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Expert tips for your nursing school interview

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If you want to become a nurse to help people, the first step is helping yourself get admitted to nursing school. To that end, one of the most important events in your admissions process is the interview… 

Dave Foreman, lead admissions officer of Derby University, says in his experience “in terms of scoring points, the interview is 50% of the selection.” 

Emma Addie, Lead Admissions Tutor and Directorate of Nursing of the University of Liverpool, says, “We get approximately 1,000 applications and we have 60 places…of those 1,000 about 150 make it to the interview.”

With potentially half of your admissions decision on the line and limited acceptances available, the interview can seem like an intimidating prospect. However, with the proper preparation you can ensure you are putting your best self on display. Here are our expert tips on what you can do to make the best impression… 

Do your research

Health Education England (HEE) requires Universities to evaluate potential students on a value based recruitment system centred on the NHS constitutional values.

These values are: working together for patients, respect and dignity, commitment to quality of care, compassion, improving lives, and “everyone counts.”

In addition, most universities will have their own core institutional values that they will want you to be in line with. You can find those by reading their website or visiting their open days. Make sure you understand how these values relate to nursing and how you embody these values.

Jon Hinkin of Swansea University admissions says, “I can teach them, I can train them, but if they are not compassionate I cannot teach them that.”

You should also be knowledgeable about the program you are applying for, current health news, and most importantly, the role of a nurse. Mr. Foreman says, “Knowing your stuff really helps. Read emails from the university, attend their open days and watch TV to be up to date about current health events.”

Revisit your CV

Go through your CV and identify what skills you have gained from each of your roles. Consider how your experiences have prepared you for being a student nurse. Interviewers are interested not only in what you have done, but what you have learned from that experience.


Have a practice interview, preferable someone you are not completely with to mimic the nerves you might feel on the actual day.

Practice your answers to common questions like “What are your strengths and weaknesses”, “How do you see yourself fitting into this program” and “Why do you want to become a nurse?” Practice giving creative answers, using examples from your experiences. You don’t want to give the interviewer the same answer as a dozen other people. Highlight what makes you unique.

Rehearse also how you want to present yourself. Making eye contact and smiling indicates to the interviewer that you are confident and engaged in the conversation.


You may feel anxious about your interview but on the day nerves will only work against you. Take a deep breath and focus on letting yourself shine. Understand that, as Ms. Addie of Liverpool University, says, “Not only are we looking at you, you are looking at us. You need to make sure we are the university for you. Think of it more as a ‘get to know you’ session.” You can also take comfort in the words of Mr. Hinkin of Swansea University. He says, “We are not looking for superbeings. We are looking for people with warmth and compassion.”

Follow these four guidelines and you will be well prepared to face your interview with confidence and poise.

Good luck!

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