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Nursing Assistant Interview Questions

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  1. Why do you want to work as a nursing assistant? See answer
  2. How do you see your daily duties unfolding as a nursing assistant? See answer
  3. How would you handle patient abuse either observed by you or reported by a patient? See answer
  4. What is your process and procedure for entering a patient’s room? See answer
  5. How would you handle a situation where a patient refused your care?
  6. How would you respond if a patient with late-stage Alzheimer’s thought you were one of their loved ones while you were administering care?
  7. Do you have a current nursing assistant certification?
  8. How do you keep track of each patients’ allergies and dietary needs when helping them eat their meals?
  9. Nursing assistants work with people with different conditions and capabilities. What is your experience working with patients with disabilities?
  10. How would you communicate with a non-verbal patient about your caretaking activities?
  11. As a nursing assistant, you may work with terminal patients. How do you handle the emotions of having a patient get sick or pass away?
  12. Explain what occlusive dressings are and when you might use them as a nursing assistant.
  13. Are you squeamish around bodily fluids?
  14. Tell me about the common complications that happen when a patient is on long-term bed rest and how you would avoid them.
  15. How do you think working as a nursing assistant will impact your long-term career goals? Do you see yourself working in a caretaker position long-term?
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6 Nursing Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Why do you want to work as a nursing assistant?

A:

Being a nursing assistant is a demanding job in a high-stress environment requiring long hours of constant activity and the ability to focus on other people’s needs. It helps to know what draws a candidate to the field to see if they are well-suited for the role. Is there a personal experience caring for a loved one or is a family-member a nurse? Have they volunteered or worked to serve others before?

What to look for in an answer:

  • Personal connection to nursing or health care
  • Sense of service and the desire to help others
  • Compassionate heart and demeanor

Example:

“My parents both died of cancer, and I took care of them until they died. After that, no other job seemed worth doing for me.”

Q:

How do you see your daily duties unfolding as a nursing assistant?

A:

It helps to know whether a candidate truly understands the job for which they are applying, especially when that job involves the health and safety or others. An applicant should be aware that the job of a nursing assistant requires direct patient care, tending to the patient’s environment and fulfilling required health care needs like taking and recording vital body statistics.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Willingness to clean up after a patient
  • Technical nursing skills, like the ability to distribute medications, take vitals and dress wounds
  • Time-management, organization and multi-tasking abilities

Example:

“‘What doesn’t a nursing assistant do?’ might be a better question. Whatever the patient needs, really, but at least ensuring their comfort, health and safety.”

Q:

How would you handle patient abuse either observed by you or reported by a patient?

A:

Patient abuse is a serious concern that a nursing assistant must always be cognizant of, both in their own behavior and in the treatment of patients by others. In addition to maintaining the highest standards of treatment in their own patient care, a candidate must be willing to report incidents of patient abuse to superiors, even if that abuse is only suspected or an accusation.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Proactive response to observations of abuse
  • Willingness to report accusations and observations to superiors and, if necessary, authorities
  • Commitment to one’s own highest standards of treatment and care

Example:

“I’m compelled to report it, not just legally or by my employer but by own ethics and compassion. If I see nothing being done about it, I’d take it higher up the chain.”

Q:

What is your process and procedure for entering a patient’s room?

A:

It’s extremely important patients feel they can maintain their dignity while under care. One key way to provide this is by doing everything possible to respect each patient’s privacy in his or her room. Health care is already, necessarily, invasive enough. A nursing assistant should be friendly and respectful the moment they enter the patient’s room.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Keen observation skills
  • Ability to be empathetic to others’ emotions
  • A sense of patience and humility

Example:

“I always knock and announce my entry, greet the patient and introduce myself if we haven’t met. Then I ask how they are doing and if they need anything before proceeding with my list of tasks.”

Q:

How would you handle it if a patient refused your care?

A:

It’s important for you to know your nursing assistants can deal with conflict in a calm, responsible and patient-centered manner. Key to any resolution of this conflict is communication. The candidate must feel confident discussing the patient’s concerns with him or her directly and attempting to identify a solution together. Ideally, the CNA also uses this as an opportunity to educate and inform the patient about a nursing assistant’s role.

What to look for in an answer:

  • A compassionate, patient-centered approach to conflict resolution
  • Ability to remain calm and clear-headed in a crisis
  • Ability to listen and articulate well

Example:

“I would ask the patient the reason and listen to their response carefully. I would then do what is possible to help alleviate their concern. One way might be by explaining my role better and potentially letting them choose the order of my tasks.”

Q:

How would you respond if a patient with late-stage Alzheimer's thought you were one of their loved ones while you were administering care?

A:

Nursing assistants commonly interact with patients who have progressive memory diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia, which could result in confusing interactions and conversations. Nursing assistants need to be realistic about how their responses could impact a patient's well-being. This question lets the interviewer see if the candidate is empathetic and thoughtful when considering interactions with patients. It also allows candidates to demonstrate their knowledge about a common condition they might encounter when working with patients in their care.

A good answer should demonstrate:

  • Empathy and kindness
  • Knowledge of best practices for memory care
  • Self-awareness

One example of a good response could be:

Example:

"When interacting with patients that deal with extreme memory loss and confusion, I try to keep in mind that it isn't necessarily important that they are fully aware of their surroundings as long as they are in good spirits. I'd feel honored that the patient had a good enough impression of me to mistake me for a loved one. I'd interact with them in a friendly way without contradicting them while still maintaining a professional demeanor. I would record the interaction in their records so that other members of the care team were aware of how their condition was progressing."

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