10 Best Mental Health Nurse Interview Questions

Mental health nurse interview questions

After completing a diploma in mental health nursing you might want to continue your education by applying for a graduate scheme.

If so, it will be worth preparing some mental health nurse interview questions beforehand so that you can demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm for the role.

Background information:

A person with a mental illness may need hospital treatment or they may receive medication from their GP.

Mental health nurses have a key role in providing care for people with severe or long-term mental illnesses, ensuring they receive medication and counseling as appropriate.

As part of the multi-disciplinary team, they also work closely with psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to achieve this goal.

Scope of the mental health nurse interview questions:

A graduate scheme will determine the type of mental health nurse interview questions you are asked.

However, in general, it is a good idea to be aware of all aspects of your role and to consider how they relate to each other when providing a person with care.

Mental health nurses work closely with people both during their time in the hospital and in the community, providing care assessments to make sure they are receiving the right level of support.

Sometimes people will need to be admitted into the hospital for their own safety or that of others.

Mental health nurses can work closely with other professionals at this time too, ensuring that the transition is as smooth as possible for everyone involved.

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Mental health nurse interview questions and answers

The Most Common Mental Health Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

When eyeing a graduate scheme, it’s a good idea to anticipate potential mental health nurse interview questions and practice your answers in advance.

Here are the 10 most commonly asked questions:

1. What is the difference between psychiatry and mental health nursing?

2. What is the difference between a primary and secondary diagnosis?

3. What stages do a care plan go through during the assessment process?

4. What is the future of mental health nursing and what impact will this have on you as a nurse?

5. What are your personal goals for your career over the next 5 years?

6. How do you deal with difficult patients?

7. How would you support people affected by coping with severe or long-term mental illness?

8. What type of techniques would you use to keep them engaged and involved in their own recovery?

9. How would you go about reducing the risk of physical abuse in mental health units?

10. Why do you want to work at our organization?

1. What is the difference between psychiatry and mental health nursing?

When an interviewer asks this mental health nurse interview question, they are looking for a response outlining the differences between psychiatry and nursing.

A difference could be the role of medication or managing physical symptoms.

I think it’s important to recognize that mental illness can be treated in many different ways, not just by medication.

I would also say there are different levels of training involved.

Principles of psychiatry are studied throughout medicine degree courses, whereas nurses take a specifically focused course.

2. What is the difference between a primary and secondary diagnosis?

This mental health nurse interview question is designed to assess whether you understand that mental illness can have different underlying causes.

Psychiatry looks at how this affects treatment, whereas nursing focuses more on the symptoms being experienced by the patient.

I think it’s important to recognize that mental illness can be treated in many different ways.

A primary diagnosis is considered the main illness which leads to an individual’s other health problems.

A secondary diagnosis occurs when mental illness is a complication of another condition.

3. How would you support people affected by coping with severe or long-term mental illness?

When you are asked this mental health nurse interview question, it is important that you provide an explanation based on different aspects of care.

This could include medication side effects, body image problems, and loss of personal relationships.

I’d like to think that I have a professional, empathetic approach.

On the other hand, I’m aware that it’s important to meet people where they are at within their recovery journey, so would be flexible in my approach.

4. What is the future of mental health nursing and what impact will this have on you as a nurse?

When asked this mental health nurse interview question, they are looking for you to provide an explanation of how you think the profession will develop in the future and what impact that would have on your role.

This could include developing different treatment options such as alternative medicine or nursing interventions such as social prescribing.

5. What are your personal goals for your career over the next 5 years?

This question will allow employers to understand your career aspirations and attachments.

You should be clear about what you hope to achieve from the position, the role that it would play in terms of your future employment prospects, as well as how it fits with your skillset.

See also: SMART Goals for Nursing With Examples

6. How do you deal with difficult patients?

When asked this mental health nurse interview question, it is important, to be honest, and constructive in how you respond.

You should take the opportunity to identify different coping strategies that you can use when dealing with challenging situations.

It might also be worth mentioning how you would seek advice from your manager or senior members of staff within the organization.

Difficult patients can really test your patience.

I usually respond by taking a step back and remembering that this person is unwell.

It’s important to remember that they’re not behaving this way out of spite but as part of their disorder.

I’d also look at how the patient is feeling and try to find ways of building rapport and trust.

See also: Public Health Nurse Interview Questions

Conclusion: Interview Questions for Mental Health Nurses

The mental health nurse interview questions can vary depending on which company you are applying to work for.

It is important that you prepare yourself for these upcoming interviews so that the employer sees how passionate and dedicated you are about this profession.

You should also have a few examples of different challenging situations that you have faced, as well as your response to tackling these.

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