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'I had my first job interview last week'


Nursing Times student nurse blogger Katrina Michelle Rowan gives us a first-hand account of her very first interview for a job as a nurse.

I had my first interview for a potential job last week.

With only four months to go until I qualify, I have been busy applying for jobs in my local area. I was absolutely thrilled when I found out I had been selected for interview for a position within the medical directorate.

I have to admit, my mind-set for the interview was that I did not in any way expect to be offered a job. I had decided that the interview would be experience - a practice run almost - for a date in the future when I would hopefully get selected for another interview nearer the time I qualified.

I started to prepare my personal development portfolio the night before. All through my training I have kept things I am proud of - my course rep achievements, certificates, essay feedback, feedback from mentors, cards etc. When I got my folder out to go through it, I realised I couldn’t take this with me to offer the panel to portray my achievements. Number one - it was massive; I had kept EVERYTHING and number two, the kids had very kindly drawn on the cover. I could not take that with me.

In the end, I put a folder together of what I considered to be my greatest achievements. I realised that leaving preparing my PDP to the night before was a mistake. It looked OK, but I could have made it so much better if I had prepared earlier. 

The day of the interview I arrived at the hospital early and had a bit of a chill out in the coffee shop. I arrived for my interview feeling really relaxed.

Then my name got called. Wow. The nerves hit big time as I sat down. It was an interview panel of three. They all introduced themselves and made me laugh by telling me I looked terrified. Then they asked the first question: “Tell us about your career to date.”  So I told them about my nursing training - about how much I had enjoyed my time as a student nurse and the fabulous experiences I had had on the way. I hoped that my passion and dedication came across in my answer.

Other questions followed: “Tell us about a time you made a real difference to a patient’s experience” and “what you would do if you were asked to carry out a procedure you hadn’t done before”.

Before I knew it, 30 minutes had passed and the panel were asking me which ward within the medical division I would wish to be placed on if I was successful. Then, they looked at my portfolio - quite extensively - and told me that I would find out if I had a job offer or not on the Monday. 

I walked out feeling that I had answered some questions well and some terribly. It was all good experience and I had learned a lot from the need to simply be more prepared with my portfolio to taking more time to answer the questions instead of panicking and saying the first thing that comes into my head.

Monday I was on placement and working the late shift. By 6.30pm I still had not heard if I’d been successful, so had resigned myself to getting an “I’m sorry” letter or phone call. 

Then the phone rang… 

I got off the phone, stunned. 

I did a little jig. 

I ran into the staff canteen and might just have whooped and screamed really loudly.  I may even have embarrassed myself more by running round and doing a celebration lap.

I had been offered a job!

A six-month, temporary contract, hopefully on a respiratory ward. I am absolutely thrilled! I know it is only temporary, but I hope to impress whichever ward I get placed on enough that they will offer me a full-time position, should one become available. 

I have worked so hard over the past few years and finally now the end is in sight. With only four months left of my training I suddenly feel under a lot less pressure. I have a job to go to, it may only be a temporary position, but it’s a start!


Readers' comments (9)

  • Congratulations. I still have just over 6 months to go before I will be starting my applications (just over a year til I qualify), getting a job on your first try is amazing.

    If you don't mind me asking, how many applications did you send before getting the interview?

    The job market up in Scotland appears to be even more restricted in comparison to England and I am getting really nervous about the competition for jobs.

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  • Congratulations!

    I have a long time to go until I start applying for jobs as I'm just at the beginning of my second year; however, when I do start, I will be looking up this article to give me a confidence boost.

    Well done :)

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  • I finished my training in Scotland at the end of August and have had to relocate south for a chance of a job. My fellow students and I were told to prepare for the worse with the Scottish jobs front and unfortunately very few of us got jobs. I think its brilliant you got a job on your first interview and well done.

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  • Latterlife Midwife

    Congratulations, Katrina! I have always enjoyed your postings, and am happy for you. You were definitely in the right place at the right time with the right portfolio, and it must feel wonderful! It's a lovely Christmas present.

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  • I also have a job after my first interview. It definately nerve raking but I am pleased to have been offered the post as staff nurse. most of my cohort classmates have jobs waiting for them when training finishes next month

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  • Can I just ask, do they complete all the crb checks etc in time for you to start when you get your pin through or will there be time waiting for all that to be done. I know when I got my initial job as a support worker the time from interview to start was about 3-4 months.

    Congratulations anon about your job and your classmates too.

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  • Well done you :) its good you have a job waiting, i qualified in the early 80's and 24 out of 26 had jobs waiting when we completed the course. I see not much has changed.

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  • Congratulations!!! Your hard work has really paid for it. I have about six months to finish my course and it's thrilling to know that there are still jobs out there for us when we complete. Well done gal!!!

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  • Well done. I have my first interview in a weeks time and its for a job I really want so I will keep my fingers crossed. I am setting off for eight weeks in Australia (4wks elective placement in Sydney followed by 4 weeks family holiday) the day after the interview so with a bit of luck will have a job to come back to. Most of my feb 08 cohort seem to have job offers although we are a relatively small group it seems that there are jobs out there if you are prepared to be flexible. Good luck to everyone

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