first point of contact for patients, meaning that this is a high pressure role that can involve both performing initial assessments and creating an initial treatment plan. Your role is also to make patients feel comfortable, to calm them down and to reassure them – they often might be scared by what has just happened to them. There is a scarcity of A&E nurses at the moment, so if this description appeals to you, then you could help the NHS by becoming one.

Palliative Care Nurse

Palliative care nurses work to support terminally ill patients – the care of whom is called palliation. Your focus will be on relieving pain, relieving anxiety and stress, and trying to provide comfort. You must work carefully to keep patients comfortable whilst not over-sedating them, you must have a great ability to work with people, to show empathy, and to be compassionate, and you must be able to provide emotional support to friends and family as well as to the patient.

Practice Nurse

A practice nurse will work at a GP surgery, being part of the primary care team. They often work alone, although they could work with other nurses, pharmacists or other allied health professionals, depending on the size of the practice. You should expect to deal with routine treatments and assessments, but to be able to see a variety of patients and quite possibly have a true continuity of care with them.

District Nurse

A district nurse is able to visit people in their homes, assess their health and monitor their care. Typically they will deal with elderly patients. You might find yourself spending as much time talking to patients, and explaining aspects of their condition or treatment plan, as you do on clinical work itself.

Research Nurse

Research nurses assist in, or lead, the creation of scientific research. You may work in a number of settings – like a hospital, a laboratory, or a university – and find yourself doing anything from planning a study, to assisting in the running of a test, to helping analyse the results of an experiment.

Potential questions which may be asked in the interview

  • What do you want to do in the future?
  • Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  • What specialties are you aware of?
  • What does a research nurse do?
  • What environments do nurses work in?
  • What jobs allow a nurse to work outside a hospital?
  • What is a nurse practitioner?
  • What is a district nurse?

How to answer questions on this topic

Research each area, and speak to people working in as many as possible. When you believe an area is the one you might want to work in, try to speak further to people in that field. Research what a typical day is like, and how to succeed in it. Check that your characteristics match what you would need to succeed, and reflect on how you might best prepare yourself for it.

Further Reading....

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