The dreaded nursing school interview. Meeting with an admissions committee to see if they will be admitted to their top-choice program is nerve-racking for many. After all, the panel is essentially determining how your future will unfold. We don’t know what will stress a student out more than that.
Today, the competition for admission to nursing school is, to put it mildly, fierce. Many people find this shocking, especially given that the United States will require over a million new registered nurses by 2022. This is in addition to the estimated 3.9 million nurses (and midwives) in the country right now.
Even though there is a severe shortage of nurses, qualified applicants are not always admitted to nursing school. In 2017, 56,000 students were denied admission. That’s a frightening figure.
That doesn’t mean nursing students should panic. Instead, it means that you must be prepared to shine during your nursing school interview.
You increase your chances of standing out for all the right reasons if you nail your nurse school interview questions. You can demonstrate why you are an excellent addition to any nursing program with some research and practice.
So, how do you ensure that you are prepared?
To begin, spend time learning about common nursing school interview questions and how to respond to them. And just by being here, you’ve already taken an important step.
Let’s get started!
Answering Nursing School Interview Questions
Before we get into the questions themselves, let’s talk about how you want to answer them. The approach is similar to that of a job interview. And, with the right strategy in place, you can be prepared for both common and unexpected questions.
How does one develop an effective strategy? To begin, it is beneficial to understand what the admissions committee is looking for.
Nursing schools want to know that you can succeed as a nurse as well as a student. Nursing schools want to know that you have drive, in addition to a solid foundation education and GPA. Many people consider nursing to be a calling. You’re more likely to impress them if you can demonstrate a passion for patient care and health.
They also look for a variety of other characteristics. Nurses must have exceptional organizational skills, be able to adapt to hectic or chaotic environments, and be accountable for their actions. Empathy is also required to connect with your patients and put yourself in their shoes. Communication skills are also essential.
Now that you know what you need to highlight, it’s time to look into how to do so. When answering behavioral interview questions, you’ll usually draw on the qualities mentioned above. We’ve previously discussed behavioral interview questions in depth, but for those who aren’t familiar with them, here’s a summary.
Behavioral interview questions are intended to elicit more information about how you think and act, typically in a professional setting. You’ll frequently be asked to discuss specific types of scenarios, either from previous experience or as hypothetical situations you might face. Because this is a nursing school interview, some of the questions will be about your experience as a student, while others may be about your future potential as a nurse.
The STAR method is usually the best approach to behavioral interview questions. The STAR method essentially allows you to answer interview questions using a storytelling approach, allowing you to shine a spotlight on your capabilities in an engaging manner.
But you’re not going to stop there. You must also use the Tailoring Method with all of your answers. It’s really a form of customization, ensuring that your responses speak directly to what a specific nursing school considers important. Simply put, it is not about what the college can do for you, but about what you can do for the school and the nursing profession as a whole.
IMPORTANT: By tailoring your response to the school’s mission, values, and priorities, you are effectively communicating with the admissions committee. You establish a connection with them, which can make all the difference.
We also wanted to let you know that we have created a fantastic free cheat sheet that will provide you with word-for-word answers to some of the most difficult interview questions you will face in your upcoming interview. After all, hiring managers will frequently ask you general interview questions in addition to Pharmacist-specific questions!
The 3 Most Common Nursing School Interview Questions
Now that you have a solid strategy for dealing with nursing school interview questions, it’s time to put it into practice. You’ll be more confident and poised when you meet with the admissions committee if you know what questions to expect and how to answer them. You’ll be prepared for the unavoidable, which is critical.
1. What inspired you to pursue a nursing career?
Nursing schools ask this question for one reason: they want to know if you are passionate enough about the field to persevere in the face of challenges. It is not easy to be a nurse (or a nursing student). It takes more determination, dedication, and motivation than most people have.
“I want to help people,” for example, isn’t going to cut it. That’s overused and generic. Furthermore, there are numerous ways to help people, so it doesn’t really explain why nursing is the right choice for you.
Your response should be personal and vulnerable. Discuss how a nurse inspired you to pursue nursing because she helped you or a family member through a difficult health situation. If you’re passionate about health and wellness and want to help patients live healthier lives, talk about it!
You increase your chances of nailing this nursing school interview question if your response touches on something personal.
“One of my family members became ill a few years ago. They were hospitalized, and the nurses who cared for them were an essential part of their treatment. They were compassionate, capable, and an essential part of their recovery. After such a positive experience, I realized I wanted to be that for someone else someday, so I started my path to becoming a nurse.”
2. What would you do if you were having difficulty or falling behind in a nursing class?
Many nursing programs are extremely difficult. Furthermore, learning can be surprisingly fast-paced. It is not uncommon for students to struggle or fall behind in at least one class or subject area.
The admissions committee is interested in knowing if you have a plan in place to deal with this situation, which is almost certain to arise. It all comes down to you holding yourself accountable and taking ownership of your education, as students who can do so are more likely to thrive.
“There are a few steps I would take if I started having problems in a course.” In addition to devoting more time to studying that subject, I would make use of other possible resources. For example, I might look for study groups made up of my classmates or hire a tutor. I would also consult with my professor to see if there are any additional resources they could recommend, such as reading outside of the textbook. In addition, I would use my previous assignments and tests as a resource, reviewing anything that was incorrect and using it to guide my future studies. If I’m still confused, I’ll contact my professor and ask for their assistance in comprehending the subject.
3. What would you do if you were treating a patient and they or a family member became verbally hostile?
When a person is in the midst of a medical emergency, their stress levels can skyrocket. After all, it’s frightening, and fear can cause people to behave strangely, even when they’re trying to help.
The same is true for their friends and family members, who are almost certainly as concerned as the patient. Someone will lash out from time to time, and you must be prepared to deal with it. Nursing schools want to know that you can remain calm under pressure, even if the patient you’re caring for becomes hostile.
“First and foremost, I would listen to what the patient or family member was saying.” Using active listening techniques, I would concentrate on understanding their point of view, summarizing what I was hearing, and clarifying questions as needed. That would provide me with valuable insights into how to potentially diffuse the situation, as I’d have a good understanding of what they might need to feel confident and that proper care was being provided. Then I’d figure out what steps I could take to alleviate their concern and move on. However, if the person became violent, I would follow the protocols of the clinic or hospital, which are designed to ensure the safety of everyone, including the patient, family members, and medical staff.”
17 More Interview Questions for Nursing School
Here are 17 more nursing school interview questions you might be asked during your meeting with the admissions committee:
- What aspects of our nursing program compelled you to apply?
- Many nurses are troubled by the long hours they may be required to work. What are your thoughts on working for extended periods of time?
- What are your thoughts on mandatory vaccinations for nurses and other healthcare workers?
- What qualities, and why, make a good nurse?
- How would you handle a disagreement with a professor?
- What would your classmates say about you?
- What would you do if you witnessed a medical professional acting unethically?
- What aspect of being a nursing student most frightens you, and why?
- What nursing skill most appeals to you, and why?
- What would you do if you were treating a patient who spoke a language you didn’t understand?
- Which aspect of nursing do you believe will be the most difficult?
- Can you describe a nursing industry trend that has piqued your interest? What piques your interest in it?
- Tell me about a time when you messed up. How did you deal with it?
- More applicants are being interviewed than we can accept. Why are you the most qualified candidate?
- What is your approach to personal care?
- Can you describe one of the most pressing healthcare issues confronting the world today? How do you intend to approach the problem?
- How will you make a difference in the nursing profession?
5 Good Follow-Up Questions for Nursing School Interviews
As your nurse school interview comes to a close, you should be able to ask a few questions of your own. Don’t pass up this fantastic opportunity! This is your chance to see if this is the right program for you, so make the most of it. If you’re stuck for questions, here are a few to keep in your back pocket.
- What is the most difficult challenge that students face in this program? What should I do to prepare to overcome or avoid it?
- How does this nursing program set itself apart from others?
- What characteristics do your most successful nursing students share?
- What resources are available to help nursing students who are having difficulty with a subject?
- What career resources are available to program graduates and students?
Putting Everything Together
While attending a nursing school interview can be nerve-racking, it can also be exciting. It’s an opportunity to advance in your chosen field. You can shine if you prepare properly. Remember that you are an incredible, passionate aspiring nursing student. Just make sure you show that to the admissions committee so they know you’ll excel if admitted.
Best wishes, as always!