What Are Nursing Selection Criteria? (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 19 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When health care organisations look for nurses to hire, they can require those applying for the job to have specific types of education, skills and experience. This can include a set number of years of experience or a skill relating to a specific area. If you're looking for a job as a nurse, knowing how to identify a role's selection criteria and use it in during your application process can help you find a new role. In this article, we explain what nursing selection criteria are, list six examples of them and show you how to use each one when applying for roles.

Related: How to Show You Meet Key Selection Criteria When Applying for a Job

What are nursing selection criteria?

Nursing selection criteria are a set of standards determined by the employer that a nurse candidate is expected to meet. Organisations create these criteria by considering the skills and experience the organisation or a specific department needs. Selection criteria help those making hiring decisions shortlist suitable individuals for interviews. It also ensures that the organisation evaluates every person interested in the role by the same criteria, giving qualified candidates an equal chance of getting the job. Selection criteria don't include a job's non-negotiable requirements but offer proof a person can perform certain tasks or meet specific challenges.

Related: 5 Good Selection Criteria Response Examples

6 nursing selection criteria examples

Here are six examples you can list in your nursing job application and how you can integrate them into your responses when applying or interviewing for a nursing role:

1. Legal knowledge

Organisations can require a nurse to be familiar with specific statutory requirements at state and federal level. The government and professional nursing bodies regularly update these laws to address a nurse's evolving functions and responsibilities. Being familiar with your local nursing legislation can help you understand what policies, rules or procedures to follow when managing a patient's access to information, what your duty of care is and what the law considers ethical and unethical conduct. This knowledge can protect you and the organisation you work for from civil or criminal action and large fines.

Example: 'I'm familiar with the code of conduct for aged care and fulfil my responsibilities and obligations under the Aged Care Act 1997 and its Aged Care Quality Standards. This means that I'm aware of the importance of treating older patients with dignity and respect and that I make sure they have a clean, safe and comfortable treatment experience. It also means that I'm committed to undertaking ongoing assessment and planning to manage aged patient's care and understand the importance of offering personal and clinical care depending on what can best benefit the patient'.

Related: What Does a Circulating Nurse Do? (With Skills and Salary)

2. Problem-solving

Nurses can encounter situations requiring them to resolve existing problems or prevent new problems from occurring. Strong problem-solving skills can help you make appropriate clinical decisions based on a rational analysis of a situation, evidence-based practice and your existing knowledge and experience. Your problem-solving skills can also help you develop processes where you correctly prioritise problems according to urgency and find creative solutions that meet the needs of everyone involved.

Example: 'As a paediatric nurse, I frequently worked with young children, including babies and toddlers. At this age, patients can struggle to verbalise the location of their pain or discomfort to the nurses. I've developed systems to work with patients in this age group and gather medical information from them. I used proven psychological and behavioural tools to help assess a child's pain, the location of the pain and its intensity on a scale of one to 10'.

Related: Enrolled Nurse vs Registered Nurse: (With Definitions)

3. Communication

Nurse work alongside medical experts, other nurses and patients and communicate with all three groups. Having effective communication skills can help you accurately convey important details to the right group at the right time. These skills can help you communicate changes in a patient's medical status so that their medical team can revisit and update their treatment plan. Strong communication skills can also help you address a patient's concerns and fears concerning their treatment and its outcomes, so they're better prepared for what is going to take place.

Example: 'My strong and effective communication skills help me provide a higher standard of care to patients. I comprehensively brief patients on their planned treatment with details on what to expect, when to expect it and why it's taking place. This can make the treatment go faster and ensure the patient's full cooperation throughout the process. Effective communication also involves creating detailed initial patient interaction reports that detail any changes to the patient or their treatment. This can help detect rare cases of allergic reactions to medicine or secondary symptoms suggesting an illness or impacting a specific part of the body'.

Related: How to Become a Clinical Nurse: A Career Guide with FAQs

4. Teamwork

Strong teamwork skills can help you build strong interdisciplinary relationships with other members of your team, creating a positive working environment and improving the level of care your patients receive. It can help you identify what each team member's strengths and weaknesses are so that you can coordinate responsibilities with them and consult with the right individuals for their expertise. This can minimise delays and errors when treating patients and help ensure all team members remain accountable for their actions.

Example: 'My strong communication skills help me provide a higher standard of care to patients. I'm used to working in multidisciplinary teams to treat high-risk or medically complex patients and ensure they get the level of care needed. This also ensures the patients and their families remain comfortable and aware of what is taking place. I have worked in different treatment teams, including providing oversight of pregnant patients who enter the hospital's intensive care unit to ensure they enjoy generalised, neonatal and cardiothoracic care. I have also helped transfer and hand over cases to specialist professionals or treatment centres'.

Related: What Does a Nurse Educator Do? (Plus Skills and FAQs)

5. Continuous professional development

Your nursing education forms a part of a job's requirements and not its selection criteria. However, an organisation can look for a nurse who is committed to furthering their nursing knowledge and is completing more than the minimum number of hours required for their continuing professional development. This can involve completing postgraduate studies, attending conferences and workshops or writing articles or chapters or peer-reviewed publications. This can show that you're invested in continuously improving your skills in a specific area.

Example: 'I am committed to exceeding my commitments to continuing professional development in my area of practice. I work as a respiratory nurse and have recently completed an introduction to primary healthcare spirometry course. This has familiarised me with common spirometry equipment, its terminology, its clinical implications and how it impacts the treatment of respiratory conditions in a hospital setting. I have also contributed to a chapter published in the Journal of Queensland Nursing on managing mental health in respiratory patients'.

Related: Classification of Nursing Levels (With Nursing Skills)

6. Quality improvement

Organisations can seek nurses who look for ways to improve the care provided to patients. Nurses provide continuous care and may see aspects of a patient's care that doctors and surgeons miss. This can help you detect ways to reduce costs, improve patient outcomes and make better use of the organisation's existing resources. It can also help the organisation develop treatment guidelines and plans that reduce administrative errors, patient readmissions and fewer adverse events.

Example: 'In my time working as a surgical nurse I created and implemented many quality improvement measures to help treat postoperative patients. By analysing patient data concerning surgical site infections, I created a treatment recommendation plan limiting antibiotic abuse, maintaining patient's body temperature and controlling blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. This helped decrease surgical infection rates by 50% over a 12-month period'.

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