Nursing University Interview Questions and Answers

Advice & Insight From Nursing Interview Specialists

Below are five Nursing University Interview Scenarios which are based on Interview cases that have been used at Nursing Universities as part of the interview selection process. We would recommend that you practice the scenarios before reviewing the answers, comparing your performance with that of an ‘average’ and ‘excellent’ Nursing applicant.

​Nursing University Interview Scenario 1

What are the 6Cs of nursing, and which would you regard to be the most important? 

Average Candidate Response:
The 6Cs of nursing are care, compassion, courage, communication and competence. I believe that they are all important in there own setting and a good nurse requires all of these qualities.

Excellent Candidate Response
The 6Cs of nursing are care, compassion, courage, communication and competence. I regard each of these values as being extremely important in the nursing profession; however, I would regard ‘care’ as being the most important, and one that forms the basis of these other principles. By definition, a nurse is “a person trained to care for the sick or infirm”, and thus has a duty to look after and ‘care’ for patients. The basis of treating patients is making sure they are restored to good health – to achieve this we must care for and protect them from harm.

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Nursing University Interview Scenario 2

Content modified from www.diabetesdaily.com

Average Candidate Response
  • This graph shows that diabetic individuals have higher blood sugars than non-diabetic individuals at baseline and after meals.

Excellent Candidate Response

Excellent candidates will use the ‘BlackStone Tutors Six Point Approach for MMI Data Analysis’ 

  1. Data Title (if present)
  2. ‘x’ axis and ‘y’ axis
  3. Graphical/tabular progression shown
  4. Physiological correlation (How can this pattern be explained biologically?)
  5. Anomolies/additional information of note
  6. Critical analysis of data/data source

‘This is a graph comparing mealtime blood sugars in a diabetic and non-diabetic individual. On the ‘x’ axis is the time in hours with blood sugars represented on the ‘y’ axis. The time ‘0’ is likely to signify the commencement of mealtime. The graph shows that at baseline, diabetic individuals, represented by the red line have higher blood sugars than non-diabetic individuals, who are represented by the blue line. Additionally, in response to food, diabetic individuals demonstrate a greater rise in blood sugar compared to non-diabetic individuals with peaks of 215 and 140 respectively. Thereafter the normalisation of blood sugars in non-diabetic individuals takes a maximum of two hours to return to baseline, compared to almost six hours in diabetic individuals.

​The higher baseline blood sugar and slower return to normal levels in diabetics can be explained by an absolute deficiency of insulin in Type 1 Diabetics and a relative insensitivity to insulin in Type 2 Diabetics. With insulin’s important role in lowering blood sugars through transport of sugars into storage organs and conversion of glucose to glycogen, an absolute or relative lack of insulin will result in generally higher blood sugars.

There are no anomalies demonstrated, and the data is from a reputable source (Diabetes Daily), however it would be beneficial to note the units used to measure blood sugars on the ‘y’ axis.’

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Nursing University Interview Scenario 3

You are a third year nursing student on a paediatric rotation. After the ward round, one of your long-term patients (Alison, 9 years old) confides in you that Dr Patin (Consultant Paediatrician) touched her inappropriately yesterday. Alison requests that you promise not to tell anyone about your discussion.

Outline what actions you would take in this scenario.

​​​This is a somewhat challenging scenario which raises potential safeguarding concerns. With patients often more comfortable confiding in medical students, such a case could well be encountered during early clinical exposure:

Average Candidate Response

  • I have a duty of confidentiality towards all patients, and hence I would not tell anyone about Alison’s disclosure.
  • It is possible that Alison is mistaken (given her age) and it is highly unlikely that the consultant would act in this way.
  • I would discuss the accusations with Dr Patin directly; provided that he can provide a reasonable justification, I would not pursue the matter any further.

Excellent Candidate Response:

I understand that in possible safeguarding cases where children or vulnerable adults are involved, I have a duty to investigate this further and that duty over-rides my duty of confidentiality. It would be important to explain to Alison that whilst we take confidentiality very seriously, in cases such as this it is important to investigate the matter further to prevent future similar episodes not only towards Alison but also potentially towards other patients.

I would explore the hospital safeguarding policy, and consider discussing my concerns with the safeguarding lead for the hospital. I would also try to establish from Alison if there was anyone else present at the time of the incident, potentially discussing the incident further with them, as well as trying to discreetly establish if any other patients have been similarly affected.

Having not encountered such a case previously, it would likely be beneficial to request advice from my educational/clinical supervisor, in identifying what additional measures need to be taken.

​Nursing University Interview Scenario 4

A patient is to be given 660ml of a medication by intravenous infusion using a controller with a drip factor of 13 drops/ml. The medication is to be given over a 6 hour period. What would you set the drip rate to (to the nearest whole number)?

Worked Solution:

660ml needs to be given over 6 hours
110 ml needs to be given over 1 hour

110ml = 1,430 drops (per hour)

= 23.83 drops/minute
= 24 drops/minute (to the nearest whole number)

​Nursing University Interview Scenario 5

How is a nurse different to a healthcare assistant?

Average Candidate Response:
Nurses have a more specialised role than healthcare assistants; whilst HCAs can take observations and blood tests, nurses are more involved in the interpretation and application of the findings.

Excellent Candidate Approach
Both of these professions involve caring for and attending to patients’ needs, and thus require empathy and compassion. However, nurses have a more specialised role than healthcare assistants, who are involved in the general looking after and care of patients. Nurses carry out duties that include the administration of medication, and the monitoring of patients’ statuses, in addition to assessing vital signs or carrying out physical examinations. Nurses are also responsible for attending to minor physical injuries that do not require surgery, an example being the management of wounds or burns.

There is also a greater role for specialisation as a nurse, and this can range from being an asthma nurse specialist to a heart failure nurse specialist. Unfortunately, there isn’t this same scope as a HCA. Nonetheless, Healthcare assistants play an important role in looking after the general wellbeing of patients. This can involve taking observations, washing and dressing patients, serving meals and making beds, amongst other things. Ultimately, healthcare assistants are key in ensuring patients are comfortable when staying at hospital as well as facilitating the work of nurses and doctors.

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Nursing University Interview Questions and Answers

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