Top 51 Nurse Practitioner Interview Questions (Plus Answers)
Updated May 26, 2023
When you're preparing to interview for a position as a nurse practitioner, it's a good idea to review interview questions specific to the job so you can prepare effectively. Many interviewers ask similar questions to learn more about your abilities as a nurse practitioner. Considering your answers ahead of time can help you enter an interview with confidence and answer questions about your skills honestly.
In this article, we provide a list of 51 nurse practitioner interview questions, including six with sample answers, and offer tips to help you prepare for job interviews in this field.
Nurse practitioner interview questions with sample answers
As you prepare for an interview for a nurse practitioner position, it's helpful to consider questions the interviewer might ask. Taking the time to evaluate your responses can help you calmly present what you want to say about your skills, experience and work ethic. When you prepare effectively for an interview, you can demonstrate your ability to care for patients and show potential employers your medical knowledge, nursing competence and communication skills.
Review these interview questions with sample answers to help you prepare your own responses to similar questions:
1. Why did you choose to become a nurse practitioner?
When an interviewer asks this question, they're seeking to understand what motivates you to succeed in your career. They may also want to gain insight into your commitment to providing exceptional patient care. The role of a nurse practitioner can be demanding, so use your answer to highlight your skills and convey your passion for helping others.
Example: "I chose to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner because I'm invested in the care and treatment of those whom I can serve. During my education, I found that nursing was my greatest interest, so I chose to continue my career by earning my nurse practitioner license. In this role, I can further support patients and work as part of a care team that delivers personalized care to each patient."
2. How do you perform under stress?
Working in health care is often stressful, so an interviewer may ask this question to learn how you handle that type of stress at work. Consider how you can craft an answer that outlines your abilities to cope with and manage stress. Acknowledge the importance of the role while explaining the skills you have for managing the demands of the job.
Example: "Some pressure in my role helps me to feel motivated and productive. Although stress is part of the job, I've worked to develop ways to manage stress more effectively. I feel I can delegate to others well, which can help prevent overly stressful situations. I find it's helpful when all members of the health care team work together to complete their share of the work. In addition, I react to individual situations, rather than to stress, allowing me to better handle each scenario as it arises."
3. What's the most challenging aspect of working as a nurse practitioner?
A nurse practitioner faces unique responsibilities and challenges. When answering this question, be honest about what you think is especially challenging about the role. Then discuss how you handle that aspect of the job.
Example: "I find it especially challenging to work with a patient who's facing a life-threatening illness or disease. This situation can be hard for me because it's emotionally difficult. To overcome this challenge, I continue to pursue education and training that allows me to better respond to life-threatening illnesses and situations to help improve patient outcomes. I also give my best effort to provide emotional support to those who may feel stressed or overwhelmed with their diagnoses."
4. How would you respond if you witnessed unethical actions from a member of your care team?
Ethical behavior is especially important in health care, where a violation could have very significant results. By asking this question, an interviewer wants to make sure that the ethical aspect of a career in health care is important to you. In your response to this question, outline your ability to identify and react to unethical behavior from those on your team.
Example: "In my previous position, a triage nurse on our team revealed the details of a high-profile patient's medical condition and treatment plan to the media without the patient's consent. This action had a direct effect on the privacy of that patient and the reputation of our medical clinic. After privately speaking with all members of the team to determine who breached the patient's privacy, the nurse who shared the confidential information was removed from direct care and the team."
Read more: How To Answer Ethical Interview Questions
5. What do you contribute to a patient's care experience?
The experience of a patient can determine their health outcome and impact whether they return for future treatments. When answering this question, consider some of the unique ways you interact with your patients, such as how you respond to individual patient needs. It may be helpful to detail some examples of ways you've interacted with patients in other positions, speaking broadly to maintain their privacy.
Example: "I start every patient interaction by making sure I'm communicating as clearly and effectively as possible. I take the time to answer questions from my patients and respond to their concerns quickly so they feel heard. When I interact with a patient, I also focus on putting myself in their situation so I can better show compassion and empathy."
6. Why did you choose to work in this specialty?
An employer may ask this question to gain insight into your motivation and passion for working in a specific area of medicine. Use your answer to explain why you chose a specialty in a particular medical area. You can also describe some career accomplishments you've had in the field to demonstrate your skills and abilities.
Example: "I've always loved children and worked as a pediatrics nurse for 10 years. During that time, I learned a lot about how to provide effective care to young patients to meet their unique needs. I decided that I wanted to have more autonomy when providing care and chose to get my master's degree in nursing so I could become a licensed nurse practitioner. In this role, I'm able to provide comprehensive care to help children and their families achieve positive outcomes, which I find incredibly rewarding."
At the beginning of an interview, a hiring manager may ask you some general questions to learn more about you and assess whether you're a good fit for the nurse practitioner position. Here are some examples of questions they may ask:
7. Can you tell me about yourself?
8. What do you enjoy most about working in this specialty?
9. What are your strengths as a nurse practitioner?
10. What's your greatest weakness as a nurse practitioner, and how are you working to improve in this area?
11. What are some of your career achievements related to nursing?
12. Why do you want to work at this facility or practice?
13. Why do you think you'd be a good addition to this medical team?
14. What qualities make you a good nurse practitioner?
15. What's your favorite part of being a nurse practitioner?
16. What's your least favorite part of being a nurse practitioner?
17. What are your career goals, and how can this position help you achieve them?
18. Why did you leave your last nursing position?
19. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
20. What do you know about this practice or facility?
21. How well do you work as part of a health care team?
Related: 100 Common Job Interview Questions
Questions about experience and background
A potential employer may ask questions about your training and experience to learn more about your nursing competencies and patient management skills. Here are some questions you may receive about your professional background:
22. Have you ever worked with a challenging patient, and how did you manage the situation?
23. Do you have any certifications in your specialty?
24. What steps do you take to improve your medical skills?
25. What experience or training do you have in this specialty?
26. Can you discuss your familiarity with standard procedures in this specialty?
27. How do you stay updated on advancements in your medical field?
28. Have you provided telehealth appointments, and what steps do you take to make virtual assessments?
29. Have you ever experienced conflict with a patient or coworker, and how did you handle the situation?
30. How well do you work with other members of a health care team?
31. How do you determine if a patient's pain level is appropriate?
32. How would you describe your bedside manner with patients?
33. Can you describe your leadership experience?
34. How do you maintain a healthy and sanitary workspace?
35. Do you have experience treating patients of different ages?
36. What computer systems have you used for electronic medical records?
Often, a hiring manager asks in-depth or behavioral questions to determine how you may collaborate with other providers or interact with patients in difficult situations. Here are some in-depth questions to help you prepare:
37. How do you provide a difficult diagnosis to a patient?
38. How would you work with a physician who has a different management style than you?
39. What steps do you take when a patient is experiencing a medical emergency?
40. How do you handle conflicts between patients and their family members?
41. Can you describe a time when you feel you excelled in providing care to a patient?
42. If a patient requested a prescription you don't recommend, what would you tell them?
43. If you have a disagreement with another provider or coworker, how do you handle it?
44. How do you work with other members of the care team to ensure patients receive the best possible treatment?
45. How do you work with patients who may be stressed or nervous?
46. Do you consider yourself to be a mentor to other nurses on the care team? Why or why not?
47. How do you provide effective care to patients of different cultural backgrounds?
48. What would you do if a patient asked for a higher dosage of pain medication?
49. What would you do if you felt a patient didn't fully understand their diagnosis?
50. If a patient expressed concerns about their treatment plan, what would you do?
51. How do you communicate with a patient's family members or support team?
Tips to prepare for a nurse practitioner interview
When interviewing for a nurse practitioner role, it's helpful to follow some tips to increase your chances of success. Here are some tips to consider before your nurse practitioner interview:
Prepare interview materials
Before the interview, prepare your professional materials and credentials so you can provide them upon request. Make sure you bring copies of your updated resume with information about your responsibilities and achievements in a nursing or nurse practitioner role. Also, bring your nursing license, proof of CPR or Basic Life Support certifications and notice of passing board scores, if applicable.
Listen carefully to questions
When you have a better understanding of what an interviewer is asking, you're more likely to give a response that offers insights into your nursing skills and abilities. Allow an interviewer to finish speaking before you begin to answer the question. If necessary, you can ask for clarification to ensure you address each question directly.
Use the STAR method
You can use the STAR method, which stands for situation, task, action and result, to provide succinct and powerful responses to questions. When using this method, describe a situation that relates to the question and explain the task you completed. Next, outline the action you took in that situation and the result that occurred. For example, when answering a question about your proficiency with a specific procedure, you may describe a time you performed it, the tasks and actions you completed and the patient outcome.
Answer questions thoughtfully
Prepare thoughtful answers to standard interview questions to show potential employers your professionalism and competency. Maintain a positive tone throughout all the answers you give. Also, aim to answer questions concisely without offering extra information. These types of answers can convey your communication skills, showing employers how you may interact successfully with patients.
Think about questions you want to ask
In most interviews, an employer gives you the opportunity to ask questions you may have about the nurse practitioner role or the health care facility where you're interviewing. Consider what questions you can ask to better understand the role and atmosphere. Some examples include asking about work-life balance, reasons the last person in the role left, continuing education opportunities and ways the staff members work together as a team.
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