What To Expect In The Nursing Training School Interview
Nursing school interviews differ in three main ways:
- Who the interviewers are
- The number of interviewers present at the interview
- How much information the interviewer is given about a candidate before the interview
Sometimes the interviewers are admissions counselors. Other times, it may be faculty, current students, or local alums. In terms of format, some students report a one-on-one interview, while others report a panel interview. Lastly, some interviewers may have had access and read your application file, while others may not have any information at all. To maximize your chances of admission, prepare for all interview format variations.
A more recent nursing school interview format that is gaining popularity among many nursing programs throughout the US is the multiple mini-interview, also known as MMI. This type of interview consists of 6-10 timed stations that the applicants rotate through within a two-hour time period.
While the type of questions asked at nursing school interviews is expansive and differs for every institution, most nursing school interview questions fall into one of the following five categories:
- Traditional, open-ended
- Personality and involvement
- Situational or ethical dilemma
- Current affairs
Traditional, open-ended interview questions
Here are some examples of traditional, open-ended questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
- Why do you want to attend nursing school?
- There are 1,000 applicants that are equally as qualified as you are, why should we choose you?
When asking these questions, interviewers are trying to determine the following:
- Want to learn more about who you are
- Understand how you are unique, relative to other applicants
- Ensure that your motivation to attend nursing school is pure
The last one is particularly important. The steps to be a doctor — nursing school, internship, residency, fellowship — is a long and grueling process. In other words, only the committed can be doctors. It’s more likely to find that commitment in a candidate that’s genuinely passionate vs. someone who’s doing for some other motive — whether it’s money, prestige, or pleasing others.
Personality and involvement interview questions
Here are some examples of personality and involvement questions:
- If you were a cookie, which cookie would you be and why?
- If we asked your friends to describe you, what would they say?
- If you could change one aspect of your personality at the snap of your fingers, what would it be and why?
This category is meant to assess a candidate’s character strengths and flaws. Patients and practicing physicians have an opinion of what makes a great doctor; as a result, each interviewer has a mental model of key personality traits they are looking for in an ideal candidate. While opinions may vary from interviewer to interviewer, here are some traits that most interviewers are looking for in an ideal candidate:
- Listening skills
- Balanced lifestyle
- Communication skills
- Appreciation for others
Behavioral interview questions
Here are some examples of behavioral involvement questions:
- Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership?
- Give me an example when you worked under pressure. How did you deal with the stress?
- Tell me about a time when a barrier challenged your ability to communicate and how did you deal with that?
Behavioral interview questions are about your past experiences. Here’s an easy way to spot a behavioral interview question; they usually start with “tell me a time” or “give me an example.”
Good interviewers know that past behavior is a good indicator of future success. That is, if you are placed in a specific situation, such as a stressful situation, if you’ve dealt it before, it’s likely that you’ll deal with it similarly (if not better), if you’re placed in a comparable situation in the future.
Similar to the personality question category, behavioral interview questions is a way to assess whether a candidate has the traits to be a great doctor. In this case, behavioral questions are superior because they bring more evidence about a candidate’s personality.
Situational or ethical dilemma interview questions
Here are some examples of situation or ethical dilemma questions:
- What is your opinion on euthanasia?
- Do you think a physician should tell a patient they have 8 months left to live?
- If you have the choice of giving a transplant to an elderly member of the community of a 20-year-old drug addict, how do you choose?
There are many reasons why nursing schools ask situation or ethical dilemma questions including one’s ability to be flexible, thoughtful, and reflective. However, here’s the number one reason why schools ask this question: they want to evaluate a candidate’s judgment. Doctors are in a position of power. Sometimes, a doctor’s singular voice can influence whether someone should live or die.
A physician’s recommendations can be influenced by their personal beliefs, values, and biases. By asking an ethical dilemma question, nursing schools are evaluating a candidate’s judgment to make the right decision, whether it’s for a patient or for society as a whole.
Current affairs interview questions
- In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue in healthcare today?
- What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?
- Would your decision to become a physician change if the US moved to a universal healthcare system similar to that of Canada?
This category is all about evaluating a candidate’s passion for medicine.
This category of questions help interviewers evaluate a candidate’s passion for medicine. Interviewers believe that committed candidate are up-to-date with the latest issues in the nursing field.