Interview tips for our Learning Disability Nursing degree

Learning disability nursing

If you're preparing for an interview for learning disability nursing, here are some tips that will help.

"Learning Disability nurses support people to take more control of their lives, rather than remain passive consumers of healthcare," says Rachel Morgan, senior lecturer for Learning Disability Nursing.

"We are looking for people who feel strongly about this and about working with people with learning disabilities and their families."

The interview panel will consist of an academic, a clinician, and a person with learning disabilities - this is often a member of TRAC, our Teaching and Research Advisory Committee.

6 questions to prepare for

Tell us about yourself
Lots of people are unprepared for this or don’t know how to answer it. Don’t simply reel off a string of meaningless facts about how old you are and where you are from. Use it to demonstrate how you are a good fit for the role. Think about what qualities are needed by a learning disability nurse and the talents, skills and experiences you have that match these.

Why do you want to be a learning disability nurse?
We’re looking for people who can explain clearly and with conviction why they want to be a learning disability nurse. Avoid clichés like: I want to help people and demonstrate through examples how you do this and how you match the requirements of the role.

What do you know about our learning disabilities nursing course?
This is an important one to get right. We’re looking for people who are serious about a career in learning disability nursing and are fully aware of the commitment it requires. We expect you to have researched the course, attended an Open Day and thought about how you plan to manage the academic and personal demands of the course. Talk positively about why you want to study here and what you’re interested in learning.

Describe what you think a learning disability nurse does and what type of people or groups you might work with
Get as much experience as you can before you apply for the course. This will not only help you answer this question, but also show the panel that you are serious about a career in learning disability nursing and know what it entails. In this question, we are looking for an understanding of the role – what help people need; how to support people to do things for themselves; and the differences between this and other fields of nursing, such as adult nursing.

What qualities do you need to be a good professional?
Approach this question in three parts. Firstly, think about the qualities you expect from a nurse, and would want from someone caring for you. Read the NMC’s Code of Conduct. Think about the additional qualities required by someone working with people with learning disabilities who may have, for example, language difficulties. Finally, think about core values, such as respect, a sense of equality, and how you can link these in with the job. Use examples from your own life/career to show how you possess these qualities.

Tell us about your interests and what you do in your spare time
There’s no right and wrong answer here, the panel are trying to get a sense of who you are and what drives you. It helps if you can demonstrate how your outside interests ground you, support your values or beliefs, or will help you deal with stress.

Three final points

  • Relax — remember to smile, project warmth and engage with the whole panel, always addressing the person asking the question.
  • Be prepared – know your CV, the course and, above all, why you want to do this.
  • Be confident – learning disability nurses need to be assertive and unafraid to challenge or ask questions.