What skills do nurses typically need?
Nursing is a hugely varied profession. Every day is different, with new challenges to navigate, often in highly pressurised situations. Ultimately, nurses are there to offer emotional and practical support to ill people, so first and foremost a caring nature is essential.
Practically speaking, nurses need to be strong communicators who are able to keep calm in a crisis. Strengths such as these are assessed on the verbal reasoning test, where your ability to process and understand key information, communicate and demonstrate clear understanding is important.
Teamwork, organisation, endurance and flexibility are crucial personality traits for those thinking of entering into a career in nursing. When you take the situational judgement test, you’ll be presented with a series of workplace challenges and asked to pick the response that feels most natural to you. It’s important to answer truthfully, but it doesn’t hurt to consider what type of person the prospective employer will be looking to hire.
Strong numerical skills are also important, as you’ll have to make quick mental calculations when dealing with different doses of medication. It’s why there’s also a numerical reasoning test – to ensure you have the relevant mathematical skills.
Which psychometric tests are used to assess these skills?
To examine your strengths and weaknesses and learn more about the type of person you are, you’ll be asked to take a series of psychometric tests as part of the qualification process.
Designed to test your communication skills, aptitude for numbers, and different personality traits, the tests give employers an additional chance to get to know you and what makes you tick.
Practising past papers is the best way to prepare yourself mentally, and ensure you feel comfortable and confident on the day.
The three most common aptitude tests you’ll be asked to take are:
Situational judgement tests
Using hypothetical situations to test your character and personality traits, the nursing situational judgement test helps a prospective employer to learn more about what makes you tick, your core values and morals and how well suited you are to the role of nursing.
For each question, you’ll be presented with a scenario and a series of accompanying responses. You simply pick the response that feels most true to what you’d do in that situation.
Honesty is the best policy. But have a think about the kind of traits and characteristics that make a good nurse as well.
Numerical reasoning tests
An aptitude for mathematics is really helpful if you want to get ahead in nursing.
The numerical reasoning test assesses your ability to interpret data, graphs and charts under tightly timed conditions. The answers are multiple-choice, but that doesn’t make the test easier. So it’s important to ensure you’ve practised some past numerical reasoning tests before you take the one that really counts.
Brushing up on your data interpretation and general mathematical principles – such as fractions and decimals – is a really good place to start.
Verbal reasoning tests
With nursing, communication is key. That’s why the verbal reasoning test is so important. It examines your ability to read through dense passages of text to process, analyse and interpret the information.
You’ll be asked a series of multiple-choice questions on what you’ve read to determine your understanding and your ability to separate fact from fiction. Typically you’ll have to select an answer from a choice of either, ‘true’, ‘false’, or ‘cannot say.’
It’s important to practice verbal reasoning tests. It’ll help improve your ability to read quickly and accurately, as well as work out whether something is true or false, or if you can’t say because there isn’t enough information to answer the question.