Finding and Applying for Jobs in Nursing

Nursing related jobs can carry very different titles and can be found in lots of different industries; as a result, they are often advertised in other unlikely places. You will therefore, need to be very creative in how you search for opportunities and establish a wide network of contacts within the industry who can keep you updated on opportunities as they arise.

Recruitment agencies

These are definitely worth considering especially if you are clear about the work sector you wish to enter. For some areas of work they are a major route into the sector. They place job seekers into both permanent and temporary vacancies and charge the employers (not you) a fee for doing so. Some recruitment agencies deal with jobs from all industry sectors and some are highly specialised and only cover a specific type of job.  Many generalist agencies can be found on the high street but you can also find a huge range of online specialist recruitment agencies.

NHS Trusts

Each Trust will operate a slightly different system so you need to become familiar with this. Attend any talks given by staff coming into the university to help you apply.

Nursing Fairs

Attend Nursing Fairs where you will get specific advice and up to date information on their recruitment needs - with lots of tips!

Interviews and Assessment Centres

You may have an interview, but a lot of places are using assessment centres as the main method of recruiting for posts.  Check out the interview and assessment sections of the site for more tips. 

Typical Interview Questions

Some interview questions and scenarios that nursing students have encountered in the past - use these to help you think about how you would answer.

  • Patient is nil by mouth and on IV therapy. The canula tissues and you have to wait 4 hours for SHO/FY2 to re-site it. You go to recommence IV therapy but Baxter drip appears broken. What do you do?
  • You are given a prescription chart with errors on it that you have to spot
  • A & P of heart
  • An elderly man is brought into hospital from a nursing home in a very dishevelled state - what do you do?

Interview questions: general

  • Why did you decided to become a nurse?
  • Why have you applied for this post in particular?
  • What has been/was the most challenging aspect of your course?
  • What have you enjoyed/did you enjoy most about your course?
  • What did you gain from your placements?
  • What is the difference between being student nurse and newly qualified nurse?
  • What experience do you have of working on a surgical ward?
  • What was the most challenging thing you had to deal with in your work experience or on your clinical placements so far?
  • Tell me about a distressing incident you experienced on a ward and how you coped with it.
  • You mention looking for non-verbal clues when speaking to patients. Give me an example of this.
  • Talk me through the insertion of a urinary catheter.
  • Give me an example of when you have had to think on your feet.
  • Describe a situation that demonstrates that you can work effectively as part of a team.
  • Can you tell me about a situation when you have had to use your communication skills in dealing with patients or colleagues.
  • Relatives of a patient, for whom you have primary responsibility, make a complaint about the care that the patient is receiving. How do you handle this situation?
  • A patient is lying on the floor of the ward and is having difficulty breathing. What do you do?
  • How do you think cultural differences can affect treatment?
  • What is your vision in relation to the rehabilitation and enablement of patients?
  • What do you think are the main challenges facing the NHS today?
  • What do you think are your main strengths and weaknesses?
  • How do you see your career developing over the next 5 years?
  • Why should we offer you this job?
  • Do you have any questions for us?
  • Tell me about yourself and what nursing you have done.
  • How do you keep up to date with current issues.
  • Tell me about some research / NHS policy you have recently read about.
  • What are the 6 Cs? What relevance do they have to the nursing profession?
  • How will you fulfil the study part of the PREP requirement.
  • What would you do if you did not get on with another staff member and it was causing problems?
  • What would you do if a patient told you something in confidence that could affect their care e.g. a patient who is nil by mouth awaiting a bronchoscopy tells you they have eaten sweets. Do you tell the doctor/ward manager and break the confidence?
  • What would you do if you and a senior nurse administered some medication and then realised you had made a drug error?
  • Why do you want to work here?

Interview Questions: Children's Nurse

  • Why did you decide to be a nurse, and a children's nurse in particular?
  • What do you think is the most important quality or skill for a children's nurse?
  • In what ways is children's nursing different from adult nursing?
  • How has your previous work experience been of benefit to you in your training and placements?
  • What has been the most challenging aspect of your course?
  • Describe a difficult situation that you encountered during a clinical placement?
  • What do you think are your main strengths and weaknesses?
  • Give me an example of when you have had to think on your feet?
  • Describe a situation that demonstrates that you can work effectively as part of a team.
  • Can you tell me about a situation when you have had to use your communications skills in dealing with patients, families or colleagues.
  • Relatives of a patient, for whom you have primary responsibility, make a complaint about the care that the patient is receiving. How do you handle this situation?
  • Why have you applied for this post in particular?
  • How do you see your career developing over the next 5 years?
  • What do you think are the main challenges facing the NHS today?
  • Why should we offer you this job?
  • Are there any questions you would like to ask?
Last modified: 
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 12:45