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    Demystifying Selection Criteria for Nursing Roles

    Registered health practitioners are some of the most trusted and respected professionals in Australia. The importance of a competent and secure health workforce has increased tenfold, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and other emerging infectious and lifestyle diseases and ailments.  According to the Australia Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA), whose role is to protect the public and set standards for professional health practice, 1 out of 16 people employed in Australia is a registered health practitioner.

    With the increase in the demand for competent health care, the nursing field has become a fertile ground for employment for those who are passionate about caring for others and providing timely, compassionate, and appropriate services in line with the duty of care. One of the most important bases for hiring is the applicant’s ability to respond to the selection criteria provided within the job description. Selection criteria responses are helpful statements that outline the applicant’s ability to respond to a certain competency requirement or situation. Typically, a job application package may have up to 5 or more selection criteria, which should be addressed within a well-written response statement.

    If you are interested in nursing roles, here are some tips that will help you write a strong selection criteria document to get you started in this growing industry:

    1. Use the STAR format

    As the selection criteria response is a personal account of how you are able to fit a certain competency, use a strong personal example from your experience that best describes how you are able to meet the criteria. The STAR approach organises information by outlining the Situation, Task, Action and Result, in that order. Take for example the following Selection Criterion and Response, which is typical amongst nursing application requirements:

    Ability to communicate and collaborate within a multidisciplinary health care team.

    SITUATION. As registered ER nurse, I am expected to work in a fast-paced and highly stressful environment. My ability to attend to my patients in an effective manner also depends on the level of trust and collaboration that I am able to establish from other members in my multidisciplinary care team. As such, I prioritise effective coordination and communication to ensure that proper hand overs, referrals, and information exchange are carried out at all times.

    TASK. During one shift, we had an alert for a multi-vehicle accident on the highway which involved a pile-up of 6 vehicles all carrying multiple passengers. Several ambulances started to stream in, and as the triage nurse in charge, it was imperative that I directed patients to the proper sections of the ER. I worked with other EMS responders and the ER team members to work through our triage protocols in a systematic and time-sensitive manner.

    ACTIONS. I redirected incoming patients to the major trauma, minor trauma, resuscitation, and injection areas as appropriate. Those needing immediate medical care were taken to the resuscitation areas, whilst the deceased patients were moved to the morgue. The severely but less critically injured were taken to major trauma-medical areas for treatment or further assessment. The walking injured were directed to minor surgery and primary care treatment areas in the hospital’s outpatient clinic. This whole operation required consistent communication with concerned team members. We practised our standard response protocols in effectively managing of the influx of around 20 patients with varying levels of trauma.

    RESULT. As a result of our close coordination and communication, the multidisciplinary care team, under my leadership, was able to minimise casualties and properly assist all affected patients so that they received immediate competent care and medical attention.

    2. Refrain from providing sensitive information

    In observance with confidentiality and data privacy standards, no private information, especially of patients and healthcare workers must be included. This follows not only legislative and regulatory standards, but also codes of ethics and professionalism. Some responses may include instances with minors or with vulnerable patients who may not be able to consent to having their information divulged. What is important is showing how you are able to satisfy the required competency. Whilst it is important to be as detailed and specific as possible in outlining compelling examples, it should not be at the expense of patients and other co-workers whose information, health status, and identity we should consistently protect and safeguard. 

    3. Prioritise a good narrative and flow

    As shown in the STAR example above, the situation at hand must be easily understood and therefore, must read well. Organising information so that it flows smoothly is an art, but it does not have to be very challenging. Use transition or ordinal markers such as first, then, subsequently, finally, etc.  Also, Conjunctive adverbs such as however, moreover, therefore, consequently, thus, etc. help effectively transition thoughts and ideas. Use the proper adverb, and you should be able to turn convoluted narrations into a graceful and flowing prose.

    4. Proofread!

    As with any professional document, your selection criteria, along with the other documents in your application package must reflect the highest standards of grammar, spelling, and writing quality. Go with a proactive and direct writing style whilst also providing as many details as possible. Check for grammatical and spelling errors and be vigilant about run-on sentences. Lastly, for the purpose of ATS optimisation, make sure that your content is formatted to ATS standards.

    Contact us today and let us assist you as you prepare your selection criteria. We have special packages and rates for nurses who wish to prepare resume, cover letter, and selection criteria responses that are consistent with industry-standard requirements and competency standards.

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