Interview tips for our Child Nursing degree

Childrens Nurse

If you're preparing for an interview for our Child Nursing degree, here are some tips that will help.

"Children and young people’s nurses (CYP) deliver care which is child centred within a family context," says Dr Mark Broom, Academic Subject Manager/Head of Pre-registration (Professional Regulation).

"CYP nurses are able to understand the developmental needs of children from birth to transition into adult life and how this is affected by ill health. A caring, respectful and compassionate attitude is essential whilst caring for vulnerable children and their family." 

The interview panel will consist of an academic, a clinician, and possibly a young person from one of our local comprehensive schools.

Six 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 CYP nurse and the talents, skills and experiences you have that match these.

Why do you want to be a CYP nurse?
We’re looking for people who can explain clearly and with conviction why they want to be a CYP nurse. Avoid clichés like: I love children and demonstrate through examples how you are suited to the profession. Children can be challenging when they are well so caring for them when ill is even more so. Consider how you will deal with this situation and the unique skills you can bring to the profession

What do you know about our child nursing degree?
This is an important one to get right. We’re looking for people who are serious about a career in CYP 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. Nursing, regardless of specialty, is a 24-hour a day, 7-days a week and 365-days-a-year profession so you should have considered shift working, antisocial working patterns the and effects this will have on your personal and family life.

Describe what you think a CYP nurse does and the type of people or groups you might work with
Get as much experience as you can before you apply for the nursing course. This will not only help you answer this question, but also show the panel that you are serious about a career in CYP nursing and know what it entails. In this question, we are looking for an understanding of the role – what help a child and their family's need; how to support children 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 the characteristics you would want from someone caring for you, your child or your family. Read the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) Code of Conduct. Think about the additional qualities required by someone working with children and families who may have, for example, a premature baby, an acute or life threatening illness and how you would emotionally cope with stressful situations such as child abuse (safeguarding). 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 are no right and wrong answers here; the panel is 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.

Four 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 – CYP nurses need to be assertive and unafraid to challenge or ask questions but friendly and easy to talk to.
  • Dress in smart, comfortable clothes. Remember this is an interview for a professional course.