Being a nurse is not an easy job. Most days, you will be seeing people in the middle of crisis what can only be described as one of the worst days of their life. And to make sure that you’re providing them with proper care, you’ll definitely need a sense of humor, patience, attention to detail and definitely a thick skin.
Because, these people will be at their wits end because either their health or the health/life of their loved ones is on the line. And so you need to make sure that you are taking care of them.
But being a nurse can also be one of the most rewarding careers out there.
Who doesn’t want to help people get better and in a lot of cases, thank you for saving their lives? That’s one of the best feelings in the world.
But getting that first job as a nurse might be one of the hardest parts of your entire career. And that’s exactly what this article is all about. We want to help you answer those anxiety-driving interview questions during your nursing interview so you can be the best candidate they can choose from.
We will be going over the top 4 nursing interview questions that you will most likely be asked, and we will also guide you on how you can best answer them. Remember, this is just like any other job interview, you just have to make sure that the hiring manager that is interviewing you understands that you know what you’re talking about.
Before we dive into it, you should also consider the fact that you will also be asked several non-nursing related interview questions. A lot of people have informed us that most of these are behavioral interview questions that are common to any other type of job interview.
If you don’t have access to the common interview questions that most hiring managers ask, don’t worry about it. We are currently working on an article that talks about just that.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s jump into the nitty-gritty!
Types of Nursing Interview Questions
Alright, let’s talk about the TYPE of interview questions that nurses will be asked in a nursing interview.
The nursing profession is a unique profession, no doubt about it. And so, the questions you will be asked by your hiring manager will be unique as well, you should expect it.
Sure, you will be asked some of the same questions as all the other job interviews out there.
Things like “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?”, “Tell me more about yourself”, etc.
But you will also be asked some very specific nursing questions that only you will be able to answer. No other person in a different profession will be able to answer that.
And the way you answer those nursing questions will decide whether you get the job or not. Because this is what will set you apart from all the other candidates.
Because nursing is a very different profession compared to other careers and industries, you will be asked about your interpersonal skills and patient care. Because at the end of the day, you will be a caregiver to a patient and your potential employer would be interested in knowing whether you are good at taking care of the patients or not.
Most of these questions will fall under the behavioral questions category which will give the interviewer an overall idea of how you would interact with the patients in certain scenarios and whether or not you’d make for a good nurse.
They will also ask you questions about how you’d respond when you’re working in a team environment with other doctors and technicians. They will ask you to give specific examples from your past about your experience facing similar situations and how you responded.
One important thing you should prepare for your nursing interview is how you would handle a crisis and how you deal with stress. Do you respond well in high-pressure situations or do you like to take some time off because high-pressure situations affect your performance and decision making?
You will have to prepare for all these questions. And if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t worry. All it takes is a bit of preparation beforehand and you’ll be ready to go in no time.
Tips For Answering Common Nursing Interview Questions
First things first, you need to go over the job description and make sure you understand exactly what they’re looking for.
Once you know their requirements, only then will you be able to meet them.
Now that you know what they are looking for, you should take some time and look back at what experience you have and see if you meet those requirements.
Remember, your experiences don’t necessarily have to be EXACTLY what they are looking for. All you need to do is help your future employer extrapolate from your experiences and decide how you would handle similar situations.
You should focus on situations in which you made good decisions by thinking on your feet and handled well at not just at your job, but beyond it.
The main thing you want to focus on, is that you are answering their questions with personal examples that highlight your skills and abilities.
And while you’re prepping from the interview, make sure you familiarize yourself with the place you’ll be working at. This is invaluable especially in cases where you’re invited to a panel interview.
So make sure you research things like the techniques they use and just the overall way of how they like to do things. This will let them know that you have done your homework and you are the perfect candidate for them.
Another thing you have to keep in mind, is that as a nurse, you will have to be a team player. So if you are willing to go the extra mile and know about the other nurses, doctors and the members of the administrative staff working there, will look positively on you.
Just make sure you don’t go too far or you’ll be seen as a creep.
Now that we have covered all the basics, lets jump into the questions you will be asked during your interview.
4 Common Nurse Interview Questions
1. Why did you choose to become a nurse?
This isn’t a surprise question per se. It is one of the first things your interviewer will ask so you need to be prepared ahead of time.
The reason why this is one of the first questions is that a career in nursing is such a specialized thing that most employers would be interested in knowing why you decided to become a part of it.
Feel free to get a little personal with your answer about why you decided to go with a nursing career and not something else. Just make sure you don’t go overboard.
Example answer: My mother was a nurse and while growing up, I saw that she loved her job so much. That inspired me to become a registered nurse and follow the footsteps of my mother.
Not only that, it makes me proud to continue my family tradition and I can make a huge difference in people’s lives. That makes it worthwhile for me above everything else.
2. How would you deal with a person who isn’t satisfied with your patient care?
This is a behavioral question and the interviewer is expecting you to provide an example that is as close to that situation as possible. The best answer would be how you responded in that same scenario.
So, just like I mentioned above, feel free to pull examples from your past and highlight your skills and abilities and show them how you would handle that situation. This is your chance to show that you’ve got what it takes to handle situations like that.
Example answer: Nobody likes feeling ill. And when they are ill, it is easy for them to start feeling frustrations and anger. I always strive to do everything I can to provide the best care for a patient. But there are times when either they misunderstand what the doctor might have told them and they would assume that I’m neglecting some of their requests.
I was in a similar situation where the patient complained to my supervisor that I wasn’t providing her proper care. I took a step back and reviewed what I did to see what was going on. Were they upset at what I was doing, and was there something I could do to improve upon the care I’m giving this patient. It turned out that there was a miscommunication between the doctor and the patient. And the patient was expecting me to do something for them, and the doctor has strict orders not to do that.
In situations where I can’t resolve a situation for a patient, I take steps to find the people who can. Of course there are situations where even when you do everything you can to resolve a situation, they still aren’t happy. In those cases, I do my best and make sure that I’m not compromising with the patient care.
I believe that there is no such thing as a difficult patient. There are only difficult situations that are sometimes tricky to solve but if you are willing to solve it, your patient will thank you for it.
3. What are your biggest strengths as a nurse?
This is the best nursing interview question for you. This question gives you the chance to showcase what sets you apart from all the other candidates that are in line for an interview.
So make sure you think about this and come up with an interesting and exciting response.
You don’t want to give a generic answer like “I provide the highest quality patient care and I’m proud to be in the healthcare profession and making a difference in people’s lives.”
That’s what every else will say. Make sure you come up with a personal story, maybe a life experience that you’ll never forget. Let the interviewer know why you have a passion for nursing and why it energizes you to be in this place right now, sitting in an interview because this is your highest calling.
Talk about your core values as a nurse and how you are always ready to rise to a challenge and find a solution for a patient.
And if the interviewer lets you keep going, talk about your problem solving skills (don’t forget to give concrete examples of this so they can imagine how you’d perform within their company culture).
There are no wrong answers to this question, but you want to make sure that you put some emotion behind this answer. The interviewer should feel how passionate you are about being in the medical field and that you’ll go above and beyond in providing quality care to their patients.
4. Why are you the best candidate for this nursing position?
This is another great question where you can shine. But remember, you want to make sure that you are only giving examples and scenarios in which their organization would immensly benefit by hiring you as a nurse.
Example answer: After looking at your job requirements, I have to say, I not only tick all the boxes, I am the perfect candidate for this job. I understand the company culture and how the medical staff likes to work. In fact, I’ve actually taken the time to talk with some of them and get to know each other so I can be a familiar face once you hire me. Not only that, because my mother was also a nurse, I actually bring a lot of passion and dedication to this job. I want to continue my family legacy and also want to make a huge difference in every patients life.