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Interviews for healthcare degrees: how to prepare?

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The first step to gaining entry onto one of these courses is to make an application which will be considered by the admissions tutor - this is where your personal statement is crucial. Make sure it is well written and demonstrates you have the relevant experience, knowledge and understanding of, and passion for, the course you are applying for. If you meet our initial requirements, we will invite you for interview. Read on to find out what you can expect at your interview and how you can best prepare.

Our courses

This article provides information and advice about your online interview for the following courses:

A quick note on Values Based Recruitment 

Before we get into how you can prepare for your interview for your chosen course, let’s take a look at our interview approach – Values Based Recruitment. This approach intends to ensure that we attract and recruit students on the basis that their individual values and behaviours align with the values of the NHS Constitution, the 6 C’s and the professional body of your chosen profession (for example, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists is the professional body for Occupational Therapy). We recommend you research these prior to your interview.


A female nurse is taking the blood pressure of a patient who is sitting in bed in the mock hospital ward

Preparing for the interview

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

We are looking for applicants who can:

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

Key things to remember:

  • If your interview is over Microsoft Teams please make sure you read the joining instructions carefully. You will also need to make sure your technology is working. E.g. working wifi and that your device has a working camera and microphone. We would also recommend you find a quiet place away from distraction
  • If your interview is taking place on-campus, please make sure you read all instructions around coming on-campus and how to get here
  • Please have a form of photographic identification for your interview (e.g. passport or driving licence). If you do not have photographic identification on the day, your interview will need to be rescheduled to another day

Specific course requirements:

  • If you are applying for MPharm Pharmacy you must also be prepared for a numeracy test, which will be a key part of the Pharmacy interview. Numeracy is assessed at every stage of the MPharm Pharmacy course, therefore a good grasp of the subject is vital. Further information on the numeracy test will be sent in advance of your interview
  • If you are applying for MNurse you must also be prepared to answer questions relating to your first degree and your healthcare experience. You will 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 the interview

Each of our healthcare courses has a slightly different interview process:

  • Nursing (including Adult, Mental Health, Learning Disability and Children's and Young People's) - individual interview and group interview
  • BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science and Out of Hospital Care - individual interview, group interview, and literacy and numeracy tests
  • BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy - individual interview and group discussion
  • BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy - individual interview and group task
  • MNurse - individual interview

Individual interview: You will be asked a range of open questions, based on your experiences, to demonstrate your skills and attributes. You may also be asked questions to demonstrate your understanding of current issues and challenges within healthcare. The questions are designed to be straightforward – we aren’t trying to trick you or trip you up. During your interview you will be assessed on your values and communication skills, as well as the knowledge and skills relevant to the role you are applying for. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have about the course. 

Group activities: During group interviews the activity will be a discussion in a group and the aim is to allow you to demonstrate your understanding of current issues and challenges within healthcare. You will be assessed on your values, critical thinking, communication and team-working skills, as well as knowledge and skills relevant to the role you are applying for. For BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy the group discussion will be a chance for you to meet fellow applicants and Patient, Carer and Public Involvement (PCPI) participants. 

Multi Mini Interview (MMI): The MMI style interview only applies to the MPharm Pharmacy course. The MMI consists of three situational judgement scenarios where you are assessed on how you would react in a certain situation. They aim to identify personal and professional attributes rather than academic ability which are equally important in the future pharmacist. 

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

Useful links

You may find it useful to look at the NHS website to help you prepare for the role you are applying for:

We would also recommend you research the relevant professional body:

Further information

Find out more about our healthcare courses. If you require further information about your interview, please contact our Interview team:

Email: applicant.interview@sunderland.ac.uk  

Tel: 0191 515 3374

Published: 1 November 2022