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Director of Nursing Interview Questions

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  1. Why do you want to work at this particular hospital? See answer
  2. What do you do to create a respectful working environment for all nurses and medical staff? See answer
  3. What qualities do you feel are most important for a nurse? See answer
  4. How would you handle a conflict with an angry family member of a patient? See answer
  5. What type of patients did you treat as a nurse yourself? See answer
  6. What would you do if a new nurse on your team was intentionally disregarding standard protocol because they thought their personal methods were better? See answer
  7. What methods do you use to help your nurses feel appreciated, motivated and valued as part of the team?
  8. How do you prevent the nursing department from going over-budget when there are so many unpredictable variables about the supplies and labor you’ll need at any given time?
  9. Do you have experience managing large record databases of confidential information?
  10. What techniques would you implement to gather feedback from patients about the quality of care they receive from nursing staff?
  11. What changes and improvements would you like to make to our facility’s on-call system for nurses?
  12. What skills and characteristics do you seek out when hiring new nurses for your team? How do you select candidates who have a high likelihood of staying at your facility long-term?
  13. How would you approach the challenge of switching to a new software for tracking patient files, schedules and records?
  14. What would you do if a patient brought up a concern about one of your best nurses treating them disrespectfully?
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6 Director of Nursing Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Why do you want to work at this particular hospital?

A:

This question gives you insight into whether the candidate has sufficiently researched the offerings at your hospital. You’ll discover whether he or she has the necessary enthusiasm and dedication for this position, and you can also gauge his or her overall attitude and what he or she could be like as a manager. You’ll learn about any previous experience he/she may have had as a director of nursing.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Applicant’s enthusiasm for this specific working environment
  • Sufficient level of research into your hospital
  • Dedication to this role

Example:

“I enjoy working at large city hospitals like this one, and I would use my previous experience to effectively manage the large nursing team here.”

Q:

What do you do to create a respectful working environment for all nurses and medical staff?

A:

This question lets you in on more details about the candidate’s managerial style. You’ll find out whether he or she is professional and how he or she may interact with members of your nursing department. This question will help you eliminate any candidates who do not respect others and who could create potential conflicts or become a liability to your hospital.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Prioritizes respecting others
  • Interacts well with entire team
  • Demonstrates leadership qualities

Example:

“I believe respect is the foundation of the workplace, and it starts with me. I treat others with respect, and I expect respect in return.”

Q:

What qualities do you feel are most important for a nurse?

A:

This question helps you understand the particular values of the candidate and whether they align with those of your department. By extension, you’ll discover more about how this candidate might recruit new nursing staff and what kind of department he or she would create. You’ll also learn what he or she expects from nursing staff and whether these expectations are appropriate for your particular hospital.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Evidence of appropriate expectations
  • Potential to recruit high-quality nurses and improve department
  • Values that align with your hospital’s vision

Example:

“I appreciate nurses who go above and beyond for patients, and I especially value compassion. I expect my nurses to complete tasks efficiently and cheerfully.”

Q:

How would you handle a conflict with an angry family member of a patient?

A:

This question helps you understand whether the director of nursing applicant would truly be an effective, independent leader for your nursing department. You may gain insight into whether he or she has had frequent conflicts at other hospitals and whether he or she can resolve difficult situations while being considerate and practical. This question shows whether the applicant has a solid understanding of appropriate conflict-resolution strategies.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Knows how to respond calmly and respectfully
  • Clearly explains the situation and offers practical solutions
  • Successfully resolves conflicts independently

Example:

“I would calmly listen to the individual’s concerns and take detailed notes. I would present all possible solutions and give the individual time to decide.”

Q:

What type of patients did you treat as a nurse yourself?

A:

This question reveals the candidate’s prior experience in a short time. You’ll discover whether the applicant’s previous work makes him or her suitable for your hospital, and you’ll find out how recent his or her nursing experience is. For example, if an applicant states that he or she last worked with cardiac patients five years ago, he/she may not be the best fit at your cancer department. You’ll learn whether the applicant’s work experience was broad or more specialized.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Nursing experience matches needs of your department
  • Previous work is suitably broad or specialized
  • Applicant’s prior nursing experience is fairly recent

Example:

“Most recently, I worked as a nurse in the adult cancer care unit. I also have experience working with pediatric and geriatric cancer patients.”

Q:

What would you do if a new nurse on your team was intentionally disregarding standard protocol because they thought their personal methods were better?

A:

Because the director of nursing is responsible for crafting and upholding policies among their nursing staff, they may come across situations where they have to deal with inconsistency or noncompliance issues. A director of nursing should be able to uphold consistent standards while also listening to feedback, input and new ideas that could benefit their staff and patients. This question addresses the director's ability to guide their nursing team and provide strong reasoning policy decisions while keeping staff morale strong.

A good answer may include:

  • Conflict management skills
  • Prioritizing patient health
  • Respect and understanding

Here is one sample response:

Example:

"The first step must be to correct the nurse's behavior and align it with hospital policy. I would meet with the nurse privately to discuss their concerns about our current procedures and explain that we can only provide excellent patient care when all nurses adhere to the same rules. However, if there is something we could be doing better, I want to know. I'd talk to the nurse about the methods they use and the outcomes they observed. If they had evidence of a positive impact on patients, I'd start researching ways to officially apply their techniques to our policies."

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