The best approach when answering interview questions on strengths and weaknesses for a nurse job interview, is to identify the job requirements, and highlight your skills and competencies that match the job requirements as strengths.
Nurses treat patients by recording their medical history, administering medication and treatments, performing diagnostic tests, operating hospital machinery, educating patients and their relatives about treatment options and recovery approaches, and offering emotional support. Regardless of the specialization, basic skills required for success in a nursing career include:
- Good knowledge of medical terminology and medication.
- Knowledge of standard procedures such as administering injections and anesthesia.
- Ability to work in a team and in close collaboration with doctors and physicians.
- Ability to handle pressure and remain calm and focused in critical situations such as surgery, or when the person experience sudden critical condition such as heart attacks.
- Ability to manage time effectively.
- Good observation skills to understand the patient’s condition, recognize situations when patient lapse into critical condition, and ability to take necessary action on the spot.
- Good communication skills to interact with patients in varying conditions, and ability to answer their questions in the way they understand.
- Good people skills, with ability to remain cool and assure patients and their anxious relatives who may display emotional reactions, and gain their confidence.
The key skills and competencies required for success, vary depending on the specialization in the medical field. For instance, nurses assisting surgeons require knowledge of surgical procedures, and nurses in critical care require sound knowledge of extensive medication protocols and therapies.
Think of these points, and consider how you measure up. Have examples of times when you demonstrated these traits, ready for interview time.
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Skills and competencies required for the job, but which the candidate does not possess count as weakness. The candidate, while mentioning such weaknesses should in the same breath, also explain the steps taken to improve on such weakness and convert them into strengths. For instance, mention of a weakness of poor communication skills should be counteracted by demonstrating to the interviewer, steps taken to improve communication skills, such as attending a training program, practicing with colleagues, etc.
Some behaviors and practices can have negative implications in a nursing practice. You would do well to overcome traits such as nervousness, inability to handle pressure, and lack of initiative or a laid-back attitude - these could all hamper job performance of a nurse. Consider this before attending an interview for the nursing profession, to avoid listing such traits as weaknesses in a job interview. Make sure to list weaknesses such as emotional involvement, that does not hamper job performance.
One important consideration when answering questions on strengths and weaknesses during a nurse job interview, or for that matter any other questions, is honesty. Most interviewers appreciate candor and honesty. The interviewer can easily expose a candidate claiming strength that one does not possess, by asking probing follow up questions and examples from experience or education, where the candidate has demonstrated such strengths. For instance, if the candidate claims good conceptual acumen as one of her strengths, then this obviously needs substantiation by consistently high academic scores.
In a few rare occasions where the candidate might successfully create a smokescreen and pass the interview by lying and making false claims, they invariably find themselves exposed in a work situation, ultimately affecting career progression negatively. Companies place a high value on honesty, and take a strong stand against candidates who lie. Discovering a lie, very often leads to not just instant termination from the job, but a bad mark that can affect future job prospects too.
Other important nursing job interview tips to bear in mind are keeping a straight face and answering clearly, positively, and with confidence. Answering questions about one’s strong points with timidity and hesitation leaves an impression of you not being sure of the strong points, or trying to make it up.
Interviewers consider candidates who say they have no weakness as either lying through the teeth, or as someone unaware of their own skills and competencies. Either way, this effects job prospects considerably.
Questions related to strengths and weaknesses for a nurse job interview are standard in most interviews, but there are no standard answers. In situations where other factors such as skills and competencies remain equal, the approach the candidate takes on answering such questions very often makes the difference between making the cut and rejection.
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