Answering Interview Questions: what makes me a good nurse or midwife?


Question: What qualities do you have that will make you a successful nurse or midwife?

One of the most commonly asked questions, and definitely one of the most difficult. Even for the most introspective person, talking about what makes you amazing can be very difficult. However, key to being a successful nurse or midwife is self-reflection and self-awareness.

No matter who you are, you will have traits that interview panellists will be looking for. These panellists are looking to build balanced teams, so it will always be difficult to predict what traits individual panellists are seeking out in this question. It’s ok to be different, as long as you are aware of your difference and the role you can play in a nursing or midwifery team.

Here are our top 5 tips for how to figure out your best traits, and acing this question.

  1. Self-reflect

Self-reflection is key to answering this question. Ask yourself “what do I like about me?” and “what traits do I have that will make me a successful nurse or midwife?” This process will differ depending on who you are, but activities like journaling and mind-mapping can assist here.

Journalling can help you consolidate your thoughts | Photo Credit: Canva

These traits will be different from person-to-person. Some people are natural planners and strategists, while others are detail-oriented. Some people are naturally caring and compassionate, while others are knowledgeable and resilient.

  1. Ask you family and friends

Also ask your family and friends about what traits they like about you. Different people will have different insights into your character, so it’s often quite eye-opening to ask those around you about what they like about you.

Asking your family and friends can assist you with answering this question | Photo Credit: Canva
  1. Look for both professional and professional skills

Candidates should provide a balance of traits from both their professional and personal lives. Characteristics used mainly in professional contexts like team-work and time management, should be provided alongside traits like compassion and care. Avoid falling into the trap of only providing answers from one side or the other.

You need both professional and personal skills for a well-rounded answer | Photo Credit: Canva
  1. Be honest

For this question, honesty is certainly the best policy. Panellists can see through candidates who aren’t telling the truth, and there’s nothing worse than a colleague that lacks integrity. For example, telling a panel that you are confident and outspoken, while being introverted during the interview, can work against you. Also, telling a panel that you’re fantastic at something, then failing to prove your prowess while at work, can be very disheartening for both yourself and your future employer.

Don’t lie – you’ll probably be caught out | Photo Credit: Canva
  1. Don’t use traits that don’t mean anything

I wish I didn’t have to write this in, but alas. Try not to use vacuous traits like “interesting” or “nice” which provide no insight as to what kind of nurse you might be. Also avoid characteristics that have no relevance to your future career.

Only use the word “nice” if you’re Santa Clause | Photo Credit: Canva
  1. Use stories to prove your point

Stories are key to connecting with other people. It’s also the best way to show the panel that you in fact have the trait you claim to have. If appropriate, use a modified STAR method to make your point. Just don’t dwell on irrelevant details or stories – it can show that you are easily distracted and lack time management.

Use stories to prove a point | Photo Credit: Canva

There really are no “right” answers for this question. As long as you’re honest, and provide the panellists with your true strengths as a future nurse or midwife, they will be able to find a role suited to you.

Got any other tips on answering this question? If you need any more support, NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association members can call 02 8595 1234. If you’re not yet a member, you can also sign up here.

And if you’re lucky enough to receive a placement, check out the amazing Transitioning to the Workplace workshops, offered by the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association


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