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Nursing University Interviews: The Complete Guide

Advice & Insight From Nursing Interview Specialists

​What Happens at a University Interview for Nursing?

This depends on the university, and you will need to think about each one individually. Expect either a traditional 1-1 interview, a group interview or activity, assessment day, or a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format (either in person or online). You may also be expected to attend an assessment day to sit English and Numerical aptitude tests beforehand, or the interviews and tests may be performed on the same day. Regardless of format, the goal of the university will be the same; to check that you fit the profile that they are looking for. They may focus on your personal statement, your motivation for studying nursing, previous experience with nursing or other care, and your understanding of the profession and all that goes with it. Most of the more prestigious universities currently use either a 1-1 interview or a small panel format (with the applicant sitting either one or two interviews). Often, the interviews are part of a day that includes lectures or group introductions to the university, meaning that you are able to learn more about studying there alongside doing your interviews.

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​What Questions Will You Be Asked at a Nursing University Interview?

You will need to practice a range of questions and ensure that you are confident in answering them. They can be divided into character, communication, knowledge of nursing, empathy, and ethics. Some of the most common questions from each section are as follows.

Character:

  • Why do you want to be a nurse?
  • Talk us through your personal statement.
  • What character traits are most important to a nurse?
  • What relevant experiences have you had?
  • What skills do you have that are useful for a nurse?
  • Why have you chosen nursing over another career that helps people, like being a doctor or policeman?

 
Communication:

  • Tell us about how teams work in healthcare.
  • Tell us about when you worked well as part of a team.
  • Are you a good team player or a good leader?
  • Can you tell us about a time when your ability to communicate proved useful?

 
Knowledge of Nursing

  • What differentiates nursing from other professions in healthcare?
  • What does a Nurse do?
  • Tell us about the Nursing Code of Practice.
  • What issues are there surrounding Nursing in the news at the moment?
  • What general healthcare issues are in the news currently?
  • What challenges do nurses face?

 
Empathy

  • What is the difference between empathy and sympathy?
  • How would you cope with the death of a patient that you had cared for?
  • Tell us why empathy is so important for a nurse.

 
Ethics

  • Should nurses be allowed to strike?
  • Should euthanasia be legal?
  • Should your religious views alter the care that you give?

​How to Pass a Nursing Interview?

Passing an interview starts long before the interview itself, with good preparation.
 
Spend time thinking about your experience, and how best to describe it and show your learning from it. Clarify why you want to be a nurse, and begin researching the field in detail. Research current healthcare news, the state of the profession, current challenges, and how it fits into modern medicine.
 
Look into career progression, and where you would like to specialise. Consider the traits you will need to get there, in detail, and connect them to yourself – ensure that you can prove that you fit the profile.
 
Look into the university that you are interviewing at, and do so in detail. Why does their specific course appeal to you? If you can show that you understand the exact aims of their course, and that you are passionate about them, then you will be able to set yourself apart from many of the other interviewees. Research the geographical area as well – the hospitals that you will be at, and the city itself.
 
Learn your personal statement inside out. Ensure that you are confident on all facets of it, and can sell yourself well when asked about it.
 
Familiarise yourself with the types of questions that are likely to be asked, and develop good responses for each. There are a limited amount of questions that can typically be asked – after a certain point, they will begin to overlap. Therefore, if you have a good base for each question, you will be able to deploy these answers in some form during your interview.
 
On the day of the interview, ensure you are well dressed, have all relevant paperwork, are on time and know where you are going. Nerves are completely normal, and assessors will look beyond them, to the content of what you are saying. Be polite, listen carefully, and ask questions when prompted. If there are team working tasks, make sure to participate actively, but not to talk over others.


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​What Should I Wear to a Nursing University Interview?

Wear professional attire. Don’t wear heavy makeup, or anything that stands out too much. The key is to look competent and mature. Don’t wear anything that you feel is too uncomfortable, or too far removed from your idea of ‘you.’ For women, you could wear a blazer and trousers, or a plain skirt and jumper. Wear flats. For men, wear a suit, or suit trousers and shirt.

​Good Questions to Ask at a University Interview

This is your chance to show that you are enthusiastic, eager to learn, and interested in the course or the university. Your questions should be genuine, but also show that you have the traits they need, and have researched the university already.
 
Some example questions:

  • Can you tell me a bit about the elective system here? I’m really keen to follow up on the Addiction volunteering I did before, and saw that you offer us the chance to choose our own 6 week placement in third year.
  • Are there opportunities to get involved in any research?
  • I read on the website that the students take an active part in structuring the course, and they work with lecturers on this. Can you tell me a bit about that?
  • I read that patients and carers are involved in the course here. How does that work?

Can you tell me a bit more about the chances we get to work with patients in the first year?

Further Reading....

Nursing University Interviews: The Complete Guide

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