How to Ace Your New Grad Nursing Interview

Written by Irene Luu, graduate of the Bachelor of Nursing at UTS and now Registered Nurse.

Everything has lead up to this….

100 points of ID? Check.

Vaccination card? Up
to date.

Police check? Got my
photocopies.

Passport sized photos? In
the plastic sleeve.

I’m all good to go right? But wait- what if they ask for something I don’t have!? Does that
mean I can’t do my interview? Does that mean I don’t get a new grad? I can’t
get a job? MY LIFE IS OVER!!

Like me, you might have these crazy thoughts running through
your mind as you head towards your interview. The stress you feel to succeed
the interview is beyond anything you have ever experienced. You’ve been
studying nursing for 3 years for this one and only chance this year to get a
new grad position. Just think of:

  • The small fortune spent on the encyclopaedias of
    nursing
  • The amount of time learning to research journal
    articles on databases
  • The stress of achieving 100% on a maths test
  • The stress of attending clinical placement –
    praying you don’t get sick working in an environment teeming with unwanted
    microorganisms lest you be stuck with the almighty make-up placement
  • The torment to resist buying McDonalds and sushi
    train every time you walk towards central station.

At
this point you might be feeling a little worried, so I’m going to share my experiences
with the interview, and even some advice along the way.

One
month before the interview

Practice
practice practice. Practice interview questions from every source you can find:
friends, facilitators, work, the internet. Remember the key themes of professional
development, infection control, nursing practice, medication, communication and
prioritising care.

One
week before the interview

Plan your interview outfit – keep in mind that first
impressions do count so dress professionally and appropriately.

By this time, check and double check the following details:

  • Location of your interview – it’s a good idea to
    visit the location at an earlier time so you can be more familiar with the area
  • Date of your interview – cancel ALL other plans
    on this day and make sure you have enough time to mentally and emotionally
    prepare yourself without distractions
  • Time of your interview – as well as the time YOU
    plan to be there; at least 30 minutes earlier to be safe
  • Transport arrangements – most hospitals have
    limited parking so consider taking public transport
  • All the necessary paperwork – ready and updated;
    include photocopies of everything

Day of the interview

It’s the moment of truth – the day of the interview. This is
how my day went:

I woke up and enjoyed a full breakfast (all nurses know a
good day starts with a full breakfast). Before I caught the bus to the hospital
I checked that all my paperwork was there. I walked into the building and
toward the interviewing area, where applicants slowly filled the empty chairs.
As I waited with the other applicants to be called, the 30 minutes I had
arrived early slipped away in an instant.

As they came to collect us all into another room to start
the identification process I tried to calm my nerves. After giving all my
paperwork I was allocated to panel C (there were 4 different panels) where I
sat again waiting to be called. All this waiting wasn’t doing my nerves any
favours as I practiced my deep breathing exercises.

As I watch an applicant leave the room I hear my name being
called. I mentally prepare myself as I walk in, seeing a white room with three
interviewers, a chair and a cup of water (drink this water – it helps!). As I
took a few deep breaths the interviewers chuckled and told me it was okay to be
nervous. As I took a few more breaths the interview began.

As I finished my last question, a panellist asked if I had
any questions. I responded with my prepared question: “What opportunities
following the transitional program do I have?”

I thanked the interviewers and left the room. Even as I
walked out, it took a few minutes before it hit me that the interview was
finally over.

There is a lot of pressure to be successful in the interview
so it’s okay to be nervous. However, as long you do all the preparation
possible you give yourself the best chance at succeeding.

Good luck! You’ll ace this!

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