Nurse Interview

7 common community nursing interview questions

By Daniel Allard

​If you’re a nurse and you’re looking to find your next job role, then it can be daunting to feel confident in how to fully demonstrate your knowledge and expertise during an interview scenario. Here are some sample questions and how you can answer them effectively.

1. Why do you like working as a nurse?

This will almost certainly be one of the opening questions. The interviewer will want to know what you enjoy about your job role. You could share your thoughts on what personally motivates you to work within the NHS and explain what your professional values are.

If you work well in a team and gain satisfaction from helping patients with their recovery, here’s your chance to say so. It would be beneficial to think of some nursing practice examples which you can include within your response.

2. What is your nursing experience to date?

Although the hiring panel will have reviewed a copy of your CV prior to your interview, they will want to hear about your experience in your own words. You may benefit from writing down a few notes on your CV which could help you to summarise key experience and achievements.

Start by stating when you passed your nursing degree then list the work and ward placements you have held since.

3. Describe a situation where you have dealt with a difficult or aggressive person.

The panel will be looking to find out how you coped in these instances. To help explain the situation, you could structure your answer into a ‘story’ format. Start with the description of the scenario and who's behaviour you had to manage, add more detail on the specific steps you took to calm the situation and then describe the positive results of the action you took.

4. If a colleague performs a practice that does not conform to nursing protocol, what would you do?

This is an unlikely situation, but it’s designed to find out how you can ensure that a patient’s wellbeing is paramount in all that you do. You may be given a hypothetical scenario so that you can explain how you would intervene to prevent your colleague from continuing this practice. You will also need to describe how you would report the incident; informing your manager or senior nurse and completing an incident form.

5. What is your understanding of infection control?

As a community nurse, you’ll be working across a variety of different environments so it’s important to have a good understanding of NHS Infection Control. It is a process to prevent, control and reduce the possibility of infectious diseases amongst patients and staff. You will need to explain the techniques you use, including hand hygiene, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), injection safety and waste disposal procedures.

6. What do you want to achieve in this role?

You could explain how you wish to continually improve your skills and knowledge for the benefit of patients. As community nurses are becoming increasingly important within the NHS, you should demonstrate your understanding of how the role is likely to expand in the future as well as how it relates to your personal ambitions.

You may be involved in joint care management, working alongside social care services or offering educational and/or advisory services for patients and their families. If so, talk about why you think this element of your practice is so important.

It's also worth considering how to answer the 'tell me about yourself' question.

7. What are your expectations of us as your new employer?

Make sure that you’ve done your research and that you know what your new employer’s ambitions are. Your Sanctuary Health consultant will work with you to explain more about the specific employer, but if you’re looking for support to improve your skills or you’re keen to progress your community nursing career into a key specialism, then this is your opportunity to share your preferences.

We have written a selection of pieces around starting and navigating your nursing career. If you need help preparing for your next community nursing interview, get in touch with your Sanctuary consultant.