Mental Health Jobs | Preparing for your interview

Congratulations! You’re through to the next round and you have the chance to impress your prospective employers face to face, but how can you make it so that you get it right in your mental health interview?

The simplest answer is preparation. You might not be able to relearn your entire course, but some questions are more likely than others to appear, such as questions based on…


The Mental Health Act is crucial to everything you will do as a mental health nurse, so it’s important to show that you know and understand it. Take into consideration the sections that you think may be most likely to crop up if you get the job and what impact they will have on your practice.

Understand the key elements of the most relevant sections:

  • Who can use this section?
  • Who can they use it on?
  • How long does it last for?
  • How is the section removed/How does the patient (or nearest relative) appeal?
  • What paperwork needs to be completed?


Which diagnoses do you think you are most likely to encounter from the unit interviewing you? Make sure that you learn the most important information about each one of these:

  • What treatment should you use?
  • What are the most common symptoms?
  • What problems might you come across whilst dealing with a patient suffering from this?


Nursing is more than just following written instructions. You cannot be one to simply distribute what it says on the card. Nurses need to have a solid understanding of the drugs that they are giving, what the potential side effects are, and what can be dangerous. Take out your BNF and polish up on the drugs you think you are most likely to see on the ward.

  • What class of drug is this?
  • How is it administered?
  • What illnesses are treated by it?
  • What are typical side effects?
  • What are the contra-indications?


Scenarios often come up.

“How would you deal with a patient smoking in their bed area?”

“What would you do if a healthcare assistant disagreed with a decision you made?”

It isn’t possible to revise for all of these situations, but the main thing is to remember to put yourself in that situation. Employers are looking for common sense here, they aren’t testing for knowledge or they would ask more direct questions.

On occasion, there are questions worded in a way that requires you to provide an example of when you have done something. There are only so many things that they can ask you, so if you have the time, think of an example when you have:

  • Given exceptional patient care
  • Had to give a patient sensitive information
  • Used your initiative
  • Delegated safely
  • De-escalated a situation
  • Kept calm in a crisis

The interview stage is your prime opportunity to show just how good a nurse you can be, so take your time when preparing and good luck!

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