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!