Honesty during the interview

  1. Hi guys,

    Not sure where this topic goes, since I'm new this website, but here goes:

    I'm trying to get in University of North Florida's nursing school. I've completed all the required course prereqs to go into the program, and taken the TEAS test. I have one more hurdle to go before I'm accepted: THE INTERVIEW!!!!! I'm preparing for what could probably be the most important interview of my life. I'm currently preparing for that interview, by going through this website, and asking people that went through this process how it was like. What has me concerned is a most probable(if not the most important) question in the whole interview process: why do you want to become a nurse? I have an answer to this question, but I'm afraid it might cost me this coveted spot in the nursing program if I answer honestly. Before I get to my answer, a little about myself.

    I have a bachelors in business administration from Stetson University, graduating in 2006. I specialized in creating websites, and managing databases. Basically, I wanted to go into the computer tech field. After graduation, I began looking for a job. I sent my resume to a ton of places, and did many interviews. Unfortunately, my lack of actual skills was my downfall(this was before the recession). No one wanted to give me a chance. Luckily, I was working at a retail store, the same store that I worked at while I was not at college(summer and winter breaks). They were pretty cool with me working there and looking for another(better job) at the same time. I've been working there ever since I graduated from Stetson, which brings us to today.

    As many of you should already know, we're in a recession. Jobs are drying up, going away, and more people are out of work. This has caused people to switch careers. I'm one of them. I want to go from the retail/computer career into a nurse. It's "relatively" secure job, compared to some other careers. During these bad economic times, job security is in everybody's minds.

    If I was at the interview and was asked the question "why do you want to become a nurse?", my honest answer would be something like this:

    "Well, I want to become a nurse b/c I want to be in a secure field that will last a long time, SECURE, and will offer great benefits and rewards as time passes by. I tried going into other fields that I thought would benefit me the most, like the computer industry. My current job at my retail store isn't doing so well right now, with people spending their money on more important things. And with the current economic recession, I had to rethink my career."

    Or something like that. This is my honest, truthful answer with no BS attached. This is also the answer I feel will make me loose the nursing spot at UNF. I feel that if I give this answer, I'll be calling a nursing a "last ditch" career that everyone goes through if they fail at life. I'd be insulting nurses, calling them the "easy way out." Basically, I feel that I'd be giving nursing a bad name with my answer. I know for a fact that nursing is a great career. I've met a lot of them that enjoy their career, who wake up in the morning ready for whats to come. Sure, there are those bad days(who doesn't have one of those?), but that doesn't stop them from quiting their job.


    So this is my dilemma, what type of answer should I give to the question: why do you want to become a nurse? Should I give my truthful, honest answer? Or a more refined answer that will guarantee me spot in the nursing? I apologise for giving a lengthful passage, but this question has been bugging me, and I can't seem to answer it. Thanks for reading, and hope to hear from you.


    PS: If anyone is going to UNF's nursing interview May 21st, 2009, let me know. Thats when my interview will be held
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    About JohnUNF

    Joined: May '09; Posts: 1

    32 Comments

  3. by   Straydandelion
    Professional and refined never hurt anyone. There is such a thing as BLUNTLY truthful and elegantly truthful. I would stick with elegant and if you must add the self-serving one which all of us in career choices have to think of also (or we would all work for free), add it at the end as an aside.
  4. by   Curious_53
    That's a really interesting dilemma. I think if it were me I'd ditch the honest answer and go with what you know they want to hear (i.e. I want to help people, care for them in their time of need etc. etc.) I believe in honesty but I think that you're right, and that is not the answer that will get you accepted.

    On the same note, why pick nursing out of all of the "relatively secure careers"? I'm sure that there are other things that you could find that would be secure. You must have picked nursing over any other career for a reason, and I think that you could shape that into an honest answer to give in your interview.

    Further, are you absolutely positive that nursing is what you want to do? I'm a nursing student now, and it's pretty much the hardest thing I've ever done. I wouldn't be making it through if I didn't have so much passion for it. I can't imagine doing it just to make money. (This isn't intended to be a dig, just something to think about.)

    If you can find your passion, you'll find the answer you need for your interview.

    Best of luck!
  5. by   Baloney Amputation
    Quote from JohnUNF
    I know for a fact that nursing is a great career. I've met a lot of them that enjoy their career, who wake up in the morning ready for whats to come. Sure, there are those bad days(who doesn't have one of those?), but that doesn't stop them from quiting their job.
    Why don't you say this instead? I personally wouldn't say the other answer you planned on. This above quote is much better, IMO.
  6. by   Coffee Nurse
    Quote from JohnUNF
    So this is my dilemma, what type of answer should I give to the question: why do you want to become a nurse?
    My honest answer for you? I think you need to find out an answer to this question for yourself before you enroll in a nursing program. Not only will your "honest answer" here not get you the spot, but I think it would be doing a disservice to yourself, as well. From what you wrote, it seems that the only reason you want to go into nursing is for the job security. However, while it's true that healthcare is generally one of the more stable fields employment-wise, if you take a look around the site, you'll find that new graduates are having an incredibly tough time finding work right now, so you may not end up in much better a position than you're currently in.

    Also -- do you have any firsthand experience at all with any area of healthcare? The fact that you've met nurses who enjoy their jobs is a rather flimsy argument for getting into it yourself. I've met accountants who enjoy their jobs, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't hate it, personally. Nursing is a job that normally demands long hours, extensive knowledge and critical thinking ability, considerable interpersonal skills, and an acceptance of the fact that you are in a field that is developing at an incredible rate, meaning a commitment to constant learning throughout your career. And that's all after you get through nursing school, which is in some ways even more daunting than the actual job.

    Given that, I can't in good conscience tell you whether you should give the interviewer your honest answer or, basically, lie to him/her. Until you can explain why you want to be a nurse, as opposed to just why you want to have a stable well-paying job, my opinion is that that coveted nursing spot more rightfully belongs to someone who actually wants it.
    Last edit by Coffee Nurse on May 2, '09
  7. by   feralnostalgia
    if I wanted selfless love from someone, I'd go to my dog. if I want medical care I'll go to a competent professional, and as long as they aren't totally rude I don't really care if they're self-serving or saintly. as a patient I just want any medical professional to do their job well. if you're sticking needles in me I'm thinking a lot more about your skill level and how much I can trust you than how big your heart is.

    wanting a stable career is not a sin, it's common sense, and while I'm just a student, I'd imagine common sense is just as important in nursing as compassion.

    that said, I don't think admitting you're just looking for a stable career would hurt you. I wouldn't hold that against you if I was interviewing you. however, if I thought you were lying to me? that I would hold against you. honesty and trustworthiness have got to be pretty high up there on the list of vital nursing character traits.

    just be honest, be yourself, and I'm sure you'll do fine. they're probably looking more for good students (at our orientation they told us flat out half of every starting class doesn't graduate, and that's the national average) than for bleeding hearts. there are some very sweet and loving people I know who I would not let within 10 feet of me with a needle. nobody cares if their surgeon or dentist is moved with compassion - they just better have steady hands and lots and lots of training.

    a lot of us got into nursing because we enjoy helping others. personally, I'd want to know how to take care of people even if I couldn't get paid for it. that's just how I'm wired - but if that's not your motivation it doesn't make you wrong or mean you'll be any less of a nurse.

    good luck =)
    Last edit by feralnostalgia on May 2, '09
  8. by   NC Girl BSN
    Like others have said honesty is a good thing but I think your going into nursing for good and bad reasons.
    Yes nursing is stable and once you find a job you can stay a while if you like it. You have to go into nursing because you like being around people and caring for them. Nursing is a very dirty and tiring job. Nobody wants to do some of the things we do. So if you go into your job focusing more on job security vs helping and caring for other then you may not be picked for the seat in school. Also if job security is your only reason for going into nursing, then you will find that you will not like it. For alot of us, this profession was something that is instilled in our hearts. I know my personality is trait is"to serve." I love to take care of people and educate them on medical topics and issues. Nursing was instilled in me and no matter how hard I tried to get away from it, I was always drawn to go into Nursing. Sometimes it upsets me that people go into nursing for job security as their main drive but I honestly thing those people are more miserable in the field and don't last as long. So what I am trying to say is job security and seeing other happy nurses should not be the driving force to this interview and going into the field of nursing. There is so much about nursing that should make a person want to seek it as a career. I could go on and on about why I chose it but its not about me its about you. Go with your gut and see if gets you in.
  9. by   FireStarterRN
    You can be honest but not look like a mercenary who is only interested in the bottom line.

    Perhaps there is someone who is a nurse who inspired you at some point in your life. Or, you had an experience in the healthcare system that made you begin to think of nursing as an interesting career option.

    For me, yes I chose nursing as a secure career where I could get a job in many locations. Yet, I was originally inspired when my son had a bike accident and required surgery and 3 days in the hospital. A year or two after that some life events led me to realize that I needed a secure future and that nursing would be a wise choice for me.

    You don't have to give a disingenuous, corny sounding reason for going into nursing, such as 'I've always wanted to help people'. There are many interesting aspects of nursing other than being the path to sainthood.

    You can tell them of something that inspired you, perhaps an event such as a family member who was hospitalized. Explain that you are experienced in, and enjoy working with the public and are interested in applying those skills to a challenging and interesting career in nursing.
  10. by   nlion87
    Have you thought about a career in Health Information Mangement/Informatics which would allow you to put your computer degree to work? You might want to research this field and see if it would provide you with the challenge you are looking for as it deals with managing databases and client information in the helath care setting which I feel would allow you to utilize your degree. Just a thought.
  11. by   changeofpaceRN
    Hmm..I would maybe include some of that thought but add more about your 2nd passion in life (nursing) is helping others blah blah blah and now you have the chance to be a nurse blah blah and fulfill that dream blah blah... If I were you,I would fluff up your answer to sound like you want to care and help others more than you want to be in a "secure" field- thats just me though..
  12. by   bill4745
    This is not a job that can be done just for the money.
  13. by   AtomicWoman
    Quote from JohnUNF
    "Well, I want to become a nurse b/c I want to be in a secure field that will last a long time, SECURE, and will offer great benefits and rewards as time passes by. I tried going into other fields that I thought would benefit me the most, like the computer industry. My current job at my retail store isn't doing so well right now, with people spending their money on more important things. And with the current economic recession, I had to rethink my career."
    I don't want to throw a wet blanket on you, but you need to be aware that right now the job market for new grad nurses is just awful. Please check out some threads here on AN. I'm not saying you shouldn't go to nursing school, but you should do it with your eyes wide open, especially since you understand how frustrating it is to not get a job offer. Experienced nurses say the current situation will pass, but right now, it's tough out there. Here are a few threads to get you started:

    Staffs full, nurses struggle for work


    https://allnurses.com/nursing-news/recession-eases-nurse-388691.html (about Florida)


    https://allnurses.com/graduate-nurse...es-377874.html (If you go to page 10 of that thread, you will see info about a disturbing trend I have heard about. Hospitals are rescinding offers to new grads. The post on that page is about the Mayo Clinic (the Mayo Clinic!) rescinding all of its new grad job offers. I have heard about this at other facilities, too.


    https://allnurses.com/pennsylvania-n...ob-361732.html

    https://allnurses.com/new-jersey-nur...bs-374437.html

    another article about sudden change in nursing job market


    I put in the NJ/PA jobs because that's where I'm from. If you search the regional forums, you'll find the same story in many (but not all) parts of the US.

    As for your interview question, yes, you do need to spin it a bit. There's nothing wrong with wanting a "relatively" secure career; just don't make that the centerpiece of your response. Show the interviewer that you have really thought about what it takes to be a nurse. Mention how you may have been inspired by a nurse, how you get satisfaction out of helping people, etc. And oh, since you work retail, you can mention that you already know how to handle difficult people! Don't laugh too hard; people skills very important, too.

    Before your interview, write down all the reasons you can think of why you want to become a nurse. Ask yourself which response would impress YOU if YOU were the interviewer. Also, there are many, many threads about interview questions here on AN. Do a search for them. And be prepared for the inevitable, banal "What are your strengths and weaknesses?".


    Best of luck to you.



  14. by   NeoPediRN
    Oh boy, if that's your reason for going into nursing you are going to be sorely disappointed. Nursing is NOT a secure profession, please google nursing and recession and you will see many nurses have been laid off, there's a huge nursing glut in many areas right now, and new grad jobs are difficult to come by. It took me nine months to find my first job. Not to mention one single med error or mistake could cost you your license permanently. That to me isn't secure. As for rewards, if you aren't truly in it for wanting to make a difference in your patient's life then you're going to be sorely disappointed in this as well. Bonuses have all but disappeared, you have PTO but good luck trying to use it, and the benefits have become quite expensive. I pay $170/month for my benefits. I strongly encourage you to research nursing a bit further because I believe you have an idealistic view of it, not a realistic view. It is long hours, you never get out on time, you are worked to death short-staffed often but there's no budget to bring on new nurses, some places have mandatory overtime, and there are so many things you're responsible for even if you aren't aware of them or were never told about them. It's a huge responsibility for not a heck of a lot of perks other than you get to do something you love and make a difference in a patient's life. The first time you catch a change in a patient condition early, or make the right call even though you second guessed yourself is a great feeling. The first time a patient sends a letter to administration praising your care, or the first time you see a patient take a step for the first time after being wheelchair bound for months reinforces why all the red tape and BS is worth it. It's all about the patients. If these reasons don't inspire or motivate you, please reconsider this altogether, because you will burn out quickly and realize much too soon that all the benefits are not worth what you need to put up with.

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