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Top 10 nursing interview questions to ace jobs in the UK in 2023

A new nurse is being interviewed by two other nursing interviewers.

A guide to answering 10 common nurse interview questions in 2023

Nursing is not a profession that suits everyone, and in an interview, an employer wants to make sure you have the resilience, patience, adaptability, and commitment to be able to succeed in the role. Nurses are in high demand in the UK, and you can expect to get a job as soon as you graduate. There are many different roles available to nurses in areas like health visiting, occupational health, general practice nursing, and others. 

Nursing interviews are likely to include basic interview questions like "Tell me more about yourself", and "Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? To fully prepare for these, read this article, which walks you through the most typical nursing interview questions and what an interviewer is looking for. 

Common nursing interview questions in the UK

Whether you are a fresh graduate or an experienced nurse, hospitals will always want you to highlight your temperament, skills, and training in a nursing interview. Using examples while answering will give your interviewer a clear picture of your previous job performance and your potential. 

Here are 10 popular nursing interview questions in the UK and a guide to answering them. 

1. What interested you in pursuing a career as a nurse in the UK?

This is one of the common questions most recruits will ask in order to understand your commitment to nursing and your passion for patient care. Your answer will essentially tell them what exactly you are looking for in your career and why you want the job. This question is less about your medical expertise and more about your aptitude and character. Nursing jobs demand people who are unique, genuine, and vulnerable. 

2. What makes a good shift?

This is another common and interesting question that most nursing interviewers ask in the UK. Yes, your interviewers will want to hear about delivering safe, effective patient care, but they might be looking for more. Your interviewers are well aware that nursing can be a stressful job, so they would be looking for an honest answer. If a good shift for you means having proper breaks and rest time, then that is fine too. The NHS currently focuses more on work-life balance, and you should not be reluctant to bring it up. Moreover, give examples from your previous shifts that were challenging, rewarding, and learning experiences. 

3. Have you ever had to deal with a mistake while treating a patient?

This is one of the most prevalent nursing interview questions in the UK, as they would like to know how you deal with such stressful situations. You can explain your own or other people's mistakes. Either approach is fine, and both can work in your favour. Mention your or others' mistakes and talk about what you learned, what you would do differently, and how you coordinated with others to rectify the situation. Interviews don't expect you to have a perfect career, especially if you are new to the field, but they do expect you to learn from your mistakes. Try to respond honestly by describing a circumstance you have encountered in the past. 

4. How do you handle the stress of working as a nurse?

This question helps the interviewer evaluate how well you can handle a stressful situation, and no matter what happens, you will have the tools to be able to manage the situation and perform at your best. You can answer this question by stating some examples of ways you manage stress. You can describe the ways you avoid stress at work, but you can also include various coping strategies such as breathing exercises, doing yoga to relieve stress after work, and so on. Try to answer genuinely by stating a situation you have been through in the past. 

5. How would you handle an uncooperative patient?

As a nurse, it is important to have compassion and patience. Your patients are often faced with difficult situations that can sometimes affect their attitude and behaviour towards others. It is your duty to reassure them, make sure you administer medication properly according to schedule, and provide extra resources that might help make the patient more comfortable. When asked this question, consider quoting an example of a time when you encountered a difficult patient and helped to improve the patient's outcome. You can mention how you coped with such a situation, even if it might have affected your overall work. 

6. What do equality and diversity mean to you?

Currently, interviewers in the UK are keen to know how you handle such a sensitive subject. By posing this question, interviewers would like to know if you have a clear understanding of the importance of equality and diversity. They may also want to test your understanding of how that can play out in your role. 

7. What makes you a good nurse?

This nursing interview question is actually a boon for you because, by answering it correctly, you will be able to make a better impression and highlight your distinctiveness. As a nurse, you will have common educational qualifications, certifications, and backgrounds with others. However, what makes you stand apart from other equally qualified candidates are the skills that you naturally possess and that can't be taught, such as compassion and empathy. 

8. How would you respond to a distressed relative?

By asking this question, the interviewer is trying to evaluate your emotional stability in such situations and how much experience you have in handling them. The interviewer wants to know whether you have the techniques and vocabulary that help you deal with distressed relatives and whether you can adapt your tone of voice and body language to such situations. 

9. What do you do if your replacement does not arrive?

Nurses are expected to stay at their posts until the following shift comes to ensure that the quality of service given by nursing staff is not compromised. In such a situation, you can always explain your strategies, such as contacting your replacement while staying a few minutes beyond your shift hours or finding someone who can cover the responsibilities until your co-worker arrives. Moreover, you can talk to your supervisor if there is any problem or if your replacement has been late on multiple occasions. 

10. Describe how you manage a busy workload?

There is no doubt that a nursing career encompasses busy workloads, and this interview question is posed to you in order to identify your willingness to go beyond the call of duty. While answering this question, highlight your dedication to attending to your patients under a variety of conditions. In your response, you can provide an example of a time when you managed an increased number of tasks without compromising protocols or procedures. 

These are some of the most common yet complicated nursing interview questions in the UK, as this will help the interviewer identify your dedication and passion towards the nursing profession and caring for people. 

If you are compassionate, kind, caring, and empathetic by nature and are looking for a job opportunity in nursing, look no further, as Nurses Group is the best nursing staffing agency in the UK. 

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