Registered nurses looking to go back to school face a challenging, yet rewarding, road ahead. The admission process for nurse practitioner students may vary between schools, but many have the same requirements. One common requirement is the entrance interview. While this can be nerve-wracking for prospective students, a little preparation can ease the anxiety and allow the interview process to flow smoothly.

The following are commonly asked questions at nurse practitioner school entrance interviews:

First, the Basics

The first thing a student should do is start with the basics. Some nurses may have been out of the job-search arena for a while, so brushing up on the basics is prudent. First, become familiar with nurse practitioner scope, roles, and job duties. It can help answer some of the questions. Of course, the student should also make sure they know who they are meeting with, where they are meeting, and what time the interview appointment starts. It helps to write this information down or enter it into an electronic planner or phone. Scoping out the campus (if it's not a telephone interview) might be a good idea to make sure the interviewee knows where to go and how long it takes to get there.

Why Do You Want to Be a Nurse Practitioner?

This is one of the most common questions asked in an entrance interview. It's good to have a few reasons handy, and the answer is very individualized. Some wish to become a nurse practitioner to further their education and degree, some find that they wish to manage a patient population, and some wish to serve as a healthcare provider with a nursing touch. Whatever the reason, prospective students should spend some time reflecting on their personal reasons for choosing to become an NP.

Which Specialty Are You Interested In and Why?

This interview question is another common one. Faculty are looking for the heart of why the student is there. A personal story that ties to the specialty choice helps them see the "why" in your academic pursuit. For example, a story about caring for a pediatric oncology patient as a staff nurse in the hospital might lead one to want to manage the overall care of pediatric oncology patients. Additionally, if a nurse is planning to incorporate higher or additional degrees ( i.e. a DNP or Ph.D.), the student should be prepared to explain his/her reasons for that as well.

How Do You Stay Up-to-Date?

Many faculty interviewers like to hear that nurses keep up with evidenced-based research and standards of care. Discussing professional journal articles or website topics can be a huge advantage in the NP entrance interview. The world of medicine changes so rapidly; the faculty needs to ensure that future nurse practitioners can keep up with the latest developments.

What is Your Philosophy?

NP school interviewers may use this question to determine the student's approach to care. Don't be afraid to discuss core values. It's important to always place the patient care as the primary focus, and highlight some of the other significant values as well, such as honesty, integrity, safety, etc. Interviewers recognize that one's values affects how they act and how care is delivered.

Why Should We Select You?

This question is common not just in nurse practitioner entrance interviews, but many other job interviews as well. It allows prospective students to brag on themselves and highlight their strengths. A nurse can describe how they serve as a leader in their current RN role, how they mentor new nurses or students, their years of experience, or their experience in various specialties/subspecialties. The interviewers need to ensure that they will graduate top-performing nurse practitioners upon completion of the program.

There are other various questions that may get asked during a nurse practitioner entrance interview. The above serves as a basis for some of the most commonly asked questions.

Amanda Bucceri Androus, RN, BSN
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