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!
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 keep 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.
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.
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 about the organization/institute you’re interviewing for. Learn about their approach, techniques, management style, and familiarize yourself with the core faces of the interviewing team (Hiring Manager, Nursing Manager/Director, Doctors, etc.).
Now that you know the basic tips of how to prepare for a nursing interview, 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.
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 t 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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
While answering this question, 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.
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.
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?
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.
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. f 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.
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.”
Kickstart Your Nursing Career With upGrad
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.
upGrad has partnered with the University of Essex Online to create and deliver three outstanding nursing courses. Aspirants get the choice of choosing from both short and long-term nursing courses. Each program is designed to impart extensive knowledge of nursing concepts and help students develop industry-relevant skills.
The courses include:
MSc in Nursing (2 Years)
This is a standard master’s course that will help you learn the basics of nursing and care delivery. The best part is that you get to customize your course by choosing the modules according to your career objectives. By the end of the course, you will acquire essential nursing skills and expertise.
PG Diploma in Nursing (16 Months)
This diploma program will not only teach you everything about nursing, but you will also learn in-depth about nursing management which is mandatory for senior-level nursing profiles.
PG Certificate in Nursing (8 Months)
This short-term certificate course covers core nursing concepts and techniques while encouraging learners to develop practical skills like crisis management, time management, communication, attention to detail, etc. In this course also you can choose the learning modules according to your preferred interest areas.
We hope this helps you to better prepare for your nursing interview!