Making the transition from nursing student to nurse is stressful. Looking for your first job right after graduation when you have little to no time on the nursing floor in a real position can be scary. Preparing yourself for the questions you’ll have to handle in the nursing interview is the first big step toward launching your nursing career. Here are some tips to help you prepare.
Prepping for the Post-Grad Nursing Interview
The first nursing interview will cover some of the basics, from your education and training to behavioral questions on temperament and skills. For example, you’ll likely be asked why you chose nursing as your career path. Answering that you sought a stable role that pays well is one thing, but if you can speak to your internal motivation to help people along with the challenges nursing offers, is probably a more intriguing way to respond.
Make sure you’re prepared to succinctly talk about yourself and have a good sense of who and what inspires you. Practically speaking, you should have a sense as well about your availability to start work and salary expectations. That is just as important knowing yourself well enough to share your biggest weaknesses and strengths.
It’s likely that you’ll also be asked about your clinical rotations. To prepare, it might be a good idea to sit down and write out what you learned at each rotation. Give some thought about how you can summarize the high points of each rotation. Did one teach you more than another? Which rotation validated why you came into the field in the first place? Rank your favorite rotation and pay attention to why it was your top choice. This exercise will help you gather your thoughts while the interviewer asks the inevitable question about how your clinical rotations prepared you for a career in nursing.
Another tip is that it’s a good idea to establish some clinical affiliations during nursing school. Are you a member of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA), or a fraternity or sorority? How about the American Nurses Association (ANA) or the National League for Nursing (NLN)? For specialty areas, there is the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACH). While we’re name-dropping a few worthwhile affiliations, you need to have at least one affiliation on record at graduation.
Try practicing a response to behavioral questions such as:
- How would you handle a patient that constantly complains they are in pain?
Your answer should reflect three primary strategies:
- A listening attitude so that the patient knows you’re hearing them.
- A consultation with the attending doctor to determine medication levels.
- A reassuring conversation with the patient. The goal in these situations is to manage the patient’s pain in a way that keeps them comfortable.
Talk to the team at MAS Medical to help prepare you for your next interview. Sometimes having a recruiter on your side is exactly what you need. MAS Medical can help you find your first post-graduate role and help you get ready to land the job. Call us today.