Preparing For Interviews

Mental health graduate nurse applicants are usually interviewed individually by a panel of two or three people. The panel usually includes the graduate nurse coordinator, as well as other nurse educators, unit managers and carer or consumer consultants. Arrive early and dress professionally. Dress better than you would expect to in your day-to-day nursing work.

You should study and prepare for your interviews. Practice your interview responses. Be ready to answer questions and provide examples for the following:

  • What interests you about mental health nursing?
  • Why do you want to work at this service? How do you relate to this organisation’s values?
  • What is your understanding/experience of recovery-oriented practice / supported decision-making?
  • Discuss the processes around/components of an MSE / inpatient admission / risk assessment / compulsory treatment / restrictive interventions / Advance Statements
  • Medication categories and side effects
  • How do you look after yourself? How do you handle stressful situations?

Think of examples of your own practice, for example, during placements, where you:

  • Practiced in a recovery-oriented manner, i.e. promoted autonomy and self- determination, responded to diversity, supported people with their social or educational goals. For more information on recovery-oriented practice see the CPN recovery library.
  • Managed risk. Ensure you think about engagement, and not just observation, when it comes to risk management
  • Engaged with carers, family, friends or nominated persons
  • Worked with staff from other disciplines

Grad Nurses Interview

Prepare and practice responses that highlight your strengths, your commitment and your ability to reflect on your interactions with people. Carefully consider the language you use. Language can give away a lot about your attitude to people with mental health challenges.

If you have previous experience in a field that would demonstrate a capacity for mental health nursing work (even if this experience was in a voluntary capacity) try to mention this in your interviews. For example, if you have worked in the disability sector.