How to Prepare for a Band 6 Nurse Interview
You might be an experienced band 5 nurse looking to take the natural next step in your career progression.
Or you might be a newly qualified band 5 nurse who possesses the right experience and skills to jump ahead to a band 6 nursing position.
Wherever you are on the nursing career ladder, facing a band 6 nurse interview can be a nerve-wracking prospect.
That does not have to be the case if you are fully prepared, though.
The first step is to understand exactly meant by a ‘band 6 nurse’. Band 6 is the first level of senior nursing roles.
Job titles for this nursing band might include:
- Deputy Ward Manager
- Team Leader
- Charge Nurse
- Lead Practitioner
- Senior Staff Nurse
Depending on the type of clinical or community setting you work in. Moving into a band 6 nursing position requires an increased level of responsibility and leadership.
The salary range for a band 6 nurse will depend on the specifics of the role and your employer.
For example, band 6 nurses working in an NHS setting can generally expect to earn between £30,000 and £37,000 in 2021.
What Skills and Experience Are Needed in a Band 6 Role?
The thought of stepping into a senior nursing position can seem a world away from band 5 nursing roles.
However, your experience up to this point will greatly inform your career progression into band 6.
Generally, at least one year to 18 month’s experience as a band 5 nurse is expected before progression to band 6.
Ideally, you will have completed training courses to supplement your nursing knowledge and have demonstrated your willingness to push beyond the responsibilities of your current role.
Senior nursing roles require an enhanced skill set that is needed for band 5 nursing roles. Skills needed in a band 6 role include:
- Financial responsibility and allocation
- Communication and empathy
- Training others
- Ability to work within a multidisciplinary setting
- Collaborative working
- Focus under pressure
- Computer skills
- Clinical skills
- Support and teamwork
How Will You Know That You Are Ready to Move to a Band 6 Nursing Role?
Band 5 nurses will generally know when they are ready to move to a more senior role. They will be comfortable adopting leadership roles.
They will be keen to take on more responsibilities and enthusiastic to learn more.
In essence, once a nurse has outgrown their band 5 roles, they are ready to progress to band 6.
What to Expect on a Band 6 Interview
Should you be invited to interview for a band 6 nursing role, you can usually expect the interview to take place before a panel.
The size and construct of the panel will vary depending on the role you are interviewing for and the employer.
The panel will ask you several questions to ascertain your experience, skills and suitability for a senior nurse role.
In addition to the questions, you may be asked to create a presentation on a topic set by the panel.
Band 6 Nurse Interview Presentation
The length of the presentation will generally range from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the topic and what the panel wants you to demonstrate.
Always read the full explanation of what format the panel wants your presentation to take and the subject they want you to cover or the question they want you to answer.
The purpose of the presentation is to demonstrate:
Your understanding of the healthcare environment and the challenges healthcare professionals face
Your awareness of the current issues and challenges in healthcare
Your communication skills
Your ability to take a wider perspective to a topic
Your nursing knowledge
The topic of your presentation will be relevant to the role you are interviewing for, so before you begin to prepare your presentation, think about why you have been asked to talk on this particular topic and how it fits with the band 6 nursing role and your employer.
For more on this, read How to Make a Great Presentation at Interview.
Band 6 Nurse Interview Questions
The exact questions you will be asked at your interview will depend on the band 6 role and the employer, but here are five questions with example answers to help you prepare:
1. Why Have You Applied for This Job?
The panel wants to know that you have done your research and are ready to progress to a band 6 position.
You know that you have the experience, skills, and drive to fulfill a band 6 role, so do not feel shy about selling yourself.
I enjoy my current position, but I know that I am capable of taking on more responsibility. I feel that the role of Senior Nurse would suit my leadership and communication skills.
2. What Is Your Understanding of the Band 6 Role You Are Interviewing For?
The panel wants to know that you have not only read the job description but also understand what roles and responsibilities are involved.
Find a way to condense the role down into a sentence or two.
Working as Charge Nurse, I will oversee the unit on a day-to-day basis, provide clinical leadership to junior staff and nurses, and plan, monitor and evaluate the care of patients.
I will act as a role model, work as part of a team, and develop team members through mentorship and skill-assessment.
3. What Are the Six 'C's, and Why Do You Feel They Are Important?
This question demonstrates your knowledge and patient care skills.
The six 'C's are:
These ensure that patients are effectively cared for and safe, are treated well and can build trust in their care providers.
Your answer should express this in your own words.
4. If One of Your Nursing Team Frequently Arrives Late to Their Shift, How Would You Address This?
The panel is asking you to demonstrate your managerial skills.
How will you supervise your team, and are you aware of the related staff policy?
I would begin by checking in on the member of staff in an informal way to find out the reason for their lateness and try to resolve the problem on that basis.
If the lateness continued, I would contact HR to find out what the policy was for handling this situation and decide what further action should be taken.
5. Do You Have Any Questions for Us?
Surprisingly, this is a question that can derail many up-to-that-point successful interviews. This is not your chance to ask about salary, holidays or sickness pay.
Instead, what the panel is asking here is for you to ask a question that demonstrates your enthusiasm for the role and what you could bring to it. What value could you add?
With the planned extension to the unit, will there be an intake of newly qualified nursing staff? And if so, will I have the opportunity to mentor them?
You can find more examples in Top 10 Nursing Interview Questions.
How to Prepare for a Band 6 Nurse Interview
Should you be asked to interview for a band 6 nurse position, the level of preparation you undertake will be key to your success.
Do Your Research
This is not just about remembering the job description by heart. There are so many other areas that you should research too.
Whether it is an NHS trust, a private healthcare provider or a commercial setting, research who you will be working for.
Its website is always a good place to start.
What are its values? What are its plans? What challenges does it face?
Your research could also include:
- The field of nursing you will be working in
- Relevant innovations in healthcare
- Wider developments that may affect healthcare, such as changes in legislation
Think Up Examples
You may be asked to give examples from your experience that demonstrate your suitability for the band 6 nursing role.
For example, what examples would show that you have excellent leadership skills or can cope in stressful situations?
Examine the responsibilities of the band 6 role and think up examples that would fit.
Prepare Your Presentation
If you have been asked to make a presentation, this is the time to prepare it.
Remember to fully follow the guidelines provided, be that how long the presentation should take or whether you need to provide PowerPoint slides.
Consider why you have been asked to talk about this particular topic. How does it demonstrate your suitability for the band 6 roles?
Question The Questions
It is difficult to know beforehand what questions you will be asked in your interview, but a slight mindset change may help you to give better answers on the day.
Instead of taking questions at their face value, consider why the panel have asked you that specific question. What do they want to hear in your answer?
For example, do they want to find out how you cope under pressure?
Are they interested in how well you will adapt from team member to team leader?
Practice this by finding example questions online, like in this article: 10 Key NHS Job Interview Questions.
Practice Speaking and Breathing
Most people will experience some level of nerves in a job interview. A good coping mechanism is to practice speaking beforehand.
For example, explain who you are and why you want the job to your mirror. If you have someone you feel relaxed with, ask if you can practice on them.
Get used to consciously slowing your breathing too. Practice taking deep breaths that fill your diaphragm. Slowing your breathing will calm you down.
Consider Your Career Plan
Most people hate the interview question, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’, but there is a valid point behind it: career planning.
Career planning is the difference between drifting from job to job or progressing along a path that brings you job satisfaction.
How does the band 6 nursing role fit on your career path, and where could it lead?
To find out more, read 10 Key Tips For Career Planning.
On the Day
On the day of the interview, arrive a little early but not so early that you are an inconvenience.
Take a copy of the job description with you, or have it available to view on your mobile phone so that you can refresh your memory before the interview begins.
Make sure you have had sufficient sleep, have eaten and that you are hydrated. Do not drink too much coffee before the interview as it can increase your feelings of nervousness.
Make sure your appearance is smart, whether you are wearing your own clothes or your work uniform.
Be attentive, polite and upbeat.
When answering questions, use the STAR formula. STAR stands for:
For a more detailed explanation, read How to Use the STAR Technique in Interviews.
Should you be invited to interview for a band 6 nursing role, you have already bounded over the first hurdle.
The panel believes that you have the potential to work as a senior nurse.
Give yourself the best chance possible to prove them right by fully prepared before your interview.