How to Answer the 9 Most Common Interview Questions for Nurses

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Looking for a job in the nursing field? The first step, of course, is to set yourself apart with a superb resume crafted by a seasoned professional resume writer. Then come your interviews! Landing an interview is exciting but incredibly nerve-wracking. Nursing is a tough job, and so too is successfully answering difficult interview questions for nurses.

In this article, we outline nine common job interview questions for nurses and offer tips for answering them. Some of these are general interview questions, but we’ve given nursing-specific advice on the answers.

1. What attracted you to the nursing field?

Many nurses answer this interview question by saying that they just want to help people. That’s all well and good, and it may well be true, but it’s too plain and cliché. Why do you want to be a nurse? Reflect on your motivation before the interview and come up with solid reasons to justify your career choice in nursing. Offer personal details for your reasons if relevant, but be careful not to let your answer get too long.

2. What is rewarding about nursing for you?

When interviewers ask nurses this job interview question, they’re asking about mental or spiritual rewards rather than material ones, so talking about a high paycheck is not appropriate. Answers about the location or benefits tied to the job are also not relevant to this question. Talk about what you really love about the job, citing examples of heartwarming moments helping patients or their families. Your actions need not have been life-saving—even a small gesture that meant a lot to a patient will do. If you haven’t had professional experience, you can try to cite a relevant example from your personal life.

3. Why would you like a job at this particular hospital?

Obviously, a big reason you’re applying for the job is the money, but that’s a given. All jobs offer paychecks, so focus on why you’d prefer this hospital over another one. This interview question for nurses requires some prior research, as the interviewer is trying to see how much you know about the organization you’re applying to. Explain how a position at this hospital would uniquely benefit your career goals in nursing.

4. What can you bring to our nursing team?

Take the opportunity to tell the interviewer all about your unique strengths, skills, talents, experience, and knowledge. What sets you apart from all the other nursing candidates? Have a well-thought-out answer prepared for this question to really highlight your competencies. Offer concrete examples from previous nursing jobs or from your experiences caring for loved ones that support the strengths you list.

5. How do you deal with a dissatisfied patient?

No professional, no matter how skilled, can escape dissatisfied clients. This is especially true in nursing, as patients may be frustrated and angry because of their pain, illnesses, or conditions and could be apt to take out their frustration on their nurses. When interviewers ask this nursing interview question, they aren’t looking for you to tell them you haven’t had conflicts. They’re hoping for an explanation of what you do in conflict situations to resolve the problem, appease the patient, and reduce the occurrence of similar situations in the future.

6. In your opinion, what’s the most difficult part of being a nurse?

This nursing interview question is definitely specific to the field. This can be a tricky question, so make sure you’re tackling it from the right angle. Don’t give answers like “I hate getting up early in the morning” or “I don’t get paid enough,” and avoid negative answers like “I hate my co-workers,” but be honest. This question will require some deep reflection before the interview. Focus on things like how much you hate to see patients in pain. Anything works as long as it’s genuine and demonstrates your passion for nursing and helping patients.

7. Can you work well with other medical professionals?

If your answer to this interview question for nurses isn’t yes, you can forget about landing this position, but how you justify that answer definitely matters. Whatever your interpersonal strengths are, emphasize them here. Are you flexible when changes or problems arise? Can you incorporate others’ feedback, suggestions, and constructive criticism well? Do you help motivate and inspire your fellow nursing staff? Can you de-escalate and amicably resolve interpersonal conflicts? 

Just make sure to keep your answer truthful, as a phone call to your previous supervisor could quickly debunk a false statement.

8. What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership matters in the nursing industry because all nurses are leaders. They may not all lead a team of nursing staff, but they are definitely leaders for their patients, guiding them through a medical journey to their eventual healing (hopefully). Therefore, interviewers ask this interview question to nurses to elicit their opinion toward leadership. Different leadership styles are okay, as long as you’re competent, effective, and take charge to tackle problems. The answer to avoid? That you hand all your problems off to your manager.

9. Do you have any questions for us?

You’ll never have a job interview that doesn’t end with this classic question. It may seem trivial and innocent, but it’s an important one, and you have to have questions. If you don’t ask anything, you’ll come off as unmotivated and disinterested, so make sure to ask questions pertinent to the work, hospital environment, and team and not about the pay, hours, or benefits.

Following our advice on these interview questions for nurses won’t guarantee you your dream nursing job, but it’ll certainly improve your chances. If you want to do even more to boost your interviewing skills, consider practicing with a mock interview. If you’re still struggling to get an interview in the first place, we recommend hiring a professional resume writer to get your resume in shape. Your dream career is ever closer!

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