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What to Bring to Your Nursing Interview

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what to bring to a nursing interviewWhat to Bring to Your Nursing Interview

Jonathan finally landed an interview for the  job of his dreams. He’s excited.  And nervous. Very nervous.

The only place Jonathan has ever wanted to work is the Emergency Department (ED) at Happening Hospital. Jonathan knows he has the characteristics of an ED nurse. He applied 4 long weeks ago and had almost given up. Competition is tough for the 2 available slots. But then his phone vibrates.

“Hello. May I speak to Jonathan Ward, please?”

“Yes. Yes, this  is Jonathan.”

We’re interviewing candidates for the ED on Thursday. We would like for you to come in at 1400. Will that work for you?”

“Yes,…Yes!! I mean yes, thank you! Yes, I’ll be there.”

Planning for Your Nursing Interview

Jonathan has already:

…Now all that’s left is to prepare his portfolio. But wait…what is a portfolio, anyway? and how can a new grad have one?  The better question is, what do you bring to a nursing interview? There are no hard and fast rules, but here are some helpful guidelines.

what to bring to your nursing interviewNote that the facility already has copies of your resume and other documents, and most likely will provide copies to the interviewers. But there is no harm in bringing copies yourself, in a neat package, and it gives a professional appearance.

What to Bring to Your Nursing Interview

First of all, bring whatever they asked you to bring, if anything. This shows you can and do follow instructions. This could be a copy of your license, anything.

Resume. Your resume on heavy weight, quality paper.

A copy of your nursing license, BLS, ACLS and any other certifications copied onto a sheet of paper. BLS and ACLS cards look best printed in color. Be sure and align the cards neatly on the printer, so the print copy looks nice.

Letters of reference. Again, copied on quality paper. Letters of reference may not be read at the time of the interview, but may be referred to later, when tie-breaker discussions are taking place.

What to bring to your nursing interview

Be memorable

Bring enough packets, and then extra. If the recruiter tells you that it is going to be a panel interview with 5 interviewers, bring  10 copies. There is nothing to prevent the nurse manager from grabbing another nurse or two on the way to the interview and saying “Come with me!” It’s awkward and a dissatisfier for one person on the interview panel not to have a packet when persons to the left and right of them do.

Worried about walking in with an arm load of folders? Use a laptop carrying bag or satchel. Both look smart with any outfit, are gender neutral, and are functional.

Bring a notepad and pen for your own use to takes notes. Taking a brief note at the right time implies deference and attention.

It’s not necessary to include transcripts. They can be lengthy, and are basically uninteresting. It’s a given that you attended clinical rotations and took required classes. A GPA  over 3.75 sets you apart, but can be included in your resume.

Place your documents in a simple paper file folder or two pocket file folder. Confidently hand a portfolio packet to each interviewer. Make eye contact and smile. They’ll notice your awesomeness.

The best portfolio packet I ever saw was Amanda’s. She brought dark blue paper folders with a business card affixed to the front bottom corner. Her business card included a picture of herself, contact information, and a favorite quote. (never put your photo on a resume).

What made including a business card with an image such a good idea? After a long day of sequentially interviewing multiple candidates, it’s easy for even the most conscientious, note-taking interviewer to mix up candidates and details.

what to bring to your nursing interviewHere’s a typical conversation among interviewers at the end of day:

“Which one was it that went to UCSF? The one with the big glasses?

“No, no, that was Peter, he came in right before lunch, or maybe it was mid-morning…he’s the one with a sick brother…right?”

But then one glance down at the table at Jonathan’s business card image and…instant recall!

“Jonathan! His name is Jonathan! Don’t you just love him?!! I hope he accepts our offer!

Don’t forget the most important thing to bring to your interview.   Confidence. Remember that they picked you- they already like you!


Until next time friend,

Nurse Beth

Author “Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job..and your next!” 

Come visit me at Ask Nurse Beth career column at for all kinds of  entertaining and informative career questions and answers, and to submit your own question 🙂






About Beth Hawkes (146 Articles)
Nice to meet you! I'm a Nursing Professional Development Specialist in acute care, a writer, speaker and career columnist.

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