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Nurse Interview Questions

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  1. Why did you decide to become a nurse? See answer
  2. Give us an example of a situation where you had to deal with a difficult and demanding patient and what you did. See answer
  3. Why do you want to work at this hospital, office, etc.? See answer
  4. Why did you choose the particular field of nursing that you are in? See answer
  5. What kinds of personality traits are most effective for nurses to have? See answer
  6. What are the biggest challenges or issues that nurses face today? See answer
  7. Why do you feel you are qualified for the job?
  8. What’s your process for handling several tasks at once while still providing great customer care?
  9. Explain your process for describing a complex illness or disease to a patient who doesn’t understand common medical jargon.
  10. Tell me about your favorite interaction or experience with a patient or their family.
  11. What’s your method for handling patients who are hostile?
  12. What would you do if you had to work with a patient who refused to disclose important information that is critical to helping improve their health?
  13. Describe your process for handling a high-pressure, fast-paced work environment.
  14. What would you do if you had a patient who was significantly ill and needed you to provide them with extra care than other?
  15. Describe your process for calming and relaxing yourself when you feel overwhelmed for your workload.
  16. What strategies do you perform to make sure your team stays positive during a stressful or emotional day at the clinic or hospital?
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8 Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

A:

This question is an attempt to get to know the candidate better as an individual. Everyone has a reason for going into their chosen profession and this should be viewed as an opportunity to explain what one’s motivations are and why they chose nursing. It would be a good idea to provide a personal example if applicable, but the answer should be honest and sincere.

Example:

“I decided to become a nurse because I genuinely love working with people and caring for others. When I was a child, I had an appendectomy and was really apprehensive about it. The doctors were great, but only spent a limited amount of time with me. It was the nurses who spent time, answered questions, and helped put me and my family at ease. They were fantastic during my recovery and that has always stuck with me. That is a big reason I decided to become a nurse.”

Q:

Give us an example of a situation where you had to deal with a difficult and demanding patient and what you did.

A:

Nursing is a field in which you work with many different people during difficult and stressful times. There will always be difficult patients and this question seeks to gauge one’s reaction to a common issue.

Example:

“I remember one particular patient who was in a lot of pain and did not want to be touched, was verbally abusive, and constantly complaining about their pain. I reviewed his chart and spoke with the attending physician to ensure that we were doing everything we could to manage his pain. After doing so, I let him know that we were doing everything possible to make him comfortable. While what I could do for him was limited, I made sure that he felt listened to and that we weren’t dismissive.”

Q:

Why do you want to work at this hospital, office, etc.?

A:

This is a question to determine what the candidate knows about the facility and if they did their homework. Before interviewing, it is important to research the office, hospital, or facility beforehand and to be able to ask or answer related questions. If a job applicant does not know anything about the office, hospital, or practice it shows a basic lack of preparation and casts serious doubt on whether or not they actually want to work there.

Example:

“I would like to work at this hospital because of its excellent reputation for emergency medicine. I started as an EMT and had the opportunity to transport patients to various emergency rooms throughout the city and I was always impressed at the thoroughness, professionalism, and skill of the doctors and nurses that I encountered here. I know that this particular facility gets a good number of advanced trauma patients and I am looking forward to applying what I have already learned while still having the opportunity to learn from a seasoned and professional staff.”

Q:

Why did you choose the particular field of nursing that you are in?

A:

This question is another way to get to know the candidate. Different specialities require different personality types and each have their own unique challenges. The best answer to give is one that provides some insight as to what drives the decision making process.

Example:

“I have always loved aviation and was naturally drawn to emergency medicine. I spent time in the Army as a combat medic and as such spent a lot of time around helicopters both for transportation and for medical evacuations. After I left the Army, I knew that a flight nurse was the best way to build upon my previous interests and experiences in the civilian world.”

Q:

What kinds of personality traits are most effective for nurses to have?

A:

This question is great for gauging a candidate’s understanding of the complexity and human side of nursing. Nurses require a number of skills, especially interpersonal skills in order to successfully work with doctors, patients, family members, and other staff.

Example:

“In my opinion, the personality traits that make nurses most effective are patience, compassion, and attention to detail.”

Q:

What are the biggest challenges or issues that nurses face today?

A:

This is a great way to gauge whether a candidate is staying up to date on trends and news in the industry.

Example:

“In my opinion, the biggest challenges and issues facing nurses today are mandatory overtime, safe staffing levels, and workplace safety. The current nursing shortage has led to potentially dangerous practices like mandatory overtime and unsafe staffing levels. This increases the stress on nurses, decreases quality of patient care, and increases the likelihood of medical errors. ”

Q:

Why Do you feel you are qualified for the job?

A:

This is an opportunity for the candidates to sell themselves and talk about past education and experiences.

Example:

“I feel that I am qualified for the job because I have my Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), I am a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), and have 6 years of practical experience as a nurse anesthetist. I also stay on top of industry news, studies, and attend seminars or symposiums at least twice a year. I genuinely enjoy what I do and put in extra effort to be the best that I possibly can.”

Q:

What's your process for handling several tasks at once while still providing great customer care?

A:

Nurses are typically on their feet for several hours at a time, handling many tasks assigned to them at once. They're often responsible for properly managing and organizing these tasks to ensure they complete them on time, while still providing quality patient care. This question allows you to gauge an understanding of how they'll prioritize their time and handle the stress that a fast-paced and high-pressure work environment may offer them. The candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Ability to work and react under pressure
  • Organization and time-management skills
  • Dedication to customer service
An answer to this question should look like:
Example:

"I've spent many years working in a hospital setting, so I'm very familiar with the intensity of being assigned several tasks at once. I'll take a deep breath and prioritize each task in order of importance and critical care that's needed of me. I try to keep a pen and paper to quickly write down each patient I need to see to ensure I don't forget each task. I'll start with critically ill or injured patients who need care right away. I'll meet with them and finish up my tasks as quickly as possible, while being careful not to make any errors."

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