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Nurse Practitioner Interview Questions

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  1. What is the most difficult aspect of being a nurse practitioner? See answer
  2. How do you contribute to a patient’s experience? See answer
  3. What do you do when a patient requests unnecessary antibiotics? See answer
  4. Tell me about a time when you witnessed unethical behavior. How did you respond? See answer
  5. What would you do if a patient is not responding positively to pain medication and requests more than the allowable amount? See answer
  6. Explain a scenario where you went above and beyond to provide exceptional patient care. See answer
  7. Have you ever been in disagreement with a physician over the diagnosis or treatment of a patient? How did you handle the situation? See answer
  8. Tell me about how you handled a clinical emergency in the past and how you would handle one in our facility. See answer
  9. How you handle a difficult patient and or family member?
  10. What is your style of practice?
  11. How do you interact with parents if your patient is a child?
  12. How do you handle an emergency with a patient or with a fellow co-worker?
  13. Would you describe your style of care as holistic?
  14. Are you comfortable disagreeing with a coworker when necessary?
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8 Nurse Practitioner Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

What is the most difficult aspect of being a nurse practitioner?

A:

Nurse practitioners face unique challenges that have the potential to negatively affect their quality of life, depending on their ability to overcome hardship. An ideal candidate is able to openly discuss aspects of the role they deem difficult. What to look for in an answer:

  • Willingness to be honest
  • Definition of a difficult circumstance
  • Response in challenging situations

Example:

“I’m particularly affected when a patient is overcome with physical or emotional distress, despite providing the appropriate care. In the end, I find comfort in knowing that I do my very best to provide aid and comfort to each person in need.”

Q:

How do you contribute to a patient’s experience?

A:

A patient’s experience is not defined by one particular element, but is shaped by a collection of occurrences and emotions that a nurse practitioner can greatly influence. Ask this question to learn how a candidate values and ensures high-quality patient care. What to look for in an answer:

  • Spirit of service for others
  • Exceeding the call of duty
  • Standard of patient care

Example:

“Maintaining an open line of communication from the start, showing empathy and compassion, as well as being responsive and timely are techniques I incorporate into every patient experience.”

Q:

What do you do when a patient requests unnecessary antibiotics?

A:

The general population consists of those who rely heavily on antibiotics to cure any number of ailments. Learn how a candidate evaluates the need and responds to a patient’s request for a nonessential antibiotic prescription. What to look for in an answer:

  • Approach to prescribing antibiotics
  • Method for educating patients
  • Alternative solutions or recommendations

Example:

“Commonly, I listen patiently as a patient insists that I prescribe an antibiotic, despite my diagnosis of a viral infection. I show compassion, educate the patient on the differences between viral and bacterial infections, explain the potentially harmful effects of antibiotic resistance and recommend specific methods and over-the-counter medicine to effectively alleviate their symptoms.”

Q:

Tell me about a time when you witnessed unethical behavior. How did you respond?

A:

The ability to identify and properly respond to unethical behavior and conflict is a valuable trait. This question helps determine the value a candidate places on maintaining ethics in the workplace. What to look for in an answer:

  • Moral compass
  • Safeguarding patients from improper treatment
  • Conflict resolution skills

Example:

“A previous colleague repeatedly extended their breaks without prior approval. Their actions had a direct effect on the office’s daily schedule, which negatively impacted the quality of patient care. I privately addressed this individual to express the value of their role and contributions, determine underlying issues and set new goals.”

Q:

What would you do if a patient is not responding positively to pain medication and requests more than the allowable amount?

A:

Although a nurse practitioner can help manage pain, some patients, injuries or conditions may not respond 100% to pain medication. This question helps assess a candidate’s knowledge and standards when it comes to administering and prescribing pain relievers. What to look for in an answer:

  • Response in stressful situations
  • Communication skills
  • Knowledge of adverse side effects

Example:

“A patient with a broken arm was not responding positively to pain medication. I reassured him and carefully explained that I administered the highest allowable dosage and would be able to administer another dose in a certain period of time. Considering his injury, I was able to expedite a procedure to provide a temporary remedy, much to the patient’s relief!”

Q:

Explain a scenario where you went above and beyond to provide exceptional patient care.

A:

The definition of exceptional patient care may vary from person to person. Ask this question to find out how a candidate defines high-quality care and how they will inspire a culture of kindness, communication and well-being. What to look for in an answer:

  • Initiative
  • Future contributions
  • Dedication

Example:

“During the initial stages of treatment for a diabetic patient, I realized his dependency on encouragement and positive reinforcement to continuously work towards improved health. I motivated his family to become more involved in his journey, and I made care calls on a more frequent basis. I’m happy to say that he greatly improved his overall health under my care!”

Q:

Have you ever been in disagreement with a physician over the diagnosis or treatment of a patient? How did you handle the situation?

A:

Healthcare professionals may not always agree on which route to take when diagnosing and treating a patient. This question uncovers how a candidate responds to differing opinions and how their outlook aligns with your organization. What to look for in an answer:

  • Collaboration skills
  • Ability to be candid
  • Devotion

Example:

“I saw a patient for a follow up appointment since their treating physician was unexpectedly out of the office. In reviewing the patient’s medical history, chief complaint and treatment recommendation, I discovered that I would have recommended a different course of action. Although the patient was responding well to treatment, I brought the matter to the physician upon their arrival. The physician showed appreciation and further evaluated the patient’s plan based on my findings.”

Q:

Tell me about how you handled a clinical emergency in the past and how you would handle one in our facility.

A:

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses with considerable experience. More than likely, they've managed clinical emergencies before and may have to do so in your facility. Asking directly about their past experiences and how they may shift their behavior to reflect your practice will give you important insight into how they perform under pressure.

Look for these elements in your candidate's response:

  • Values patient comfort and care
  • Remains calm under pressure
  • Relies on others when needed

A strong candidate answer might look something like this example:

Example:

"As a nurse and as a nurse practitioner, I've seen many clinical emergencies. From my past experiences, I've learned the most important thing to do is keep yourself calm and rely on your training and team. Most recently in my last position, we had a laboring mother enter our facility.

It was clear she wasn't going to make it to the hospital where she was scheduled to give birth, so we quickly prepped an exam room for her and got in touch with her doctor. We were able to keep her comfortable and calm until her doctor arrived to safely deliver the baby and transfer her to an appropriate location.

At your facility, I think the most important thing for me to do will be to quickly build rapport and relationships with the nurses, doctors and support staff, so we can all count on one another when an emergency arises. Teamwork, respect and support are of utmost importance in these critical situations."

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