Once you have completed your education to become an RN and received your license, you are most likely going to be looking for a job in the nursing profession. Whether you are new to nursing or simply looking for a new job within the field, you will be required to complete an interview. The interview is a vital part of the hiring process for companies and businesses, even in the medical field. The interview process will require you answering questions about your nursing strengths and weaknesses.
The interview process for a registered nurse may be more intense than most other professions. This is why it is important that you properly prepare yourself for any interview process as the interview will determine whether you are accepted into the position you desire or not.
What Are Required Skills for a Nurse?
A nurse needs to know how to properly record their patient’s medical history, administer any treatments or medication appropriately, and be able to educate their patients and patients’ families about all treatment options and recover procedures. A nurse must also be able to operate any hospital machinery to perform tests as well as be able to offer appropriate emotional support and interaction.
Nurses are required to:
Have a strong knowledge base that includes medical terminology and medication
Know how to properly administer injections and anesthesia
Work well as a team with doctors, physicians, and other nurses
Control their stress levels so that they are able to remain calm in all medical situations
Have reliable time management skills
Have the ability to determine the best immediate action for patients depending on their current circumstances
Communicate effectively with patients, families, and other medical staff
However, the skills also vary a lot concerning the specific specialization. As an assistant to a surgeon, nurses need to have basic knowledge of surgical procedures; while a nurse who specializes in emergency care is required to have knowledge of emergency protocols and emergency medication application.
Know the job requirements and be relevant!
Understanding the job requirements is the best thing you can do to properly answer any interview questions about your strengths. You want your answer to reflect strengths and competencies that relate to the specific job for which you are applying.
Prior to the interview, it is a good idea to create a list of 3-5 strengths you have that relate to the specific position. Items such as your leadership skills, interpersonal relationship building skills, and optimistic approach are great strengths you can use to your advantage.
Think about the unique strengths
Technically and clinically astute
Do you participate in nursing conferences and journal clubs? Are you the first person your colleagues come to when they are having difficulty determining lab results or clinical findings? You may also find that you are easily and quickly able to learn new technology such as IV pumps.
High ethics about service
Are you reliable and willing to volunteer to help other staff members or patients? Maybe you are already the chair on a social committee, or you find that you are willing to take control to ensure that the sick colleague has your support.
Superb hand-eye coordination
Do you have a keen eye, superb hand-eye coordination, an extremely steady hand, or a combination of all three? Being able to quickly decode a medication or quickly and effectively insert an IV are qualities of a great nurse.
Easily build relationships
Are you a person who easily builds friendly relationships with coworkers and patients? Do you have the keen ability to discover what you can do to best support and encourage a grieving loved one or a sick, depressed patient? This ability makes you a great asset to any team.
I find that my communication skills are of great help to me in my career. I love speaking with parents and patients, which helps me build a strong relationship with them. Having this relationship is what helps me support and encourage parents and patients as they struggle with their child’s health. My organizational skills are a vital part of my ability to work well as a team member. Keeping my schedule organized allows me to effectively use my time to help all patients and co-workers.
Pick minor weaknesses
There are certain weaknesses such as nervousness and the inability to handle pressure which can greatly dissuade your interviewer from recommending you from hire. It is important that you overcome these weaknesses so that you can effectively perform your duties as a nurse.
Before you attend the interview, determine which weaknesses will impede your ability to get the job and which will not. Weaknesses such as emotional involvement are great weaknesses to share with your interviewer as they do not impede your ability to perform the job.
Put emphasis on what you have done to improve the weakness
When you are answering questions about your weaknesses, it is important that you also share how you are working on converting your weaknesses into nursing strengths. As an example, if you mention poor communication skills as your weakness, it is important that you counter that statement with ways you are working on improving your skills, such as attending training or practicing with coworkers.
Always be sure that you use specific examples. Being vague conveys the message that you are not being truthful. It is important that you remain honest during your interview. If you keep your integrity intact, you will be able to show that you know your weaknesses and ways you can improve them.
I was very shy and had difficulty speaking up for myself during the first month at my current job. I was being blamed for losing a patient’s chart one day, so I knew that I had to say something. I discussed the issue with the DON so that I could show her how I didn’t go into work until after the patient had been discharged. I was very nervous, but I knew that I did not lose the chart so I had to tell the truth. I have become better about speaking my mind thanks to this circumstance
I have been diligently working on my time management skills. I have taken time to learn how to batch my duties and always have enough supplies on hand. I am becoming better prepared so that I can save time by anticipating what my patients might need.