Finding Future Nurse Leaders

Procter Hall, University of Cincinnati College of Nursing

The college will assess more applicants using an interview process that examines critical thinking, ethics, empathy and other attributes.

By: Bill Bangert

UC College of Nursing is changing its approach for admitting students into its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Students applying for admission for fall 2018 will go through the Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) process.

The MMI process is a research-based interviewing method that can identify not measured through essays or traditional interviewing, says Lori Catalano, assistant professor at the UC College of Nursing, and one of eight members of the MMI task force.

"Just because a student had a perfect ACT score and a 4.0 grade point average in high school doesn’t necessarily mean that student is going to be a good nurse,” says Catalano. "We look for things like critical thinking, communication, empathy and ethics.”

The College of Nursing is enlisting the help of volunteers from the university and local community to interview prospective students. The interviews are pre-scheduled and will take place on Fridays and Saturdays in November, December and January. Interviewers are required to take a 90-minute training session during which they watch videos of sample interviews and practice rating the interviewee on a specific trait they have been assigned.

"This is something that is very important to me personally, because I want us to make the best choices in our students,” says Greer Glazer, PhD, dean of the College of Nursing. "I feel by getting the best students we’re going to make sure people get the best health care.”

The MMI interviews themselves focus on six separate attributes or prompts. Catalano says the MMI task force surveyed community partners to get input on what makes a good nurse and those responses were used to guide the selection of the various prompts. Those partners include nurse executives, nursing faculty, practicing nurses and members of the general community.

"There’s a different interviewer for each prompt and this method has been shown to reduce bias in the interview process,” says Catalano. "Some of the biases that can influence the outcome of an interview include skin color, age and what is worn to the interview. All these things influence us subconsciously, but in the MMI process, because you’re looking at a specific trait, you tend to ignore the biases more so because you’re concentrating only on that trait.” Bias is also addressed in the training of the interviewers, Catalano adds.

Catalano says the College of Nursing hopes to interview about 250 prospective students with the aim to admit 150 freshman in the fall of 2018. The MMI process was first used at the college by the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists program this past spring, and the goal is to eventually implement it for other College of Nursing programs.