30+ Common Nursing Interview Questions and Sample Answers [2020]

nursing interview questions

After completing your Registered Nurse program (completed nursing school), passed the NCLEX exam, and received a state RN license to practice in the state, you’ll need to prepare for your nursing interview. Interviewing with a hospital, private practice, or other surgical facilities that require on-staff Registered Nurses is relatively similar.

The interview process may contain interview questions specific to the nurse practitioner role or nursing job you’ve applied to. Then at any point in the nursing interview, your interviewer or hiring manager may ask a behavioral question or behavioral interview questions. These are questions that have you share a stressful situation at work and how you were able to overcome or resolve it.

It may be part of your job interview process to first take a phone interview with the hiring manager, nurse manager, recruiter, or interviewer. You should prepare for all of the following nursing interview questions whether it’s an in-person interview or phone interview.

Nursing Interview Questions

Below are questions that may be asked in a nurse interview. These common interview questions should be studied and as a job candidate, a prepared answer should be studied in advance of the interview.

Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult patient.

Sample answer: I was in nursing school and we were working with patients who needed a high degree of attention. The patient was feeling uncomfortable and started to show aggression. I called in the other nurses and physicians for help, immediately.

Tell me what you found the most interesting while getting your nursing degree.

Sample answer: Learning about anatomy and physiology and how that impacted our patients.

Tell me what you know about our healthcare organization.

Sample answer: It appears you value the patient's care the most. Since you hold your standards to not only every state regulation but being the fastest emergency room wait times.

How would you handle working with the other nursing staff?

Sample answer: I value coordination and communication, but ensuring HIPAA laws are being followed when that happens.

What do you value most in the nursing field?

Sample answer: Simply put, being able to help people!

How would you ensure high-quality patient care?

Sample answer: Ensuring that each person is treated as their own unique self and their own individual.

What would you do if a patient were experiencing discomfort?

Sample answer: Figure out where that discomfort was coming from before administering any narcotics or other drugs.

How do you make sure physicians care for each patient?

Sample answer: As an RN, I see myself as an administrator as well. Coordinating with the physician can help ensure each patient is treated well.

What are some of the most important things to consider in the nursing position?

Sample answer: How not everything can be solved with a drug. We need to look more closely at what’s happening with each patient and treat them individually.

Why are interpersonal skills important in the nursing role?

Sample answer: Because speaking to patients in a way that makes them feel comfortable can be very beneficial.

Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult situation and didn’t have the support of others available.

Sample answer: I was in a difficult situation in my previous job. I was working under a tight deadline but wasn’t able to get a few staff members to contribute their work. Ultimately, what I did was have the deadline extended by using my communication skills. Asking our client for a day or two of more time was easy when I gave them all of the facts.

What are your career goals?

Sample answer: I’d like to become a nurse manager at some point in my career. Or have some experience in the private medical sector.

How would you handle a patient who doesn’t have health care insurance?

Sample answer: Determine if they needed to be treated in an emergency situation. Then from there try to have our accounting department or finance department work with them on what their needs are. If it’s an emergency, we should still treat the patient immediately.

Tell me about your previous job experience and how it relates to nursing.

Sample answer: I had to use my abilities as a communicator and person to address the needs of others. I think that’s how my previous job and this job align.

How would you work with the charge nurse?

Sample answer: Coordination, clear communication, and planning.

What do you want to achieve with your nursing career?

Sample answer: I’d like to be able to have more experience with those who need holistic care.

What appeals to you the most about the travel nursing position versus a regular practical nurse in a hospital setting?

Sample answer: Simply put, I love the idea of being able to help others, when I can.

Why did you pursue the nursing profession?

Sample answer: As a child, I suffered from a lot of ailments. It was the experience of working with a select few great nurses that made me want to pursue this career.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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