Nursing schools require all applicants to the nursing program to go through an entrance interview.
This part of the admission process usually comes after the placement or entrance test. So after passing the entrance test, do spend some time preparing for the nursing school interview questions, because it could spell the difference between getting into the program and finding some other career.
There will be at least two types of questions: personal information questions and behavioral-based questions. The interviewer may also ask scenario-based questions.
Here are some of the most frequently asked interview questions the panel would ask aspiring nursing students. There are suggestions and pointers, too, to give you an idea how to tackle each question.
1. “Tell us about yourself”
When the interviewer tells you that, he or she does not wish to hear about all the personal details, such as your husband or your children.
You may briefly mention, perhaps, that you are married with two children, but do not dwell on the subject unless you are specifically asked for more details.
Mention and emphasize, instead, accomplishments you achieved in high school, extracurricular activities or hobbies that you enjoy doing, community involvement or jobs that you have held, or responsibilities that you are currently holding.
2. “Why would you want to be a nurse?
You have to be honest with your answer here; otherwise, you will likely be inconsistent in the questions that will be asked.
This is the core of all questions. If being honest means that you have to say, “I want to get into this program because my mother wants me to,” then it’s a sure way to blow your chance. This is not to say that you should lie, but you could perhaps consider taking the path that you want and assert your dream career.
Your answer should reflect what inspired you to decide on the nursing program.
Example: “I was touched by the heroism of a nurse, whom I met during a community immersion in West Africa. She took care of children with AIDS and gave up the comforts of home to follow a meaningful career.”
There might have been people or experiences in the past that made you realize how meaningful the nursing profession is. Be sincere in your answer.
3. “How will you cope with nursing school?”
If you have introduced yourself as being married and with a baby in question number 1, or if you answered in question number 2 that your sick parent made you realize how nurses are needed in the medical field, then this question might come in third.
The nursing program has a very demanding curriculum; hence, you need to convince the panel that you have anticipated this and have made preparations to take on the challenge.
Answer by mentioning your support system and how it will work to help ease your situation when you do get accepted to the school.
The school will not discriminate against those who might encounter difficulties. It will only make sure that you have a plan and that it rolls off to work when school starts.
4. “Why should we admit you to nursing school?”
The question can also start by asking why you have chosen their school and why it should admit you.
The school would be pleased to hear that you have taken the time and effort to check it out.
You can mention that its consistent NCLEX-RN passing rates have impressed you (if that’s the case), or that its graduates have generally been successful in their careers, and that you feel confident that the school will be your vehicle to a meaningful career.
Connect the school’s vision, values or culture (it pays to know this ahead) to what you hold important. You can also mention missions or causes you have supported which are aligned to the school’s ideals.
5. “What qualities do you have that will make you an effective and successful nurse?”
You can talk about how compassionate you are, and how you believe that this trait is important in ensuring that you are capable of providing care and easing the patients’ pains and difficulty.
Highlight your ability to handle stress, to communicate, and your levelheadedness under pressure. You will notice that the questions will measure how well you know yourself. So take time to reflect and do some retrospection.
6. “What are your plans in the short term and the long term?”
You must have foresight and plan ahead (Make sure you have all the nursing pre-reqs taken.) In fact, you are reading this article because you are one such person who prepares for an impending situation.
In addition to that, you must have short-term plans (remember nursing school is 2 years long) and long-term plans (plans 5-10 years from now).
Well if you don’t, it’s an opportune time to draw them now. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you could do today. You don’t want to ramble off random plans in front of the interviewers.
The thing is to show that you have a goal-driven direction and motivation. Honestly, the question will floor you if you hadn’t prepared for it.
7. “What are your strengths and weaknesses and how will they impact on being a student of nursing and professional nurse in the future?”
This is actually similar to question number 5, except that it adds another dimension to the question – your weakness.
Your answer will again show the interviewers how well you know yourself, not only your strong traits but also your weaknesses. It takes a strong person to acknowledge his or her weaknesses. Be honest.
The point of the question is that you know how your strong points are relevant to nursing, and how you can use that strength to soften the impact of your weaknesses.
Acknowledging a weakness is also the first step to coping or overcoming that weakness; so as long as you impart that clearly to the interviewer, you ought to be fine.
Don’t hide your weaknesses because that will only show a bigger flaw – and that’s the inability to accept yourself.
8. “What was the most difficult situation you had in the past? How did you overcome it?”
Reflect as far back as personal difficulties, family limitations, problems encountered, academic failures in high school, work-related challenges, and other challenges you faced in the past. Don’t go sordid or gory; describe the situation as objectively as possible and highlight it with how you handled and prevailed over it.
9. “What are usual sources of stress for you? How do you deal with them?”
Remember that a nurse works under stressful conditions. Before anything else, you must be the person who knows how to handle stress. Otherwise, there’s no point in answering this question academically.
With that said, answer the question realistically. Don’t say that you are not stressed ever. Every person has his own stressors or sources of stress. Identify them; then proceed to say that you recognize your stressors and know exactly how to handle them. Mention what hobbies calm you, or what practices you adopt to pacify your nerves.
10. “Who is your role model as a person? As nurse? Why?”
Look back to an unforgettable person or persons who have inspired you to be strong and to become a nurse in the future.
You can mention a person you looked up to with your ideals as a young boy or girl, someone who has made a mark on you when you were growing up. Start with who, and then why. Then mention another figure in the nursing field.
The model nurse can be a nurse in your community or a prominent national or international figure, someone whom you have only read about or even had the opportunity to personally know, who has touched you deeply and has ignited your ambition to be a nurse.
The questions and answers that we have given you are just samples. Remember, however, that there are no cut-and-dried or right-and-wrong answers here.
The general rule would be to listen to the question properly. If the question asks “what” then “why,” make sure you answer both. In your nervousness, you might answer the “what” and “how.”
The answer that you give must be truthful, but not trite, and must be closest to who you are.
That way, you come out clean and your answers will ring true. It is worth mentioning, too, that you should practice on these questions.
You can write each question on a piece of paper, and place them inside a box. Pick a question randomly and try answering it as best as you can, as if you are facing the admission panel.
That should give you a little hint of randomness and excitement while you practice your skills at thinking up answers and delivering them.
I hope these tips and tricks help you answer your nursing school interview questions.