Nursing Interview Questions & Answers UK (For Band 4,5,6,7,8+) 2021 Update

Have you got a nursing interview coming up in 2021?

Maybe you are starting your nursing career and want to know what to expect?
Perhaps you are moving up to a nurse band 6 post or higher and want to know the interview questions and how to answer?

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 article includes a guide to the types of questions you are likely to encounter in nursing job interviews for bands 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8+ along with what to expect in 2021 in particular.

Interview Questions for Nursing Job Interviews

So what types of interview interviews should you expect in your Nursing interview for 2021?

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 the main categories are:

Clinical: 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?

Professional Values and Ethics: 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.

Previous Experience: The interviewer will ask questions based on your experience as shown on your CV. For Band 6 and above expect questions exploring your ability to manage a team, delegate tasks and take on greater responsibility.

Training and Qualifications (CPD): In this category you should expect 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.

Core Competencies: These interview questions will be designed to see whether you have the key skills and aptitudes required and will be in the form of competency-based questions. Expect questions exploring the following:

  • Communication Skills
  • Leadership
  • 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
  • Team Work

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
  • Safeguarding
  • And many more

In any one interview I would expect about 12 questions or so. As you can see, 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.

Band 4 to Band 5 Nursing 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 nursing 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?
Answer: 14.23ml

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?
Answer: 13.7mg

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 interview questions for Nurse Band 4 / 5

Interview Question 1: 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?

Interview Question 2: You have made a mistake when treating a patient. What do you do?

Interview Question 3: Can you briefly talk me through your understanding of Safeguarding in a Nursing environment.

Interview Question 4: What guidelines and procedures would you follow regarding urinary catheter maintenance in order to prevent urinary tract infection (UTI)?

Interview Question 5: How would you say the 6Cs have improved the level of care you give?

* Questions taken from the InterviewGold Interview System.

Click here for more interview questions plus expert winning answers for your nursing interview from InterviewGold »

Band 6, Band 7 and Band 8+ Nursing Interview Questions, Answers, 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.

At Band 6 and above, you should expect interview questions assessing 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 interview questions for Nurse Band 6, 7 and above:

In addition to questions types mentioned above you should expect many of your questions to be competency based and behavioural based asking for specific examples or scenarios.

For example, how would you answer these questions?

Interview Question 1: Talk us through an example which demonstrates your ability to deal effectively with emergency situations.

Interview Question 2: Describe a time when you used your communication skills to improve the care of one of your patients.

Interview Question 3: Describe for us a time when you used your leadership skills to resolve a difficult patient situation.

Interview Question 4: Tell us about a change you made to your working practices in order to improve patient safety.

Interview Question 5: How would you go about ensuring that you improve the quality of the care you give to your patients?

Interview Question 6: Tell us about a decision you made recently which had a positive effect on your patient’s care.

Interview Question 7: How would you show Courage in your daily rounds. Give us a recent example.

* Questions taken from the InterviewGold Interview System.

Learn more about InterviewGold for Nursing and how it can help you excel in interviews at band 6 and above »

Interview Questions About The 6Cs and NHS Hot Topics

You must keep your knowledge and skills up to date and you will be asked questions related to the 6Cs and NHS Hot Topics. For the former, you may be tested with scenario based questions selectively for example:

“Tell us about a time when you showed true compassion when dealing with a patient.”

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.

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.

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. You may even be asked about older issues and how they are affecting your daily care such as the the Francis report.

Your Nursing Interview: How to get expert answers to the questions and get the job

Nursing interviews can be challenging; mostly they are Competency Based in front of a large panel and for many candidates these can be daunting. More recently some NHS Trusts have introduced Value Based Recruitment and incorporate Strengths Based and Blended Interview techniques into the process.

However with proper preparation and effective practice you can master any NHS interview and walk away with the job offer and this is where InterviewGold for Nursing will help.

With InterviewGold, not only will you learn all the skills to succeed in any interview in Nursing, you will also discover the questions most likely to arise and you will get expert sample answers.

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