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Nurse Manager Interview Questions

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  1. What have you done in the past in order to calm an upset patient and their family? Would you do anything different today? See answer
  2. Have you ever had to give one of your employees bad news? Describe how you handled the situation. See answer
  3. What is the greatest challenge that you’ve faced on the job as a nurse manager?
  4. Can you describe an emergency situation in which you had to act quickly? Would you do anything differently if you had to do it again?
  5. How do you keep up to date on the best practices and latest research for nursing and nurse management?
  6. Certified nursing assistants and registered nurses have different qualifications and job responsibilities. Nurse managers must understand the importance of having both of these professionals working in their ward. This question helps interviewers gauge a nurse manager’s experience as a leader and learn more about their character.
  7. Do you have experience creating work schedules and handling scheduling conflicts as a nurse manager? Provide an example.
  8. Have you ever been in charge of a budget at work? Can you provide an example of how you stay within budget?
  9. An employee feels uncomfortable working with a specific patient. How do you rearrange shift duties to help the employee feel more comfortable?
  10. What do you do to ensure your ward has an adequate stock of supplies on a consistent basis?
  11. How many nurses and other nursing professionals have you hired and trained?
  12. Have you ever worked in a facility with outdated medical technologies? How did you adjust your services to maintain superb patient care?
  13. A patient insists on being discharged before they complete their treatment for an autoimmune disease. How do you reason with them and make them feel comfortable?
  14. What do you do to make sure your employees receive adequate breaks throughout their shifts?
  15. Has a nurse ever disagreed with you about a patient’s care needs? How did you react?
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6 Nurse Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

What is the greatest challenge that you have faced on the job as a nurse in management?

A:

This is an important question to ask because it shows the nurse manager’s ability to think critically and to learn from difficult situations. The ability to recognize a challenge and think through it objectively is essential in a fast-paced environment. The answer to this question will also demonstrate the nurse manager’s skills at managing a team of nurses in a high-pressure situation. What to look for in an answer:

  • Concise description of situation
  • Explanation of lessons learned
  • Details of their thought process for handling the situation

Example:

“The greatest challenge has been shifts that were short-staffed, and I reached out to our contingent nurse pool in order to fill critical vacancies.”

Q:

What have you done in the past in order to calm an upset patient and their family? Would you do anything different today?

A:

You should ask this question because it shows you the nurse manager’s skills at handling upset and emotionally charged patients and their family members. An ideal applicant will be able to calmly listen, reiterate the problem and create a solution that is safe for the patient and acceptable to the nursing staff. A strong candidate will be able to do this objectively. What to look for in an answer:

  • Clear description of the situation
  • Ability to diffuse a tense situation
  • Implementation of a solution that is safe and effective

Example:

“A patient threatened to immediately self-discharge, and I explained the life-threatening risks to the patient if they were to proceed with such a plan. This situation scared me a lot at the time, but I have since learned to distance myself from these kinds of situations. I find that actually makes me stronger and calmer.”

Q:

Describe an emergency situation in which you had to act quickly. Would you do anything differently if you had to do it again?

A:

Nurse managers need to react quickly, and the ideal candidate will be able to do so without getting flustered or frozen in place. This is an important question to ask because it demonstrates the nurse manager’s ability to identify an emergency and act on the spot. It also shows their knowledge of hospital procedures and patient safety plans. What to look for in an answer:

  • Description of the situation
  • Explanation of their actions and thought process
  • Self-critique of their actions and description of any changes

Example:

“A patient injured a nurse, and I immediately called security and used the hospital intercom procedures for communicating the need to lock the floor. Looking back, I should not have tried to talk to the patient and find out what was wrong just after it happened. I should have settled the patient and discussed the incident with them later when we were both calmer.”

Q:

Have you ever had to give one of your employees bad news? Describe how you handled the situation.

A:

Nurse managers may have the responsibility to deliver bad news to their staff nurses, and the answer to this question shows you whether or not they can do so in a calm and effective manner. Their answer should reflect the ability to explain the situation objectively. The nurse manager’s answer should also reflect their preparation to handle any questions during the delivery of the bad news. What to look for in an answer:

  • Process for delivering bad news
  • Detailed description of how they handle strong emotions
  • Preparation for dealing with difficult employment situations

Example:

“I had to lay off a new hire due to budget cuts, and I explained the reason why and volunteered to be a reference.”

Q:

How do you keep up-to-date on the best practices and latest research for nursing and nurse management?

A:

This question’s answer demonstrates the nurse manager’s commitment to continued education and ongoing learning. Their answer should reflect how important they feel it is to provide patients with the best quality of care. It also demonstrates their willingness to continue improving their nursing skills as well as their management skills. The answer will also give insight into their time management skills. What to look for in an answer:

  • Listing of journals or publications they read
  • Explanation of conferences they attend
  • Ability to fit professional development into their schedule

Example:

“Each year, I attend the American Public Health Association and American Nursing Association’s annual conferences, and I also do online continuing education courses.”

Q:

Certified nursing assistants and registered nurses have different qualifications and job responsibilities. Nurse managers must understand the importance of having both of these professionals working in their ward. This question helps interviewers gauge a nurse manager's experience as a leader and learn more about their character.

A:

The candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Importance of both roles
  • Understanding of different nursing roles
  • Leadership experience

A candidate's answer might look like this:

Example:

"Certified nursing assistants are just as important as registered nurses because they provide various services that help patients feel comfortable and well taken care of. They also support registered nurses by completing tasks that enable them to focus on medical care. For example, certified nursing assistants in my ward help patients bathe and eat. They also get them more pillows and blankets or help them reposition in bed. Because of this, registered nurses can focus on administering IVs, checking vitals and running tests on patients."

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    Last updated: Apr 21, 2021