You have passion, talent, skills, and nursing training. Now you’re ready to begin your career. But before you can land the nursing job of your dreams, you’ll need to go through the interview process. Job interviews can be a challenge, but they’re also opportunities to highlight your skills and strengths and to show employers why you’d be a great fit for their healthcare team. The trickiest part of interviews is that you don’t know exactly what you’ll be asked. But there are some common questions that make it into almost any interview—including yours.
What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?
The employer wants to know what you bring to the table, and your answer should highlight your best qualities and skills. Maybe you provide excellent patient care and have great people skills. Or maybe you adapt easily to change and can learn new things quickly. Pick out the strengths that best match the skills and qualifications required for the job so you can show why you’re the best candidate.
Weaknesses can be more difficult to talk about. After all, you don’t want to give them a reason not to hire you. But if you use an example of a weakness you’re working to overcome, you can turn it into something with a positive spin. For example, if you have trouble asking others for help, explain that you’re an independent problem solver but that you’ve become better at asking for help when the situation calls for it.
Describe a Situation Where You Worked as Part of a Team and Talk About Your Role.
Teamwork is crucial in healthcare. As a nurse, you’ll be part of a team that takes care of patients and is also there for each member. Employers want to know how well you work in a team setting, so be prepared to provide some examples. Even if you’ve never been on a healthcare team, you’ve probably worked on projects, committees, or even as an employee in an unrelated field. Pull from previous work experience or from a class project. Briefly describe the situation, what you did to support your team, and what the outcome was. The goal is to show that you can be a team player and work well with others.
How Do You Explain Medication and Treatment to a Patient Without Using Medical Jargon?
This is an excellent question that gives you a chance to show off your communication skills. While it’s important to be well-versed in medical terminology, it’s just as important to translate it to laymen’s terms that patients can understand. In your answer, give an example or two of how you would communicate with a patient. Include what you would say as well as how you ensure that the patient understands your directions.
Talk About a Time When You Went Above and Beyond for a Patient. What Did You Do?
In nursing, the patient is your top priority. This question allows you to talk about your bedside manner and what you do to help patients feel at ease. Use a real-world example from a previous role or clinical rotation. You might also be asked how you would handle a difficult patient or family member. In this instance, show that you have empathy for patients and families and explain that you would address their concerns calmly and professionally. With either question, the goal is to show that you’ll put the patient’s needs first.
How Do You Handle Changes to Your Schedule or Assignments?
Because all people are different and you’ll deal with all kinds of them, you need to be flexible. Your ability to adapt may be one of the most important traits you bring to your role. Not only will you need to pivot for your patients, but with nursing shortages, you may need to change shifts and work overtime. To assure employers that you can handle change well, give an example of a time when you had to be flexible. Be sure to let the employer know that you’re always willing to take on new tasks and to learn new things. The field of healthcare is always evolving, and employers want to know that you are willing and excited to learn new things.
If you’re a lifelong learner who’s ready to start a new career, contact Charter College today. We offer an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing at our Anchorage campus that can prepare you for a dynamic career in the field. Classes are enrolling now. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.