Have you got a nursing interview coming up in 2022?
Maybe you are starting your nursing career and want to know what to expect in your interview? Perhaps you are moving up in your career and looking for band 6 interview questions. Or maybe you would like advice how to how to answer successfully and get the job?
Looking for Interview Questions Band 5, 6, 7, 8? Well, you have come to the right place.
I have recruited for many nursing and healthcare positions in the UK both in the NHS and in private. I have created interviews for jobs ranging from healthcare and nursing assistants, staff nurses at all grades, practice nurses, district and community nurses and nurse team leaders and managers.
I am aware that for many nurses, the interview can be a daunting prospect and in fact, the fear of interviews puts many off moving to different trust or applying for a new job. Sadly, they miss out on potentially great promotions, increased salary, and more interesting roles and this need not be the case.
This detailed article includes a guide to the types of interview questions for bands 5, 6, 7 and 8+ and we detail what to expect in nursing job interviews in 2021.
In this article:
- How to get a job in Nursing in the NHS
- How to prepare for a Nursing job interview – Key tasks for band 5, 6, 7 and 8
- What should I expect in my nursing interview?
- Common interview questions for nursing bands 5,6,7 and 8
- Band 5, 6, 7 and 8 sample interview questions common to all
- “Tell me about yourself” question in a Nursing Interview
- What is your understanding of the 6Cs in nursing?
- Tell us about a time when you showed true compassion when dealing with a patient.
- How do you expect proposed changes will impact on your ability to provide quality care?
- Band 5 Interview Questions and Answers
- Sample band 5 interview questions for all nurse posts
- Band 6 Interview Questions – What to Expect
- Top 10 band 6 interview questions for all nursing specialties
- Band 7 interview questions – what to expect
- Sample Band 7 interview questions with answers
- Band 8 interview questions – what to expect
- Sample Band 8interview questions with answers
- Interview questions for International and Overseas nurses applying to the UK
- Answer your nursing interview questions with 100% confidence
How to get a job in Nursing in the NHS
This is a unique year to enter nursing due to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on EU workers after Brexit. Due to shortages in nurses, the Government are now offering £5,000 a year to train to enter the profession.
Most nurses in the UK still qualify to work by completing a nursing degree. You will choose a degree that is specific to the type of nurse you would like to become. Unlike many degrees, the chances of gaining a job once qualified is high. 94% of students get a job within six months of finishing their course.
However, as announced in the Queen’s Speech, the Government is putting more emphasis on apprenticeships. The Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeships (RNDA) offer a more flexible route into nursing, as they do not require full-time study at university. You will be employed as an RNDA, and your employer will release you part-time for study.
How to prepare for a Nursing job interview – Key tasks for band 5, 6, 7 and 8
In nursing, as in most professions, the trust or hospital you hope to work within will have its values and mission. There will also be pain points that they are looking to overcome. If you can speak to these in an interview, you are likely to interest them.
Therefore, you should research that organisation inside and out. You might also want to be 100% on top of what is happening in the NHS. Recent years have been a momentous time in the medical sector, and you will need to handle these issues.
While the thrust of the interview will be assessing your character and your suitability for a role as a nurse, you will also be tested on your technical and practical knowledge. Making a basic error in medications could be the end of your interview.
Yet, most at test in the interview for a nurse is your character. The role of the nurse as a carer requires someone who can listen astutely and address comments calmly. Rehearsing answers to scenario questions, where you have to listen carefully to the subtleties of an incident, will help you here.
How to Succeed in your Nursing Interview
What should I expect in my nursing interview?
When you are called for an interview, you will be asked questions by a panel. It is best not to assume that the panel are fully versed in your application or the details of your CV. Consequently, you need to use specific examples from your experience to support your answers.
When selling yourself to this room of strangers, you need to show them how you achieved the positive outcomes you suggest you will offer them.
The panel will be looking to see if you are fully aware of the needs of the role you have applied for and how it fits into the wider NHS. They will also expect you to show that your values align with the NHS and understand the current issues and demands on the service.
As with any role but most especially with nursing, your first impression will matter. Yours is a person-centred role, and you need to gain the trust of all quickly. It won’t be easy to shift perceptions if you appear late, ruffled, or dressed inappropriately. As a nurse, you need to demonstrate your reliability and professionalism more than in any other profession.
Common interview questions for nursing bands 5,6,7 and 8
So, what types of interview interviews should you expect in your nursing interview?
If you are being interviewed within the NHS today, you will more than likely be asked to take part in a formal interview in front of a panel. Due to Covid-19 your interview will be held within safety guidelines and may be conducted online.
Your interview questions will be a combination of traditional and competency-based in the form of a blended interview exploring your skills, qualifications and experience.
Nursing interview questions will normally follow the job description and person specification relevant to your band and the main categories are:
NHS Values Based Interview Questions
Values Based Recruitment (VBR) is a key framework used within the NHS and is designed to attract employees whose values match those of the organisation. You may be assessed in a number of ways including via a pre-screening values questionnaire which you would complete before you make your application. On the application and within the interview, you may be asked values based questions which are similar to competency based questions exploring your behaviour in past scenarios.
Core Competencies and Behaviours
The person specification will outline the essential criteria required and these competency-based interview questions will be designed to see whether you have the key skills and aptitudes required. Expect questions exploring the following:
- Communication Skills
- Developing Self and Others (Personal and People Development)
- Health, Safety and Security
- Changing and Improving (Service Improvement)
- Equality and Diversity
- Decision Making and Problem Solving
- Quality Care
NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework KSF
You will be required to meet the requirements of the KSF and questions will be directed towards the key elements.
While clinical skills are normally explored via written tests, you may find they ask some during the formal interview too. These may be hypothetical or direct. Here is an example of both:
Q. On your rounds you notice that one of the newer staff nurses in your change has incorrectly administered medication to the patient. What action would you take?
Q. What do you know about the sepsis six bundle?
We generally find that clinical questions are covered in some form of test pre-interview. Having said that they may put you on the spot in the interview. However, we find that most candidates can answer these clinical questions easily as they will relate to the day to day care being provided.
Professional Values and Ethical Questions
Expect interview questions exploring your ability to adhere to the NMC Code of conduct. These can be in the form of scenario based or competency-based questions and to prepare you should download and read the updated code which is available from the NMC website here.
The interviewer will ask questions based on your experience as shown on your CV. For example, interview questions for Band 6 and above will explore your ability to manage a team, delegate tasks and take on greater responsibility.
Training and Qualifications (CPD)
In this category you should expect interview questions exploring your understanding of governance, clinical effectiveness, NHS and Trust targets as well as your ability to keep your skills and knowledge up to date.
Personality, Motivation and Coping Skills
Your reasons for applying or for choosing your area of specialisation and how well you deal with difficult situations such as the death of one of your patients.
Key Areas and Hot Topics
The following four areas are key right now and you should expect questions exploring your understanding and your ability to apply guidelines in your daily practice.
- Covid-19 (Coronavirus)
- Infection Prevention and Control
- Duty of Candour
- Mental Health Services
- Health and Safety
- Equality and Diversity
- And many more
In any one interview, I would expect about 12 questions or so. As you can imagine, they cannot explore all of the areas above hence some will be covered by the written test.
Let’s look at these in a little more detail as they relate to each band.
Succeed in Your Nursing Interview
Band 5, 6, 7 and 8 sample interview questions common to all
There are some interview questions which will be common to all bands. These have been around for many years and you should prepare perfect answers for each.
Later we will detail interview questions for each of the bands 5, 6, 7 and 8 however here are some common and interesting questions we have heard being asked recently.
1. “Tell me about yourself” question in a Nursing Interview
This is our number 1 question, not just for nursing but all posts. So, if it comes up for example as one of your band 6 interview questions here is a tip to help with answering.
Having one standard answer to this question for all nursing posts won’t serve you well. It would be best to adapt what you say to what you know the interviewer is looking for, and their values and pain points will shape this. It will also be clear in the person specification.
Avoid general statements and fix everything in specific examples and stories from your experience when answering the question. Ensure this experience is relevant to the nursing speciality you are applying to.
Keep focused on answering this question about yourself regarding how your character helps you be the best nurse possible. Be honest and transparent about your nursing experience in its challenging moments and how you have risen to these times.
Read more: Get expert sample answers to this question and many more in the InterviewGold for Nursing online course. Join today and get questions and answers for your band along with a range of modules helping to excel in your interview and get the job.
2. What is your understanding of the 6Cs in nursing?
When looking to be a nurse, you need to demonstrate you possess the six Cs of nursing values, care, compassion, courage, communication, commitment, and competence
When shaping your answers to interview questions in your nursing interview, try coming back to these ideas time and again.
Depending on your level they may ask a more general question such as ‘Which of the 6Cs do you deem is most important?’ When giving an answer you must mention the equal importance of all however you can then give an example of when you demonstrated them in your work with emphasis on perhaps 2 or 3 in particular.
3. Tell us about a time when you showed true compassion when dealing with a patient.
Following on from question 2 you may be tested with scenario-based questions selectively for example this one relates to compassion. A recent experience is best one which shows your ability to bring compassion to a situation perhaps dealing with a patient and or their family.
For these types of questions, you will need to use the STAR or IPAR formula to structure your answers and your example will need to be clear and strong enough to demonstrate the quality you are being asked about.
4. How do you expect proposed changes will impact on your ability to provide quality care?
Remember there may be questions certainly from Band 6 and above regarding NHS Hot Topics, for example, Mental Health issues, Funding, the Charlie Gard case.
Less likely, you may even be asked about older issues and how they continue affecting your daily care such as the Francis report. So while rare it is worth spending a little time on these hot topics even those which now seem out of date but may still be part of your nursing protocols.
You must keep your knowledge and skills up to date and you will be asked questions related to the 6Cs and NHS Hot Topics.
How to succeed in your Nursing interview
Band 5 Interview Questions and Answers
For nursing posts at Band 4 to 5 including staff nurses, nurse practitioners in adult, children, disability and mental health you should receive an update and an invitation if you have passed the initial shortlisting.
Your invite may state that you are being invited to an assessment day, where you will take part in a number of computer-based tests specifically:
Literacy Tests: Your literacy test may be based on a patient scenario and you will be asked to document the actions you would take.
Numeracy Test: At band 4 and 5 the maths tests usually involve drugs calculations. The questions are usually relatively easy and may ask you to convert or calculate quantities or work out how long it takes for a drug to deliver.
For example, here are some typical maths-based band 5 interview questions:
Question 1: How long would it take for a litre of IV fluids to deliver at a rate of 150ml/hr?
Answer: The answer would be 6.66 hours or 6 hrs and 40 minutes.
Question 2: If you had 0.85ml of medicine in one syringe, 5.36ml of medicine in another syringe and 8.02ml of medicine in another syringe how many ml of medicine will you have in total?
Question 3: Your patient weights 68.5kg and is prescribed Dopamine at 0.2mg/kg/day. What is the total amount of dopamine they will need?
You will take part in a formal interview, which may take place the same day or at a later day agreed by you. Your interview will be in front of a panel, with a minimum of 2 people. Expect a blended interview with a combination of standard and competency-based interview questions.
Sample band 5 interview questions
1. Why have you chosen Nursing as your career?
2. What personal qualities do you bring which makes you an effective nurse?
3. Describe a time when you felt you gave optimum care to your patient. What did you do that made the experience so good for your patient?
4. You have made a mistake when treating a patient. What do you do?
5. Can you briefly talk me through your understanding of Safeguarding in a Nursing environment.
6. What guidelines and procedures would you follow regarding urinary catheter maintenance in order to prevent urinary tract infection (UTI)?
7.How would you say the 6Cs have improved the level of care you give?
8. What are you career goals within nursing?
9. What aspects of nursing in this specialty do you find most challenging?
10. Give us an example of a skill you have acquired recently which will be of use within this post.
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Band 6 Interview Questions – What to Expect
For senior posts at band 6 and above such as Senior Staff Nurse, Ward Sister/Charge Nurse, Specialist Nurse, Team Leaders, Deputy and Ward Managers your interview will be more in depth with questions exploring not just your ability to give great patient care but also to lead a team and manage resources.
As you are progressing into a Band 6+ post they will be interested in exploring your ability to support the senior team, to work as a team player and to lead junior nurses and trainees.
They will test your ability to manage the ward in the absence of the manager and so you will need to refresh your memory of tasks where you have shown leadership, initiative and excellent decision making, not just in terms of clinical situations but also when dealing with colleagues or with patients and their families.
Interview questions band 6 and above, will assess your ability to lead and mentor and carry out associated duties such as:
- recruiting and developing nursing staff
- overseeing induction and training programmes
- implementing staff development initiatives
- carrying out appraisals
- dealing with disciplinary and performance issues
Sample band 6 interview questions
In addition to the question types mentioned above you should expect many of your band 6 interview questions to be competency based and behavioural based asking for specific examples or scenarios.
For example, how would you answer these band 6 interview questions?
1. Talk us through your reasons for applying for this band 6 post.
2. What have you learned in the past 12 months which makes you a suitable candidate for the position?
3. Walk us through your recent career and highlight relevant training and experience which will be useful to you in this band 6 post.
4. Talk us through an example which demonstrates your ability to deal effectively with emergency situations.
5. Describe a time when you used your communication skills to improve the care of one of your patients.
6. Describe for us a time when you used your leadership skills to resolve a difficult patient situation.
7. Tell us about a change you made to your working practices in order to improve patient safety.
8. How would you go about ensuring that you improve the quality of the care you give to your patients?
9. Tell us about a decision you made recently which had a positive effect on your patient’s care.
10. How would you show Courage in your daily rounds. Give us a recent example.
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Band 7 Interview Questions – What to Expect
Nursing is a unique profession, and the level of responsibility taken on by a senior nurse is often under-estimated. The banding of nurses allows for those capable of rising to levels of much greater degrees of accountability. At Band 7 and 8, the interview and the questions you are asked are much different to those at lower bands, reflecting these higher-level responsibilities.
Here we explore the questions you might be asked and some guidance on how to shape your answer.
At Band 7, you are expected to undertake the responsibilities of advanced leadership. It might, for example, mean you are taking on a ward manager post. You will be expected to show competencies in managing other colleagues and patient movements and coordination with the Bed Manager.
The leap in responsibility from a Band 6 to a Band 7 is significant, and some support and guidance in developing the leadership qualities are useful.
Band 7 Interview Questions
Here is a small sample of band 7 nurse interview questions with a short answer guide. How would you answer.
1. What management experience do you have for a Band 7 nurse?
When applying for the post, you will be given a list of competencies you will be expected to fulfil in this Band 7 role. Be sure to cite specific examples of experience that relate to these criteria.
2. What have you done to improve your knowledge in the last year?
When you reach a position of leadership, it is easy to become complacent about your skill levels. If this question is asked, your employer shows that they understand constant, positive self-improvement is a necessary quality in a nurse. Demonstrate how you take on additional learning to ensure you stay up to date. Your goal in your answer is to prove you are self-sufficient and motivated.
3. Moving up to a Band 7 post can highlight gaps in ability. What would you need to improve on to take on the role successfully?
This question is asking about a weakness and there are two ways you can address this. You can take a weakness that just happens to be your greatest strength now. Alternatively, you can point to something you are aware of about yourself and how you actively work to improve or counter this weakness. The latter option is much more authentic to the question being asked.
4. Why have you decided to apply for this specific position, and what value can you offer?
Remember, the step up from Band 6 to 7 is usually substantial, and your new role will be different to what you have done before. Therefore, the employer is trying to gauge if you understand what is expected of you and how you can fulfil the responsibility. Talk about your motivations and reflect in this your understanding of what you will be doing.
5. Provide an example of when you have had to convince a challenging service partner and describe how you influenced them.
When you reach this level in nursing, you will be responsible to some degree for clinical and operational delivery. This means you will be part of negotiations with others who will have competing needs, values, or ideas. You will need to use phrases such as active listening, seeking compromise, empathising, and getting buy-in.
6. How have you dealt with the underperformance of another staff member?
The answer to this question depends on whether the underperformance is clinical or whether it is to do with teamwork and general competencies. If lapses in clinical knowledge are serious, then you are compelled to explore formal disciplinary procedures. If the underperformance supports the team, it might be better to talk about support and mentorship to evolve them as a professional.
7. Provide an example of a project or program you have led.
While at Band 6, you might not have had extensive leadership or management; you are likely to have taken on some responsibility for projects or programs. Prepare ideas on how you performed in these projects and how you will apply what you learned.
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Band 8 Interview Questions – What to Expect
Moving to a Band 8 post is an exciting opportunity and you will need to show that you are ready to take on the extra responsibilities. You may still carry out some nursing duties, but you are more likely to manage a large team of staff.
Your management skills at this level are essential to your success, and the bigger the team, the more this will be reflected in your salary. Band 8a – 8b roles begin at close to £46k and can rise to almost £88k per annum.
Sample Band 8 Interview Questions
Here is a small sample of generic Band 8 interview questions. Your answers will need to reflect the greater level of responsibility you are taking on.
1. What type of leader are you, and how would you demonstrate effective leadership?
You are expected to carry out your everyday nursing duties while showing effective leadership skills. Recognising that this can create a conflict for your time and how you manage this. It shows you have a realistic expectation of what awaits you. You should also give a clearly defined idea of your version of effective leadership, likely focused on applying exceptional standards for which you will be a positive role model.
2. When did something not go your way, and how did you handle the situation?
The interviewer is basically asking if you are aware of how difficult a Band 8 nursing job is going to be. It is a challenging role, and they want you to enter the position with your eyes wide open. How you react will be essential, understanding that you put the organisation as a whole before your needs and opinions. You may want to reference the NHS values and offer a specific example of when these were challenged.
3. How would you demonstrate the NHS values in this Band 8 position?
Within a leadership role in the NHS, you are expected to uphold the core values of the service and your Trust. How you do this is going to define how successful you are as a Band 8 nurse. Start by naming the values to show how you know them, and then give specific examples of how you will promote these values.
4. What would you do to improve the service we provide for patients?
You will have influence over decision making in the Trust and so will be expected to show some strategic thinking. Consider what improvements you would make and how you would deliver these changes for the Trust you are applying to, making sure you consider implementation and impact.
5. What are the principles of change management in the NHS?
Managing change in any context is challenging, as you run up against the values and beliefs of those who have worked in a set way for a long time. In the NHS, managing change has to be done with exceptional efficiency if it does not impact patient care. Understanding some of the theories of change management and then shaping this theory to the context of an NHS trust will provide all you need for an excellent answer.
6. What’s the most important characteristic needed for this Band 8 position?
By the time you reach a Band 8 position, your technical skills as a nurse are likely beyond reproach. What might be put under pressure is your character, as you are faced with the daunting challenge of managing the care of patients and the performance of colleagues. Consider what character you have and why this makes you perfectly suited to this level of challenge.
As a candidate you will be expected to be more active in your interview. You may be asked to give a presentation to demonstrate your communication skills. Competency questions relating to leadership, communication, changing and improving may be asked and your examples will need to reflect the level this role is at.
At all levels, it is always a good idea to have some questions ready to ask the panel. Yet, when you get to Band 8, you are expected to interview the employer as much as they are interviewing you. When you reach this level, you need confidence in your suitability to the degree you want them to fight a little for your time. So, asking what makes this trust or department different, finding out something about the organisational culture and asking what supervision and professional you will enjoy are all valid questions to ask.
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Interview questions for International and Overseas nurses applying to the UK
The UK can now recruit nurses from a hundred more countries than before Brexit, as the UK Government could update its code of practice for international recruitment independently. The health minister reduced restrictions on overseas nurse recruitment because of the need to meet targets for new nurses in the NHS.
When applying in the UK is crucial to remember the need to be fully qualified and registered with the NMC, which will require you to pass a computer-based test and supply all relevant documentation. You will likely be asked to prove your English Language Ability as part of your application.
Once through the application process, your NHS Trust will act as your Certificate of Sponsorship that allows you to live in the UK for five years. You will also need to apply for a visa to work in the UK.
Finally keep in mind the above advice when it comes to your interview and as you move up the career ladder you will know better the interview questions for say band 5, 6 etc. and you will be in a much better position to get the role.
Answer Your Nursing Interview Questions With 100% Confidence
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