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ER Nurse Interview Questions

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  1. How would you manage patient triage during a night shift in the emergency department? See answer
  2. A person comes into the ER trembling and has trouble breathing. They have a rapid heart rate and look pale. What are your initial thoughts and what treatments do you suggest? See answer
  3. What made you want to become a nurse in the emergency department?
  4. What would you do if an ER patient didn’t respond to a particular treatment?
  5. How would you deliver bad news to a patient or a patient’s family? What examples can you provide?
  6. What is your process for handling conflicts with a patient or with a supervisor?
  7. How would you rate your teamwork skills as an ER nurse?
  8. What strategies do you use to stay calm and alert in stressful situations at the ER?
  9. Why do you want to work as an ER nurse at our hospital?
  10. As an ER nurse, you need to be able to communicate clearly with other nurses, doctors, ambulatory crews, patients and patients’ families. Can you tell me about a time you adapted your communication tactics to help others understand you?
  11. What strategies do you use to reassure patients and help them feel comfortable?
  12. Can you walk me through the processes of inserting an IV catheter?
  13. As an ER nurse, you might witness stressful or emotional events on a daily basis. How do you maintain a positive outlook and work ethic during these times?
  14. How do you counteract an allergic reaction? What examples can you provide from your previous role?
  15. Have you ever stabilized a broken limb? If so, can you describe the process to me?
  16. What’s one area of ER nursing you want more experience with?
  17. What sutures should you use to close up flesh wounds?
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6 ER Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

What made you want to be a nurse in the emergency department?

A:

This question will let you find out more about the applicant’s personal values and the life experiences that have led him or her to the field of emergency medicine. The applicant may relate anecdotes that suggest he or she thrives in high-stress environments. They may want to give back to the world around them. You’ll discover whether this ER nurse has values that align with yours and whether he or she could work well with your existing team.

  • Ability to cope in high-pressure, fast-paced environment
  • Attitude that emphasizes teamwork
  • Capacity for empathy and compassion
Example:

“During my childhood, I spent time in the ER as a patient, and this inspired me to want to give high-quality trauma care to patients.”

Q:

What would you do if an ER patient did not respond to a particular treatment?

A:

This question helps you find out whether the candidate has a solid understanding of both the standard and more advanced treatments that are appropriate for various cases. You’ll learn how the candidate could work independently and whether he or she would know when to ask for advice from another team member. You can gain insight into the applicant’s understanding of the hospital’s chain of command.

  • Excellent knowledge of standard and advanced treatments
  • Understanding of when to ask for assistance
  • Familiarity with how a protocol works up the chain of command
Example:

“I would assess the patient’s health history and status and follow standard protocol for escalating treatment. If necessary, I would consult with another staff member.”

Q:

How would you manage patient triage during a night shift in the emergency department?

A:

Many critical cases occur during the overnight hours, and nurses sometimes have to work more independently during these times. This question lets you in on how the candidate would assess the severity of an individual’s injury/illness and whether he or she has the capacity to accurately judge which cases are most urgent. You’ll also learn about whether the applicant is efficient enough to handle the size or caseload of your ER.

  • Ability to distinguish between urgent and non-urgent cases
  • Appropriate record keeping skills
  • Appropriate knowledge of vital signs measurement and health history procedures
Example:

“After taking the patient’s vitals and history of the accident or illness, I would use these observations to decide which patients needed to be seen most urgently.”

Q:

How would you deliver bad news to a patient or to a patient’s family?

A:

Asking this question will help you assess whether this ER nurse has the appropriate level of empathy, compassion, and professionalism for this position. You’ll discover whether the nurse takes enough time when delivering news or whether he or she is too abrupt in doing so. You’ll also learn whether he or she explains things with language that patients and families can understand. This question tells you about the nurse’s people skills and empathy.

  • Ability to clearly and compassionately convey information
  • Willingness to “go the extra mile” for patients/families
  • Accurate understanding of the situation
Example:

“In a private setting, I would gently explain the situation and give the patient/patient’s family time to ask questions. I would provide regular status updates.”

Q:

How have you handled previous situations where there was a conflict with a patient or supervisor?

A:

This question helps you delve into the ER nurse’s interpersonal skills and find out whether he or she would be easy to work with as a staff member. You’ll learn whether the nurse is likely to have the necessary skills to avoid conflict in the first place; you’ll also be able to assess his or her knowledge and application of conflict resolution strategies. You’ll learn whether the candidate is dependable.

  • Ability to avoid conflict and utilize appropriate resolution strategies
  • Willingness to consider alternative viewpoints
  • Ability to calmly accept critical feedback
Example:

“I would listen to the other person’s viewpoints before responding. I’d gather information and try to work with everyone involved to successfully resolve the issue.”

Q:

A person comes into the ER trembling and has trouble breathing. They have a rapid heart rate and look pale. What are your initial thoughts and what treatments do you suggest?

A:

ER nurses need to be able to assess a patient's symptoms quickly, to administer treatment and stabilize them. This question helps an interviewer gauge a candidate's ability to recognize symptoms and associate them with injuries or illnesses. It also allows them to learn more about a candidate's thought process. A candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Commitment to making accurate diagnoses
  • Compassion for ER patients
Here is one example of a quality candidate answer:
Example:

"Initially, this patient could have any number of injuries or illnesses based on their symptoms. The first thing I would do is make them comfortable and check their vitals. If the patient can speak, I'd ask them when the symptoms started and whether they had any health conditions. If they couldn't speak, I'd start a physical assessment, order x-rays and consult with physicians about whether to start an IV."

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