Top Nurse Manager Interview Questions and Answers

a picture of business professionals interviewing for a Nurse Manager role and conducting an interview

Here are nurse manager interview questions and answers. Employers use interviews to get a feel of your personality and qualifications to see if you're a good fit for the job they're looking for. It would help if you examined interview questions they are likely to ask you and rehearse your responses before meeting face-to-face with your interviewer to help you feel prepared and confident during the interview.

nurse manager interview questions

What is a nurse manager?

In a hospital or clinical environment, nurse managers are in charge of managing nursing personnel. They are in charge of patient care, management, and budgeting, setting work schedules, coordinating meetings, and making personnel choices.

Nurse supervisors must be able to communicate effectively and lead others. They should be able to coordinate resources and staff and achieve goals and objectives. They must be capable leaders who can find a balance between working with the nursing staff and the management of the healthcare institution.

nurse manager interview questions

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is a United States Department of Health and Human Services division. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, nurse managers are change agents.

The nurse manager position will collaborate with staff to identify and execute improvements to improve patient health and safety. Nurse supervisors also follow state and federal regulatory criteria for patient safety, such as those established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Joint Commission, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are involved. They must ensure that their employees are well-informed about care standards and put them into practice when necessary.

Nurse manager qualifying interview questions.

These questions can assist an interviewer to get a sense of your personality and interest in the role of nurse manager:

nurse manager interview questions

  • What influence do your talents and shortcomings have on your career?
  • Tell me about a moment when you failed. What steps did you take to cope with this situation?
  • Would you be willing to assist with nursing duties as needed?
  • What characteristics distinguish an outstanding nurse?
  • Why did you decide to pursue a profession as a nurse?
  • Do you have any experience dealing with physicians or other nurses?
  • Why are you interested in working for this medical facility?
  • Can you tell me the general nursing responsibilities you expect to handle?
  • What qualities do you possess that make you the best fit for this nursing position?
  • What qualities do you look for in a leader?
  • What are your questions for us?
  • What are your nursing or management skills?

Questions concerning the nurse manager's background and experience

Here are some experience and background questions that can assist your interviewer to assess your experience and credentials for the job:

  • What has been the most challenging task you've faced at work? How did you get through it?
  • How many people have you been in charge of? What method did you use to keep them organized?
  • Have you ever had to say goodbye to a nurse? What strategy did you employ?
  • Describe your managerial style in a few words.
  • How do you maintain track of your patients' medical records?
  • What do you think the most important quality of a nurse manager is?
  • In the past, how did you inspire your team?
  • Discuss a period when you worked in a fast-paced environment. What methods do you use to prioritize duties while still providing outstanding patient care?
  • Are you a member of any professional organizations?
  • In what ways do you make a difference in a patient's life?

nurse manager interview questions

In-depth nurse manager interview questions

As a nurse manager, these questions can assist your interviewer in understanding your management style and how you deal with patients:

  • What would you do if your nurse refused to listen to you?
  • What would you do if one of your nurses failed to meet expectations?
  • What would you do if a patient complained about a nurse providing care to them?
  • What level of oversight would you provide your employees?
  • What would you do if a doctor disagreed with your opinion?
  • What do you want to gain from working as a nurse manager?
  • Tell me about a disagreement between members of your healthcare team. What was the source of the conflict, and how did you resolve it?
  • What would you do if you had two employees that never got along?
  • Describe a moment when you foresaw possible difficulties with a patient and took proactive steps to avoid them.
  • Have you ever had to work in a position where you needed to boost staff retention? What actions did you take?

Questions and answers for a nurse interview

Here are some example nurse manager interview questions and answers and suggestions on how to respond to each one. Remember that the interviewer is looking for clarity in your replies and your general approachability.

nurse manager interview questions

  • What strategies do you employ in the event of an emergency? Give a specific example.
  • What has been your best nursing achievement?
  • Is it more vital to have nursing skills or managerial skills? Explain.
  • How do you cope with a grumpy patient?
  • What would you do if you witnessed someone dispensing incorrect medicine or failing to wash their hands?

What strategies do you employ in the event of an emergency? Give a specific example.

Emergency events and crises are widespread in the healthcare industry. The interviewer wants to make sure you can deal with stress and have dealt with it in the past without panicking. 

To adequately describe what happened, what you did, and the outcome, try utilizing a structured answer.

Example

"In emergency circumstances, I maintain a calm and proactive demeanor while adhering to the proper process. On the floor where I worked, for example, two patients went into code blue at the exact moment. 

I quickly assigned one set of nurses to one patient while I cared for the other with the assistance of two other nurses. Both patients got saved after we rushed through the essential processes."

nurse manager interview questions

What has been your best nursing achievement?

This is a personal question that an interviewer may ask to learn more about your nursing interest. 

Choose a scenario in which you utilized your abilities to improve patient care or a time when you assisted another nurse in reaching their full potential.

Example

"When I was short-staffed on one of my first nights as a head nurse, I was able to encourage my nursing team, which was my greatest triumph as a nurse. We had a couple of deteriorating patients, and my staff's morale began to dwindle. 

To keep the patients comfortable, I gave them specific instructions and demonstrated proper bedside manner. 

We were able to provide exceptional patient care that night, and with our collaboration and optimistic mindsets, we were able to stabilize all of the patients."

Is it more vital to have nursing or managerial skills? Explain.

The interviewer is trying to figure out what your major emphasis is in your job. The best approach to respond to this question is to be open and honest about your feelings and explain why you chose nursing or managerial skills. 

As a nurse manager, you'll need both of these abilities.

Example

"As a nursing manager, I feel that management abilities combined with nursing expertise are most crucial. 

If I can't properly manage my staff, probably, they won't be able to put their nursing abilities to good use. I try my best to support, instruct, and arrange my team's work schedules to provide the best possible patient care."

nurse manager interview questions

How do you cope with a grumpy patient?

Most healthcare organizations place a high priority on patient care. Before they decide to hire you, they need to know that you interact with patients properly. The easiest approach to respond to this question is to offer a real-life example of a patient who has been unhappy in the past.

Example

"I listen to a patient who is agitated before responding with compassion and patience. 

I'm aware that when people are in pain or uncomfortable due to their drugs, they frequently become agitated or frustrated. It is my responsibility to ensure that they are well cared for, and I encourage them to express any concerns they may have about their care to me to address them as soon as possible. For example, I once had a patient dissatisfied with his assigned nurse because she didn't change his bed every hour to assist him in managing his pain. 

I got brought into the hospital room, where he expressed his displeasure vehemently, but I kept calm and devised a method to assist him with his situation."

nurse manager interview questions

What would you do if you witnessed someone dispensing incorrect medicine or failing to wash their hands?

If an interviewer asks you this question, what they truly want to know is if you're willing to do or say something. Nursing is primarily concerned with patient safety, and you must get prepared to confront your coworkers or employees if they are providing poor patient care. 

This demonstrates your capacity to provide feedback as well as your teamwork skills. 

Respond calmly to this question and describe what actions you would take to ensure that this individual received adequate treatment.

Example

"If I spotted someone giving a patient the wrong prescription, I would challenge them and explain why it is so crucial to pay attention to the metrics on their chart. I'd also reprimand them under the norms of the healthcare facility. I'd pull someone aside and have a conversation with them about the importance of protecting patients from germs and pathogens if I noticed them not washing their hands. 

nurse manager interview questions

I'd keep a close eye on the nurses who made these mistakes for the next month to make sure they followed all laws and regulations."

How do you prepare for a nursing manager job interview?

Here's how to prepare for a nursing manager interview:

  • Review the nurse manager job description in detail.
  • Speak about your skills.
  • Talk about the qualities that make you a great nurse manager.
  • Prepare prior job experiences as a registered nurse.
  • Prepare to speak about your management skills.
  • Explain how you enjoy maintaining excellent patient care.
  • Review sample answers to common nurse manager interview questions.
  • Ask questions about the next nurse manager interview.
  • Display your management skills, problem-solving skills, and communication skills.
  • Prepare stories that explain how you prioritize tasks and lead nurses.

Why should we hire you as a nurse manager?

"You should hire me for this post because of my proven ability to establish good interpersonal ties with multiple customers," you can say if you're a nurse manager.

"I'm enthusiastic about helping individuals in my community who are in need, which keeps me motivated and thrilled to produce my best job."

nurse manager interview questions

Preparation Resources

The best job interview preparation resources.

free interview question and answer full guide

Interview Question and Answer Guide (PDF)

Download our full interview preparation guide. Complete with common interview questions and example answers. Free download. No email required.

Download PDF
author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

Fact checked: Our small and dedicated team rigorously evaluates every article, guide, and reference to ensure the information is accurate and factual. Learn more.

Share

Help us by spreading the word