So, Why Do You Want To Be A Nurse?

It’s the most common question any nursing major will receive during the interview process, whether for school or for co-op positions. “Why do you want to be a nurse” is ubiquitous, and with good reason. Your answer says a lot about you and your motivations, not to mention where your passion lies. I’ve heard many variations on a theme in the answers to this question, ranging from sincere to predictable and fake. Here are the two best ways to answer this question if you find yourself without a “classic” response!

1.       The Heartfelt Approach

If you became a nurse because of a personal experience, this answer is for you! For example, if you spent time in the hospital when you were young due to your own illness or a relative’s, and that’s where you discovered your passion, your answer will come across as genuine and give the interviewer a great idea of who you are. But beware! This way of answering can backfire if you stretch too hard to make a connection. If you didn’t have an epiphany in the midst of a medical crisis, please don’t try to make one up. You will just come across as phony, and nurses can spot an exaggerated story a mile away.

Example: “When I was twelve, my best friend John was diagnosed with cancer. I visited him every day in the hospital and found myself fascinated by how the nurses cared for him. They saw him more than the doctors did and always took the time to make sure he was doing OK. I knew then that I wanted to be a nurse someday so I could help people the way my friend was helped.”

2.       The Realistic Approach

Let’s face it, there are many benefits to nursing that have nothing to do with patient care. There’s the flexible scheduling, the many varied career paths and specialties, not to mention the job security. So if you became a nursing major for any of those reasons, good for you! These are perfectly valid reasons for entering the nursing profession. The problem, however, is that flat-out stating this in an interview makes you come across as caring only for the money, not the patients. Many interviewers see nursing as a lifelong passion, not “just a job,” so if the realistic approach is not taken tactfully, this answer could set a sour tone for the interview. One way to prevent this is to explain your evolving passion for nursing alongside your practical thinking, proving that you are pragmatic about your future career, but also have a passion for it.

Example: “I first applied to nursing school because I liked the flexibility involved in the profession and the job availability in my area. But now that I have been in nursing classes, I realize how much I love nursing in addition to all of the practical benefits it provides. I am excited about my career choice and couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else!”

My story mixes the two, and I’ve found that my answer works because it feels real. I always had a passion for science and taking care of others from a young age. I also really loved working with kids in summer camps and after school plays. When high school started and I began thinking about my career and college, nursing jumped out at me. When I volunteered at my local hospital, it all clicked for me. I loved making people feel better, and to me, the nurses were superheroes. The same spirit of discovery that I loved about science is at the heart of nursing as a profession. Being a pediatric nurse means caring for the whole family, not just the patient, and that appealed to me. I applied to NU Nursing and never looked back because I knew I had made the right choice and found my life’s passion.

No matter what your reasons are for entering nursing, just know that this one question does not define who you are or who you will be as a nurse! Whether you decided to be a nurse for the practical benefits or the emotional rewards, what matters most is what you do at the bedside for the patient every day.

Julia Thompson is a second year Nursing major in the Bouve College of Health Sciences. She works as a nursing assistant at South Shore Hospital and is currently on her first co-op at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is the secretary of the Northeastern University Student Nurses’ Association and is also involved with Bouve Fellows. Feel free to contact her at thompson.jul@husky.neu.edu with any questions. You can follow her on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/juliavthompson) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/juliavthompson).

How to Ace a Job Interview…Tips from an Interviewer’s Perspective.

jobinterview

We all know job interviews are terrifying. Just as many people have admitted they would rather die than speaking in front of an audience, same goes for interviewing for a job. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel as though I sweat more during a job interview than when I am jogging. The whole process is extremely terrifying, but it is something we all have to do. I am going to alleviate some of this fear and excess sweating, by listing several important tips I have learned as a practice interviewer.

FIRST, PRE-INTERVIEW PREPARATION:

1. Don’t lose sleep

The night before is literally the same feeling as the night before an exam or flight. You toss and turn, your mind is running, you keep thinking about the worst, you panic, you can’t breathe. This is where you have to stop yourself and say, there is nothing you can do about it right now, it is midnight, let your mind sleep. We all know sleep is very important, so make sure to go to bed at a decent time so you have at least 7 hours of sleep.

2. Wake up Confident

After all the chaos your mind and body dealt with before you finally fell asleep, you deserve to feel good about yourself as you begin your morning prior to the interview. Give yourself a pep talk and remind yourself of all the good qualities you have. Don’t start panicking and thinking about flaws or convincing yourself you are not good enough because you are only lying to yourself. You wouldn’t want someone to lie to you, so why lie to yourself?

3. Put on your best outfit

Make sure to pick out an outfit you feel confident in. It could either be a really nice shirt, a nice pair of pants or skirt. You can even have a pair of socks which are your lucky socks or something like that. It doesn’t matter as long as you have some extra support and comfort from your closet. Studies show that dressing to impress can definitely elevate confidence levels. Go out there looking like the next James Bond or Audrey Hepburn and get that job.

4. Be on time

Being on time is so important. It is better to be early than late. Be sure to set your alarm on time and have everything ready for the morning so you have less running to do. Being on time is also a very important way to show you are reliable.

NOW, THE INTERVIEW IN QUICK STEPS:

The first moments are crucial. The way you walk in and present yourself makes a big impression on the interviewer, so be sure to do these few things carefully in order to make a good impression:

1. Posture

you want to make sure you are walking into the room with confidence. Having a good posture enhances your confidence and makes you feel powerful. Trust me, it works.

2. Smile

A smile is a huge indication that you are friendly, confident and interested. Smiling is a great way to calm your nerves, because smiling increases dopamine levels, allowing you to feel and present confidence. #Science

3. Shake and introduce

It is important to do these two steps in unison. Reaching out your hand and firmly shaking the interviewer’s hand while introducing yourself loudly and clearly shows you are taking action first. You are showing confidence and allowing yourself to open up the conversation with a kind, professional gesture, instead of holding back and waiting for the interviewer to introduce themselves first.

4. Eye contact is everything

It is very important to make as much eye contact as you can. Having good eye contact shows confidence, attentiveness, and respect. Eye contact also shows trust. They say if someone is looking around and making little eye contact they are not being true to themselves as well as possibly not being honest.

5. Don’t slouch

It is important to sit upright and not slouch. Please don’t have your legs open or have your arms crossed, these are two signs you are not being professional nor are you taking the interview seriously. The more proper you are as ladies and gentlemen, the more professional you will look to the interviewer.

6. Prepare questions

It is extremely important to come to the interview with several written questions. You can Google some “interview questions” in case you are stuck, bring at least one interview question, it counts as interviewers find this preparation piece very authentic. It shows you put time into preparing for your interview.

7. Do your research

It is important that you research the company, position you are applying for and the interviewer. You have plenty of time to do a little research and write down some bullet points to keep as a reference in case you become nervous. It helps to know a little information about the interviewer too because it will allow them to share their experiences as well. As humans, we enjoy talking about ourselves, so spice up your interview a bit by directing attention to the interviewer.

8. Make a proper exit

Make sure once the interview has ended that you properly thank the interviewer, shake their hand firmly, smile and exit with confidence.

A little side note: always be yourself and don’t be superficial. As humans, we can smell out a superficial person. The interviewer will see right through you if you are fake. Just be true to yourself, be honest and take the time to make a good impression. Good luck!

Pre-Interview Work

Applied to job(s)? Check. Phone call for an interview? Check. Interview? Not yet.

Pre-interview prepping is crucial and can make you a standout applicant in the pool. This can seem tedious and you may not think you have time for it with everything else already on your plate. However, it shows the interviewers that you are educated about the company, what they do and stand for, and what’s to come.

Where to start: the “About Us” section. This is where I’ll first get an idea about the company, their mission, and leadership. You can learn a lot about a company from these few paragraphs. This is also good to look at before even applying to decide if you might even be a good fit for the company. For me, if I don’t stand with the company values, I might find it hard to see myself working there.

Next up: research. For whatever type of job you’re looking for, whether it be management, research, clinical work, or design, look at what the company is currently doing. As someone looking for bio-based research, I’ll do this by reading recent publications by the particular research team. It’ll show the employer that you know what they are focusing on, what they found, and it’s a good point to ask questions about the research. Asking questions is always a difficult thing to do, but this at least gives you content to ask about.

These two points of “work” before the interview will make you more prepared going into the conversation. You’ll learn about the company and the kind of work you might be a part of, while showing the interviewers your interest in the work.