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How to Answer Nursing Interview Questions

You got this!

Being prepared for interview questions is essential. Nursing interview questions can be very specific and different from other careers. For nurses, it’s difficult to find nursing specific content online to help you practice. So, I’m here to help assist you with sample questions and tips so you can be successful in your next interview. 

Tips for answering interview questions:

-Each answer should have a beginning, middle, and end.

-Always end each question with something positive.

-Silence is OK. Feel free to pause and think about your answer. Don’t rush.

-Provide specific examples in your responses.

-Be prepared for specific questions relating to the unit you are applying for (ie. oncology, pediatrics, OB, surgery, ER, etc.).

-Keep your answers short and sweet. Think quality, not quantity.

-Practice, practice, practice but don’t memorize your responses. You don’t want to sound over rehearsed.

-Say keywords in your responses. Some examples are:

Teamwork

Efficient

Effective

Safe

Quality

Culturally-competent

Patient satisfaction

Examples of interview questions:

Tell me about yourself

Let your personality shine when answering this question. Use this question to get comfortable with the person(s) interviewing you. Try not to over think your answer. Respond with things that pertain directly to the position you are applying for. Don’t share your whole life story. Summarize important parts of your life and career that got you where you are today.

What made you choose the nursing profession?

We all have a reason why we entered the nursing profession so share it. Depending on your life experiences, your response may be very personal and emotional and that’s ok. Be honest and open but keep it brief.

What made you interested in this department?

Share a specific reason why you applied for the department. Don’t just say, “it seems interesting.” There must have been a reason that gravitated you to the position and made you click “apply.”  So, share it!

Describe a time when you disagreed with a co-worker. How was the issue resolved?

Questions like this are used to assess how you handle difficult situations. Even though the co-worker may have been wrong in the situation, don’t make them look like the bad person. Respond with a time when a disagreement turned into a positive learning opportunity.

Explain a time when you went above and beyond for a patient?

Describe how your care stands out from basic nursing responsibilities. Be sure to mention and tie in patient satisfaction to your response. Provide a specific example.

Collaboration is key in healthcare. Explain a time when you collaborated with others. What was the situation and outcome?

Working in the hospital setting, it’s important that the numerous individuals and teams work together. Think back to when you led and encouraged collaboration between others to provide the best care.

Mistakes happen. Explain a time when you made an error and how did you handle it?

It’s ok. We are normal and mistakes happen. Share one of your mistakes that you learned the most from and how you’re preventing it from happening again.

Here, we inspire innovation. Describe a time when you had to be innovative?

Nursing sometimes requires improvisation so share a time when you had to think outside the box. Think of a time when you created something or made a suggestion that improved efficiency on your unit.

What is your greatest strength?

Mention something that has direct impact on nursing and patient care. Answer with confidence and give a specific example of your strength in action. Some examples are: organized, collaborative, innovative, skilled communicator, etc.

What is your greatest weakness?

This must be the most searched interview question. Try not to mention the word weakness when answering. Reply with something that doesn’t directly impact patient care or safety. For example, mention something like group presentations or public speaking. State that you are also working on improving the particular skill.

I hope these tips help in your next interview! You got this!!!

In addition to practicing interview questions, make a portfolio to present during your interview. Click the link below:

Every Nurse Should Have This One Item

Written by Nurse Blake

Blake is a registered nurse and received his BSN from the University of Central Florida. He has worked in a number of healthcare roles throughout his career and has managed several injury prevention programs and started Banned4Life, which ended an outdated FDA blood donor policy. Today, Blake is an advocate for nurses and patients and encourages a healthy work environment. He is a writer, public speaker, and has been a paid contributor to the New York Times.

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