Many schools do not require an interview before getting into them. The only thing that you have to do is to pass exams and get in. However, this is not so for a nursing school as you will have to answer some questions in an interview.
Like job interviews, nursing school interviews are always important and intensive. Thus, it requires careful preparation. A nursing school interview is a final step that the admissions committee takes before giving provisional admission to successful applicants.
Why do nursing schools grant interviews to applicants? The number of applications that nursing schools receive usually exceeds the number of available slots. Therefore, the need for an interview to get the best students for these open slots.
Additionally, nursing school interviews let the admissions committee know an applicant’s values since a good nurse must have the right attitude, personality, and work ethic.
For this reason, you need to prepare very well by practicing with nursing school interview questions. The interview may come in a traditional one-on-one interview, an MMI Interview (Multiple Mini Interview), an interview with a panel of experts, etc.
So, if you are applying to a nursing school, we have compiled the top and most common questions you will face in your interview. You will also find expert tips on how to answer the questions.
How do I prepare for a nursing school interview?
Many individuals do not have the right values to pursue a career in nursing. To become a nurse, you must scale through some hurdles including courses, clinical, and exams. You cannot get close to passing these hurdles if you do not pass a nursing school interview.
Passing a nursing school interview requires a proper preparation. Therefore, below are the expert tips you should follow in order to prepare very well and answer the questions that will come your way in your nursing school interview.
1. Research the program
The first step towards preparing for an interview is by conducting research on the program or organization. Besides, you do not know who will be interviewing you or what the person may examine.
The interview will appreciate it if you are familiar with the program. If you show that you are familiar with the program, it will be a major boost for you. You can be familiar with the program by carrying out research. With the information acquired, you can tell your interviewer why you are interested in their school.
2. Expect possible questions
While you may be asked a few unforeseen questions, there are common questions that you should expect in your nursing school interview. The possible questions you should expect include:
- Why do you want to become a nurse?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Give your reasons for choosing this program
- What differentiates you from others?
The answers you will provide to these questions will enable the interviewer to know if you are a good fit for the program. While answering these questions, keep in mind that every good nurse must have the right attitude, personality, and work ethic.
3. Practice applying creativity to your answers
Keep in mind that your interviewer may know most of the rehearsed answers that applicants give during interviews. There are high chances that you will be asked “why do you want to be a nurse”. So, try and be creative when giving your answer. Do not give the normal generic answer that nursing applicants rehearse.
4. Think about the future
The admission committee may like to know about your short and long-term goals. They may also want to know if the applicant would like to specialize in a specific field of nursing or not further at all after graduation.
Try and draft a five-year plan and accompany it with future goals, specialties, and community programs. It is possible that your plans may change in the future but giving the admissions committee this answer will let them know that you are actually serious about taking nursing as a profession.
5. Be yourself
Many applicants are usually uptight during interviews. Allow your unique personality to shine by adding a bit of humor while answering questions from the interviewer. This will make you to stand out from other applicants as interviewers are used to conducting stale interviews.
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Top Nursing School Interview Questions
Interviewers usually ask a lot of questions in a nursing school interview. After carrying out surveys in many nursing schools, we have come up with the top and most common questions you may encounter in your nursing school interview.
The most common nursing school interview questions include:
1. Tell me about yourself
The “Tell me about yourself ” question is usually the first and most common question that interviewers ask. While the question may not be too clear, the interviewer wants to see what comes to your mind when faced with an uncertain request.
In most cases, answers that people give to this question are unique based on their own experiences and values.
When answering this question, make sure that you do not recite the information on your application or CV. Instead, use the opportunity to tell the interviewer the story of who you really are.
In addition, make your answer to be concise. Make sure that you take between 3 – 4 minutes to answer this question. If your answer lasts beyond this duration, you may risk losing the attention of your interviewer. So, manage your time well and tell your interviewer who you are and what you wish to become as you pursue the nursing program.
2. Why do you want to be a nurse?
Interviewers ask this question to examine your priorities and reasons for pursuing the program to become a nurse. They also want to know how much you have thought about choosing the profession.
To answer the question, you should first know why you want to pursue a nursing degree. Let your reason not be that you want to pursue the dreams that your parents have for you. You can say that you always have the burning desire to help anyone that is suffering.
Alternatively, you can say that you always aspire to work in a global not-for-profit organization like the Red Cross. You have to show the interviewers that you are highly motivated by the work and ideals of nursing.
3. Why did you choose our institution?
Applicants usually have a strong reason for choosing a particular institution for studies. The reason could be the reputation of the school, standard of programs, campus life, alumni network, location, etc.
No matter your reason for choosing to study in the school, tell the interviewers your real reason. It is very necessary that while giving them your reasons, you heap praises on the institution. Of course, every school wants to hear people praise them.
4. What are your core values?
This question looks very simple but it may be difficult for you to answer correctly. On many occasions, some people do not even know their values. So, the admissions committee would like to know if you have the right values for the profession.
Generally, professions in the health care field like nursing require values including love, empathy, faith, compassion, hope, effective communication, etc. Make sure that you list these values before your interviewer.
5. Can you work for long hours?
Nurses usually work for long shift hours and they complain about it. Interviewers ask this question to know your opinion on the negative side-effects of having nurses work for long hours without rest.
The question is very technical and as such, you need to approach it with a very good strategy. Ensure to show the admissions committee that you have thought about the challenges of the profession before deciding to pursue it.
While you have a passion for the job, you will face many challenges that may want to call for regrets. You need to show your interviewer that you have devised a means to tackle the stress that comes with the job. Show them that you are ready for this!
6. Why should we admit you to nursing school?
Nursing schools do receive many applications that even exceed the number of open slots for each academic year. So, what can actually make you stand out from other applicants is what the admissions committee wants to know when they ask this question.
To answer this question, outline your abilities and strengths that make you the best fit for the nursing program at the institution. You may also express humility by telling them that you do not know whether you are better than the other applicants, but you have a strong desire to become a nurse. It has always been your childhood dream.
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7. Nursing studies are hard and time demanding. Are you ready to handle that? What are you willing to sacrifice?
According to reports, 25 percent of nursing students do not complete their programs. It is quite surprising that these numbers do not drop because of exam failure. These students drop out because of unwanted pregnancies and lack of funds to continue their education.
To answer this question, show the admissions committee that you understand the difficulties that you will face in order to succeed. Tell them that you will devote yourself fully to the nursing program. You may also tell them that you have talked to other nursing students and they have advised you on how to succeed in school.
8. Nursing comprises inter-professional collaboration and teamwork. Describe a time when you worked as part of a highly diverse team.
Like other professions, the field of nursing requires one to work closely with other health care professionals. Interviewers ask this question to know more about your history and see if it coincides with a certain quality (collaboration and teamwork) that is highly required in the field.
Be honest when sharing your experience and show the values and challenges of diversity. Outline the ways that diverse views and methods can make a team stronger. You should also mention ways in which different views can be respectfully navigated while working closely with other professionals in the field.
9. Describe one of the biggest health care challenges facing us today. How can we resolve it?
Presently, the biggest challenge facing the health care field is the COVID-19. Preventing the coronavirus from spreading continuously is the biggest challenge facing the world. Many people die on a daily basis all over the world after contracting the COVID-19.
While people are being vaccinated, there is no real cure for the virus. A drawback to this issue is that many people cannot afford the common treatment. Another downside is that some people do not want to take the vaccine to protect themselves from the virus.
To resolve this problem, people should exercise safety measures including vaccination, wearing nose masks in public enclosures, and maintaining social distancing in public places.
10. How do you handle an aggressive patient?
Interviewers know that the nursing profession requires a lot of tolerance and patience. The reason is that nurses administer patient care to people with different temperaments. On some occasions, nurses meet calm patients, and on other occasions, they meet aggressive ones.
To answer this question, tell the admissions committee that one of the best ways to handle aggressive patients is to avoid arguing with them. Rather, listen to them and handle the situation with calmness and patience. While this may sound easy, it is difficult to handle when the chips are down because you may be forced to lose your cool.
Show empathy to them as their aggressive nature could be a result of their condition. Reply to any questions asked with calmness and cheerfulness.
These may not be the exact questions you may expect to see, but you can be sure 50 to 60 percent of the questions you’ll be asked will someway revolve around these questions here. So you can be sure to be at least 60 percent ready when you practice and master these questions.
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