As a prospective student with a nursing school interview on the horizon, there’s no doubt you’ve experienced some pre-interview jitters. Interviewing for anything is always somewhat stress-inducing, and when nursing school admissions are on the line, well, the pressure is on. But don’t panic yet, with a few deep breathes, some good advice, and a lot of practice, you’ll be well on your way to that coveted nursing degree you’ve dreamt of. To help you get there, we’ve complied some of the most frequently asked nursing school interview questions with expert advice on answering them.
Although it isn’t exactly a question, it’s probably the most common way to initiate an interview. The interviewer is trying to learn more about you and your background, so it’s smart to prepare your answer ahead of time.
The key to responding to this is to tell your story, not to list your history. Your story will be unique, and should add value to your application. Tell the interviewer about your background, what you have accomplished, and what motivated your decisions throughout the major points in your life. You should prepare your response ahead of time and have a good idea of what you are going to say, as it will help the interviewer form an opinion of who you are and why you’re eager to get into nursing school.
Why do you want to be a nurse?
This is another common question that you are very likely to be asked. The interviewer may try some variation, such as asking what motivated you in previous jobs, what you’ve done for volunteer work, or other questions that focus on your motivations.
When you answer this question, focus on the ways in which you’ll positively impact other people. While nursing is a financially rewarding job and may bring certain personal benefits, your answer should focus on your desire to help other people. You will need to be specific about what motivates you; wanting to help others is very generic and your interviewer will have heard that answer a million times. One effective way to answer this question is to recount a personal story about a time a nurse impacted you or when you encountered someone with an illness and realized the difference that a competent nurse can make. This is a very important question to answer confidently, so have your answer prepared ahead of time.
What do you think about the negative aspects of nursing?
Your interviewer can ask this several ways, whether it’s how you will handle having to work holidays, if you can handle long hours, or if you think the emotional stress of nursing will be difficult.
The interviewer will be testing to see if you have thought about how difficult nursing is and if you will be able to handle the stress of the career and the stress of nursing school. Your answer should address that you have thought about the difficulties of nursing. You can then address how you are resilient by giving a good example. You can also approach the question by talking about how you think it will be worth the sacrifice and can restate your reason for wanting to be a nurse.
What kind of team member are you?
Nursing is a team-oriented profession and being able to function as a part of a team is essential to your success. Your interviewer will want to know how you perform as part of a team. It’s unlikely that they will ask you this question specifically, but they will ask some variation, such as asking you to recount a time that you had a conflict with a team member or what is difficult about being part of a team.
Focus on answering the specific question asked, using examples that promote your positive qualities as a team member. Discuss what you believe is important to working as a team and consider discussing how you are trying to further develop your skills as a team member.
What are your views on [controversial topic]?
This question could be about abortion, euthanasia, or another controversial topic. Nurses encounter a variety of ethical conflicts and the interviewer will want to see how you would address ethical conflicts.
The key to answering this question well is to frame the question by addressing both opinions and recognizing the pros and cons of each side. Once you have demonstrated that you are able to see both perspectives on the topic, you can then discuss which one you agree with. Be sure to avoid the temptation to put down the other perspective, especially if it’s a topic that you feel strongly about.
What is your biggest weakness?
No one likes this question, so interviewers like to ask it. This helps them to better understand how you see yourself and if you are introspective about your abilities and limitations.
You should pick a weakness that you have and address it. Denying that you have weaknesses shows that you do not understand your own limitations. It’s also important to choose the right kind of weakness. Telling your interviewer your weakness is that you are always late will not do your application any good. Choose something relatively benign, but that could still be considered a weakness is the best move when answering this question. Be sure when you discuss a weakness that you end with how you are working on your weakness and give specific examples of how you’re working to address it.
Why are you interested in our nursing program?
The interviewer may ask this question to better understand your motivations and how invested you are in applying to their specific school. Many applicants have applied to several schools, and the school they are interviewing at is just one particular option.
When you answer this question, be sure not to give the impression that this school is just an option that you are pursuing because they might let you in. Come prepared with at least three things about the school that appeal to you and try to be specific. It’s always good to show the interviewer that you’ve done a fair amount of research on the institution.
Nursing school is just the first step toward a rewarding and exciting career in healthcare. Conquering your nursing school interview is only the first hurdle you’ll have to clear on your way to your dream career helping others, so stay calm, be confident, keep practicing!