30 Most Common Nursing School Interview Questions You should know

So, you have a nursing school interview to prepare for, and you’re wondering how tough the questions might be.

I understand. It’s normal to feel nervous, especially when you remember you’ll be facing a panel of specialist nurses. But really, there’s nothing to be worried about.

Especially now that you’ve bumped into this article. Because here, you’ll learn all you need to know about nursing school interviews, the sort of questions they ask and how best to answer them.

You see, even though the demand for nurses worldwide is high, most nursing schools want to get the best students. This causes them to put applicants through a strict assessment process.

But you won’t blame them, will you? Every school would want to have students who are very passionate about the nursing profession and are also very teachable.

So, let’s get to the business of getting you to ace all nursing school interviews you will face henceforth.

Table of Contents

What Are Nursing School Interview Questions?

These are the questions nursing school applicants are asked as a part of the final assessment to determine whether they’re a good fit for the school and profession generally.

The questions come in different formats as the interviewers intend to judge the applicant based on certain qualifications. Questions are asked about personality, character, experience, problem or crisis solving skills, etc.

How Do I Prepare for Nursing School Interview Questions?

These six (6) steps will help you prepare and ace that interview without many issues. No matter how much knowledge you have about the nursing profession and how many interviews you’ve attended, if you fail to prepare for a particular interview, you’re already prepared to fail.

1. Research About The School

It is important you make your own findings about the school you’re applying to. You have to know their mission, vision, and core values. This will not only help you stay confident in the interview, it will also make you understand if the school is the best place for you.

2. Know Your Special Traits

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will give you an edge in the interview. With that, you will know the special characteristics that will make you a successful nurse. The interviewers don’t know you, and unless you convince them, they might find it difficult to pick you over thousands of other applicants.

3. Get Your Documents Ready

It is important that you get all your documents ready before the interview. Your academic transcripts, resume, passports, recommendation letters, personal statements, and other important documents. Keep them handy and make copies, as you might be asked to provide any of them during the interview.

4. Read About the Nursing Profession

This is one step you should never omit. In fact, it is the most important one. Because how are you going to enter a profession you know nothing about? Try to read as much as you can about nursing. Know what nurses do, their job descriptions in the hospital and the roles they play in nation building.

5. Take Mock Interviews

You won’t know how prepared you are until you put yourself through an assessment. If you can, make a list of all the expected questions you’d possibly encounter and get someone to assess you. Go through the questions and come up with good strategies to answer them all. With that, you’ll feel more confident going into the interview.

6. Believe in Yourself

As much as it is important you do every other thing listed above, if you don’t believe in your ability to ace the interview, you’d find it difficult to pull through. You have to tell yourself you can do it. Read motivational books, listen to mind-lifting podcasts, and practice meditation, etc., until you feel confident.

How Best Can I Answer Nursing School Interview Questions?

To properly answer a nursing school interview question, you should know that most of the time, it is not about your intelligence. Rather, it is about your ability to smartly access a situation and give the best possible response. These three tips will help you structure your answer to suit what your interviewer wants to hear:

1. Restate the Question

To be sure you understood the question, it is important you restate it to the interviewer in a very smart and responsible way. If you’re right, the interviewer will likely nod. However, if you’re wrong, the interviewer will possibly correct you.

This is to ensure you don’t rush into answering questions based on a skewed understanding of what the interviewer has in mind.

2. Describe the Situation

Having understood the question, go on to describe the situation or point out the problems. This gives you a clearer view of what you’re expected to say while buying you time as you think about the best answer.

3. Give Your Answer

Now that you’ve understood the question and laid out the background of the issue, go ahead and give the best answer to the question. Make it brief and clear.

What are the Top Nursing School Interview Questions?

Here are the top questions you should expect in a nursing school interview:

General Questions for Nursing School Applicants

Here, the interviewer asks questions to get to know you better. To properly answer questions in this category, try to recall what motivated you to study nursing. What are those situations that made you feel nursing is the perfect career path for you? This is where your research about the school and your special traits will come in handy.

Here are the top questions interviewers ask in this category: 

1. Tell us about yourself.

2. Why did you choose to study nursing at this school?

3. If you didn’t choose nursing, what career do you see yourself excelling in?

4. What would you say is your greatest strength?

Nursing School Interview Questions About Your Personality and Character

This is where your interviewer wants to know about those traits that will make you stand out as a nurse. To properly answer questions in this category, you have to let the interviewer know your strengths, values, and personal and career goals. It is not enough to list out these values. You have to find ways to convince the interviewer how you feel they can make you a great nurse.

Here are the most common questions in this category:

1. What qualities do you have that you think will help you become a successful nurse?

2. How do you feel when you receive criticism from your employer or teacher?

3. When you fail several times to meet a goal, what motivates you to keep going?

4. If I were to ask your best friend if you would make a good nurse, what do you think his or her response would be?

Nursing School Interview Questions About Your Experience

Nursing school interviewers want to know about your previous experiences working in a healthcare setting. They want to know how you perceive the idea of working in such an environment. Even if you’ve never worked in a healthcare setting, they want to know what your general work ethics are. They might also want to know about your experiences as a student.

Here are the questions interviewers ask the most in this category:

1. What was your favorite course in school and why?

2. Do you have any experience working in a care home or in any job where you took care of people? If so, tell me how you enjoyed it.

3. What experiences do you have in school or at a workplace that made you feel you’d make a good nurse?

4. If you have to work to support your studies, how will you handle the pressure of work and studies?

Teamwork and Communication Interview Questions for Nursing School Applicants

Communication and teamwork are valued skills in the healthcare setting. As a nurse, your ability to communicate effectively and work in a team could save lots of lives.

That’s why the interviewers would want to test your abilities in this case. Here are the common questions in this category:

1. Do you enjoy working alone or in a team?

2. Have you ever had a fall-out with a coworker or a fellow student? If yes, how did you handle it?

3. If you’re treating a patient who speaks a different language from you, how will you ensure communication is not an issue?

4. How will you respond to a critical correction from a fellow student or coworker?

Problem-solving Skills Interview Questions for Nursing School Applicants

Good problem-solving skills are what set exceptional nurses apart from the masses. Nursing schools are always on the lookout for students who have the ability to think critically and resolve issues. To ace this category, be yourself and do not force yourself to answer smartly. All you have to do is think deeply about the question, as there’s always a twist in critical thinking questions.

Here are the common questions in this category:

1. How will you handle a situation where you have assignments to submit and a clinical experiment to carry out at the same time?

2. How would you handle an emergency crisis at the workplace if there’s no doctor around?

3. Working long hours as a nurse can be harmful and risky. How would you handle a situation where you’re asked to work overtime because there’s nobody to take over at that time?

4. Assuming you made a mistake that could have negative effects on a patient and neither the patient nor the doctor is aware, what would you do?

Nursing School Interview Questions on Ethics and Conduct

Every nurse is judged by their strong ethics and professional conduct in the workplace. This is because the health and comfort of their patients depend greatly on it. However, having good ethical behavior should be something you should develop even before entering nursing school. That’s why nursing school interviewers ensure they examine their applicants in this regard.

Here are the common questions in this category:

1. What would you do if you saw a senior colleague acting unethical in the workplace?

2. What do you understand to be the social responsibilities of nurses?

3. Do you think there’s a situation where a nurse is justified in withholding information from a patient?

4. As a student, what does “accountability” mean to you?

You might also want to know about the 10 Common Prerequisites for Nursing School

The Top 6 Nursing School Interview Questions Most People Find Challenging and Their Answers

Here are the top 6 questions applicants face in a nursing interview and the best ways to answer them:

1. What Inspired You to Pursue a Career in Nursing?

You can’t just wake up and decide to be a nurse. One way or the other, something must have inspired you. That is what the interviewers want to hear. They want to know if you’re inspired by something worthwhile or if it’s based on a pointless reason like a paycheck, appearance, etc.

To answer the question, be honest and tell the interviewer how the love for nursing grew in you.

Here’s a good way to answer the question: “Growing up, I had a grandma that frequented the hospital for check-ups. She always takes me along with her. So, in the hospital, I saw a lot of people in dire situations. I saw how the nurses were patient and caring for them. Without much effort, they put smiles on the faces of these people. Seeing that made me happy, and I always looked forward to visiting the hospital with my grandma. From those visits, I knew nursing was the right profession for me. I knew caring for people in their worst states would give me a sense of fulfillment. “

2. Why Should We Admit You Over Other Qualified Applicants for Our Nursing Program?

This is a question aimed at assessing your sense of personal worth and value. Surely, there might be something in you that sets you apart from others and gives you an edge, but do you see it?  

To answer this question, highlight one or two skills of yours that make you stand out. It mustn’t be a natural skill. It could be a skill you acquired in preparation for your dream future in nursing.

You could answer it this way: “Several times, several people have told me I was able to calm their nerves when they were in dire situations. Seeing that this is a very valuable skill in nursing, and it comes naturally to me, I decided to develop myself more. Over the years, I have volunteered in hospitals and care homes. Most patients were always excited to see me come to work, and when leaving, they wished I lived with them. In school, teachers loved having me in class because they felt I made teaching easy for them. Some said I was the most teachable student they’d had. If I’m given the opportunity to study nursing in this school, I believe in my ability to represent this school excellently on all fronts. “

3. Why Do You Think You Will Make a Successful Nurse?

This question is also about your values and capabilities. The interviewer wants to know what you possess that makes you feel you will excel in the nursing profession.

To answer, talk about your best traits that place you as a caregiver, someone every patient loves being with.

Answer this way: “Nursing is all about caring for people the way you’d want to be cared for. In fact, that is the most important skill or attribute every nurse should have. Every other thing can be learned with ease. You can learn about medical techniques and processes, but you’d find it difficult to learn to genuinely care for people if it’s not in you. That is one attribute I have that makes me know I’d make a successful nurse. “

4. What Would You Do if a Patient Treated You with Hostility?

The interviewer asks you this question to understand how much control you have over your temperament. Because in the nursing profession, you will meet people who will treat you in unfriendly ways. You need to be calm, patient, and understanding to withstand such situations.

To answer the question, explain to the interviewer how you understand that certain conditions might make a patient react that way. And how you won’t take it out on the patient.

You could answer it this way: “Nursing is a profession for people who understand what it means to care for someone in their worst state. Being in such a state could come with a lot of things. From being temperamental to being hostile and exhibiting some other traits we might see as abnormal. A real nurse sees all these and still believes they can get the patient to a better state. I understand all this, and I know that as a nurse I should be in full control of my temperament. So, in such a situation, instead of reacting, I would just calmly apologize, then listen more to understand the patient’s grievances. However, if the patient becomes violent, I’d leave and come back when the patient is calm.”

5. What Would You Do If a Patient Refuses to Take a Prescribed Medication?

There’s a law in the medical profession that grants patients the autonomy to decide how they want to be treated. Even if it doesn’t tally with what the physician has in mind.

The interviewers want to know if you understand this, even though you might not know the law exists.

Here’s how to answer it: “as much as it is my responsibility to ensure my patients follow through with every prescription given to them, I also understand they have the right to reject a prescription. So the best thing to do at this stage is to take time and explain to the patient why he needs to take the drugs. However, if the patient persists, I would have no option but to respect their decision.”

6. What Would You Do if You Find Yourself Falling Behind in a Particular Nursing Course?

The aim of this question is to know what actions you’d take when you’re faced with tough situations. Especially in your academics, where you might likely have issues following up with some classes. The interviewer wants to understand if you’re the type that takes responsibility and seeks solutions.

To answer this question, be straightforward and say what it is you’d do if you’re faced with such issues.

The best way to answer it: “Due to how challenging nursing school is, I understand there might be situations where I would be found wanting in a course. At that point, having known I was behind, I’d dedicate more time and effort to that course. I’d source more materials, meet my teachers or superiors for more clarification, and put in more hours into that course until my performance starts to improve.”

What Do I Do After My Nursing School Interview Session?

After your interview, it is time to relax your mind while you wait for the result. Do not fret, do not spend the whole day or week thinking about it, no matter how it went. In fact, doing the following might help you relax more:

  • Send a “Thank you” note to the hiring manager
  • Connect with the school on social media
  • Relax and enjoy a fun time with your family and loved ones
  • Let your references know you’ve just finished the interview, and they might get contacted by the school
  • Wait.

What Are the Top 3 Questions I Can Ask My Nursing School Interviewer?

Once the interview session is over, the interviewer will expect you to ask some questions. This is a valid opportunity to let them know you’ve done your homework and are already waiting to resume with them. Here are the top 3 questions you should ask your interviewer:

1. How would you describe your experience working with nursing students over the years?

2. Which do you prefer, working as a nurse or raising nurses?

3. Does the school have opportunities in place for students who might want to aspire for more in their nursing career?

5 Medical Professions That are Related to Nursing

Here are other medical careers that are similar to nursing you might want to look at:

1. Physical Therapist Assistant

2. Medical Transcriptionist

3. Surgical Technologist

4. Clinical Technologist

5. Pharmacy Technician

Conclusion on Nursing School Interview Questions

Nursing school interview questions can be tricky and tough, yes. But with the right preparation, you’d find it to be more fun than you anticipated.

I’m sure you’ve learned from this article how to prepare yourself for that interview. And the different ways you can provide the right answer to tricky questions.

Having known the top questions to expect during a nursing school interview and the right ways to approach them, I hope you will now go on to ace those interviews.

Are you pumped and ready to make that nursing dream of yours a success? You might want to read these articles on nursing school: Top 8 Nursing Schools in the World and How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for Nursing School

Frequently Asked Questions about Nursing School Interview Questions

What Should I Wear for My Nursing School Interview?

Just like a normal job interview, you should wear a professional look for your nursing school interview.

What Should I Do Before My Nursing School Interview?

Before you go for a nursing school interview, you should examine yourself to be sure you’re ready. Get your documents ready, get your clothes properly ironed, and ensure you are at the venue at least 30 minutes before the time scheduled for you.

How Do I Greet the Nursing School Interviewer?

Once you enter the interview venue and the interviewer is already waiting, look him or her straight in the eyes and offer your greeting. If the interviewer offers a handshake, respond with a firm handshake while maintaining a firm gaze.

How Many Questions Can I Expect in a Nursing School Interview?

The number of questions depends on your interviewer and the number of applicants waiting in line. But on average, you should expect between 6 and 10 questions.

How Long Does a Nursing School Interview Last?

A nursing school interview will last between 30 minutes and an hour. However, it depends on how you impress the examiners. The longer you last, the more opportunities you get to impress your interviewer.

How Do You Introduce Yourself in a Nursing School Interview?

To introduce yourself, state your full name, why you’re there, and what makes you a good fit for the school.

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