You’ve nailed the initial nursing interview process, and now you’re about to appear for a personal nursing interview – congratulations on your success so far! Check out our free courses to get an edge over the competition.
“Save one life, you are a hero. Save a hundred lives, you are a nurse.” This is the respect of the nursing profession. They are important not only for their technical skills but also for their social-emotional skills. As they have the ability to build a connection with the patients, which helps them to collaborate with both the patients and the doctors.
After all, it takes a lot to be a competent nurse. You must be resilient, patient, empathetic, compassionate, organized, and skilled enough to deliver quality care and treatment to patients. The job comes with its unique challenges and rewards. It’s not easy seeing people in their worst state and keeping a calm mind and steady hands. However, if you are 100% sure that nursing is your calling, you will make an excellent nurse!
Once you’ve cleared nursing training and exams, it’s time to up your game and bag that nursing job you’ve been aspiring for. Nursing interviews are a tough nut to crack, but not impossible. Usually, nursing interviews test specific skills and domain knowledge of candidates, covering important areas like patient care, patient education, crisis management, clinical decision making, and professional behavior, among other things. You can also consider doing our Management Essentials Bootcamp if you are interested.
We know it’s a lot to take in, but worry not! This comprehensive list of nursing interview questions and answers will help you understand the tricks of the trade and what you need to ace your interview!
Nursing Interview Questions & Answers
Nursing interviews can be tricky since there’s no textbook standard – most questions seek to draw answers and experiences from real life. This article will provide you with information on the clinical nursing questions and answers to be used in an interview.
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Thus, it is an absolute necessity for you to be honest in your answers. You must read the job description thoroughly, understand the requirements, and find out if you’re a good fit for that particular role.
Brush up on your domain knowledge and practical skills, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and research the organization/institute you’re interviewing for. Learn about their approach, techniques and management style, and familiarize yourself with the core faces of the interviewing team (Hiring Manager, Nursing Manager/Director, Doctors, etc.). Don’t forget to prepare a decent introduction for yourself, the reason you chose this profession, your ability to take the pressure, etc. As these also would come handy for staff nurse interview questions and answers.
Now that you know the basic tips of on how to prepare for some student nursing interview questions and answers, let’s get straight to the topic at hand – nursing interview questions.
1. Why Do You Want to Enter this Field?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions in nursing interviews. The key to answering this question is to highlight your “passion’ for nursing. What hiring managers wish to find in a candidate is their passion for caring, treating, and giving patients a better life.
While answering, state what first inspired you to choose nursing as a profession. Talk about the things that excite you about being a nurse, taking care of patients, what you love the most about the job, and how you wish to make a positive impact on the lives of other people. If you have any relevant personal experience, make sure to include it in your answer.
As easy as this sounds, you need to make sure while giving nursing interview questions and answers that only content does not matter, you need to make sure you that you mean what you say. To make it happen, the experiences and the reasons should be honest, otherwise they would look superficial.
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2. Do you think nursing is a rewarding career? If so, what according to you is its most rewarding aspect?
Nursing is a highly rewarding career. It is a respectable profession with a decent paycheck. Every day, nurses get numerous opportunities to save lives and help people in need. Plus, they enjoy retirement benefits and other perks. However, while answering this question, always stress the most rewarding aspect of the job – helping people.
You could say something like this:
“For me, there’s no greater feeling than seeing people improve, recover, and go back home to their loved ones. I love to help people and offer them the necessary treatment and emotional support every day. The fact that I know I’m making a positive difference in someone else’s life is what makes my days fruitful and meaningful.”
While answering these nursing interview questions, you also need to make sure to include a balance in your answers. Include the noble reasons but also the practicality. In addition to what has already been mentioned, you could also include saying that nursing is a profession that has applicability of skillsets worldwide, for the same reason nurses can make their careers in any part of the world. Condition being, certain extra exam clearances should be done. This will reflect confidence and vision in your answers.
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3. Tell me Something About your Strengths and Weaknesses.
As we mentioned before, you need to have a clear idea of your biggest strengths and weaknesses. However, while answering this question, always make sure to highlight your strengths – do not put too much focus on your weaknesses. Be honest about yourself.
Your answer can be:
“I consider my biggest strengths to be my passion for helping people, compassion, patience, and meticulous attention to detail. My people skills are also commendable. I can talk to patients, listen to their fears, and offer emotional support whenever they require. I make sure to let them know that they’re not alone. I can manage my work pretty well as I like to stay as organized as my schedule allows.
As for my biggest weakness, I tend to spiral and get nervous when I can’t complete a task when I’m supposed to. Sometimes I also get a little too harsh on myself if I fail. It stresses me out. But that’s something I’m trying to work on.”
The strategy to tackle staff nurse interview questions and answers is to focus on those strengths which are relevant to the job. Focus on your both soft and hard skills. Do not become too idealistic but shed some light on both. And while answering the weakness questions do not downgrade your skillsets rather mention that you get too much into getting the job done or you are very particular about so and so things. The essence to answer for weaknesses would be to mention your strengths but not in a negative manner as shown above.
4. How Do you Propose to Manage a Crisis?
Like any other profession, crisis management is an integral part of nursing. After all, nurses have to deal with sensitive and emergency cases daily. They need to work fast and efficiently to cater to multiple patients within a certain period.
Also, they work under immense pressure in their day-to-day routine, making their jobs all the more challenging. By asking this question, the interviewer wants to know whether or not you can handle stress, and if you’ve had such experiences before.
Frame your answer like so:
“If there’s a crisis at work, first I will try to understand the situation and identify whether it’s something that I can handle or it largely concerns the senior management. If it is under my jurisdiction, I will evaluate the resources available to me and design an action plan to effectively deal with the situation.
I will take the help of my colleagues and try to take care of the situation. However, if the matter concerns the senior management, I will escalate the issue to the appropriate person(s).”
You can also include your practical experiences of dealing with crises and stressful situations at the workplace if you have had any.
A decent way to tackle nursing interview questions and answers would be to focus on problem-solving skills. As the interviewer is assessing your ability to manage a crisis at hand. In addition, to what has already been mentioned, you should focus on bringing your past experience as to how you solved a problem previously. If you are an experienced person, then you can seek answers from previous jobs. And if you’re a fresher then you could seek experience from your college days, internships, or any real-life instance.
5. How Do you Plan to Handle the Stress of the Job?
It is a known fact that nursing is an extremely taxing job, both physically and emotionally. This question enables the interviewer to assess whether you have a good work-life balance plan. Since the job is so stressful, it is essential to develop a coping mechanism for your physical and emotional wellbeing.
This question has no correct answer – it completely depends upon your approach to stress management. Talk about how you deal with stressful situations – whether you get nervous or you can remain calm and composed. You can mention the hobbies that help you unwind after a long and tiring day at work.
It could be anything, listening to music, exercising, meditating, baking/cooking, spending time with your family or pets, watching movies, – basically, anything that helps you to relax.
Now while approaching these staff nurse interview questions and answers, including the way to manage stress both on and off work. Your interviewer is judging your ability to handle stress both during working and non-working hours. So mention how you would deal with stress at work, you could mention that you could speak to colleagues, have a coffee break to yourself, or take a walk.
6. Do you Get Along Well With Other Staff Members?
This question is directed towards your team-spirit and team-playing skills. Since nursing is a collaborative field, nurses need to function optimally both individually and as a part of a team. They work with doctors, lab technicians, and other nurses regularly.
You could draw on your experience of working with other nurses, doctors, patients, etc., to show your team-playing skills. Talk about how you like being a part of the team, collaborating with other people, and learning new things from them. Also, make sure to put forth that you are equally comfortable working alone. And if you are a fresher then you could draw experiences from college, internship, or any other personal experience.
7. What, according to you, is the hardest aspect of this job?
This is a tricky question. While the interviewer wants to know about your personal challenges, you should keep in mind to never talk about how much you hate odd working hours, extra shifts, and so on.
Instead, talk about how difficult it is to see others in pain and knowing that there’s nothing more left to do in certain cases. Tell them how hard it is for you to see people say goodbye to their loved ones and watch people wither away before you.
While answering these nursing interview questions, make sure to make mention both the sides, successful and unsuccessful. That how after a successful recovery you see patients going back with their families give you happiness but because a good bond with them it leaves a void. And after the unsuccessful journey, when someone loses thier life, you feel helpless.
The bottom line – do not dwell on your personal hardships but more on the challenges of the daily job.
8. Why do you think you are the best candidate for this role?
The main key crack these nursing interview questions is to highlight what you bring into the role which is unique to you. Along with the mention of the generic points, also make a mention of how you are constantly upskilling yourself, read case studies and books to better at your job, and your past experiences of handling critical situations. This question aims to find out if you know the ins and outs of the job and whether you are ready to take on responsibility. Remember to frame your answer by drawing on your strengths and expertise.
You could say:
“I have a strong drive for nursing and so far in my career, I have proven myself to be competent enough to take on the challenges of this profession. The fact that I get to help people every day is what encourages me to come to work day after day. It is the motivating force that pushes me to become a better professional.
I try very hard to stay updated with the latest trends in the healthcare industry. I view the challenges of my job as a learning curve and I sincerely believe that it has helped me learn and grow as a professional. Lastly, I believe that I have all the qualifications and requisite skills to take on this role.”
9. Tell us about how you plan to deal with a patient who’s not satisfied with your patient care.
This is a perfect behavioral question to understand how well you can handle crises. Negative patient reviews can destroy the public image of a healthcare institution, and hence, it is crucial to perform adequate damage control in such situations.
While handling this set of questions, keep a rational approach and not an extremist one. Include how you would do the analysis of the situation by first understanding the cause of the problem from the patient/ family. Always mention a plan of action as to how you would plan to solve the situation. Also be empathetic, that you understand the pain of the patient/family the pain could also be a factor behind the emotions.
You can talk about experiences that highlight your problem-solving and people skills. If you haven’t had any such experience, you can build on a hypothetical situation and draft your answer.
Frame your answer as follows:
“If a patient or family members of the patient are not completely satisfied with my care delivery approach, I would have a heart-to-heart with them. I would try to understand their frustrations and complaints and do everything in my power to solve the issue. If necessary, I will take the help of senior management and cater to the demands of the patient.”
10. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
This is a straightforward question. Interviewers usually ask this to learn about the plans and ambitions of candidates. While answering this question, make sure to let them know that you’re serious about this job and you really want it. Don’t convey the message that this is just a temporary employment prospect for you.
The best strategy to handle this question would not only mention the vision but also the action plan to achieve it. As this would shed a light on that how much you mean what you say.
You could say something like this:
“In five years, I wish to see myself as a core part of the nursing management team. And for that, I’m prepared to continue my education so that I can upskill for senior-level roles. I plan to take professional certifications/training programs to upgrade my knowledge base and skillset. I hope your institution will offer me ample space and opportunity to grow and improve as a professional nurse.”
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This article must have provided with you a good perspective for clinical nurse interview questions and answers. The first step to starting your nursing career is to enroll in a proper training program or course that teaches you the fundamentals of nursing. Without proper training and credible certifications, it’s not possible to enter this field that requires expert subject knowledge and real-world nursing skills.
What are the 6 C’s in nursing?
The 6 C’s are the values and they stand for- Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage, Commitment.
How do you introduce yourself in a nursing interview?
While introducing yourself in a nursing interview, make a mention of your alma mater followed by your academic achievements and work experience. Also, make mention of your hard and soft skills. Finish off with the reason as to why you chose this profession.
Why do you choose nursing?
I am a driven person and wanted to do something which serves a cause to channelise that I have chosen this profession. I have chosen this profession because I could make an impact into people’s lives. I can touch many lives by giving care, affection, and compassion. And by doing this I get personal gratification.
How do you handle stress and pressure?
While answering this question, make mention of how you would handle the stress on the job b seeking your colleagues. And how you would handle stress outside of work, the kind of activities you would mention that you have layers to yourself. Be honest, so that you are able to answer any follow-up questions.
What mistakes have you made as a nurse?
This question should be approached in a way that does not show you are careless. Include a real-life case followed by an action plan you followed to achieve that. You could mention how you got emotionally invested in a patient, and you have worked on establishing a balance. Or when you started out as a nurse, you found it difficult to handle multiple tasks but you have worked on this and now are handling so and so things simultaneously.
What was the most difficult decision you had to make?
You could mention any anecdote from the past experience, but be sure to not appear as an indecisive and unsure person. Mention the situation which required you to make the decision and follow u with the reason, process, and impact of that decision.
Why do you want this job?
Be confident and have a strong reason which is unique to you. You could mention of how your past experiences have shaped you as a person and for the same reason, you are in this industry. Include your skillsets, work experiences, and how you invest time in your upskilling. You should appear as a person with a cause in order to ace this question.