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Interviews for healthcare degrees: how to prepare

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Some of our healthcare courses require you to attend an interview as part of the application process. Find out more about what you can expect from our healthcare interviews and how you can prepare by reading a few of our top tips.

A group of Occupational Therapy students are practicing Clinical Skills in the mock house

Healthcare courses requiring an interview

The first step to gaining entry onto one of these healthcare courses is to submit an application which will be considered by the admissions tutor – this is where having a well-written personal statement is crucial.

Your personal statement should demonstrate that you have the relevant experience, knowledge and understanding of, and passion for, the course you're applying for. If you meet our initial requirements, we'll invite you to an interview.

What is values based recruitment?

We use a values based recruitment approach to our healthcare interviews, which ensures that we attract and recruit students on the basis that their individual values and behaviours align with the values of the NHS Constitution, the 6Cs, and the professional body of your chosen profession (for example, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists). We recommend you research these prior to your interview.

Preparing for your healthcare interview

Your healthcare interview will take place either online or on-campus at the University. You'll receive an email from our interview team who will let you know how your interview will be conducted, along with joining instructions.

During your interview, we'll expect you to:

  • Answer questions relating to personal experience, for example, from work (paid or voluntary), family life, school, or college
  • Communicate clearly and effectively
  • Articulate your understanding of your chosen profession and why you're choosing this career path, including the challenges of being a student healthcare professional
  • Express your enthusiasm for your chosen course
  • Demonstrate that you understand the demands of your chosen course
  • Contribute to, and engage with others in, the group interview (if applicable).

Key things to remember

  • If your interview is held over Microsoft Teams, please make sure you read the joining instructions carefully and check that all your technology is working correctly, e.g. WiFi, camera, microphone. We'd also recommend finding a quiet place away from any distractions.
  • If your interview is face-to-face, please make sure you read all the instructions around coming onto campus and how to get here
  • Please bring along a form of identification to your interview, e.g. a passport or driving licence. If you don't have this, your interview will be rescheduled for another day.

Specific course requirements

  • If you're applying for the (MPharm) Pharmacy course, you must be prepared to take a numeracy test, which is a key part of the interview. Numeracy is assessed at every stage of the course, so having a good grasp of the subject is vital. Further information on the test will be sent to you in advance of the interview.
  • If you're applying for the MNurse (Adult) course, you must be prepared to answer questions relating to your first degree and healthcare experience. You'll also be required to bring your completed portfolio of evidence to the interview.

A group of pharmacy students are practicing clinical skills in the mock hospital ward

During your healthcare interview

Each of our healthcare courses has a slightly different interview process and will involve one or more of the following:

  • Individual interview – you'll be asked a range of open questions based on your experience to demonstrate your skills and attributes. You may also be asked questions to show your understanding of current issues and challenges within healthcare. The questions are designed to be straightforward – we aren't trying to trip you up! You'll be assessed on your values and communication skills, as well as the knowledge and skills relevant to the course you're applying for. You'll also have the opportunity to ask any questions you might have about the course.
  • Group activities – during group interviews, the activity will be a discussion with the aim of allowing you to demonstrate your understanding of current issues and challenges within healthcare. You'll be assessed on your values, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork skills, as well as knowledge and skills relevant to the course you're applying for. This is your opportunity to meet fellow applicants and Patient, Carer and Public Involvement (PCPI) participants.
  • Multi Mini Interview (MMI) – the MMI style interview consists of multiple timed stations where you'll be asked a question or given a scenario. There could be between 3-6 stations depending on the course you've applied for.

Please see below the interview format(s) you can expect for the course you're applying for:

  • BSc (Hons) Midwifery – group activity and MMI
  • Nursing courses (including Adult Nursing, Adult Nursing (Blended), Mental Health Nursing and Children's and Young People's Nursing) – MMI
  • BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science and Out of Hospital Care – individual interview, group activity, and literacy and numeracy assessments
  • BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy – individual interview and group activity
  • BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy – individual interview and group activity
  • (MPharm) Pharmacy – MMI and literacy and numeracy assessments
  • MNurse (Adult) – individual interview

Two student paramedics are moving a patient on a trolley onto the training ambulance

Useful links

You may find it useful to take a look at the NHS website to help you prepare for the course you're applying for:

We would also recommend researching the relevant professional body:

Further information

Explore our subject areas to find out more about the healthcare courses we offer. If you require further information about your interview, please get in touch with our interview team:

Email us at applicant.interviews@sunderland.ac.uk or call us on 0191 515 3374.

Published: 12 October 2023