How to Answer the 10 Most Common Nursing Interview Questions

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While interviews for nursing professions share some similarities with interviews for other positions, they are largely unique to a healthcare setting. HR representatives in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other health facilities need to explore your performance under pressure, your sensitivity to patient needs, your communication skills, time management, and willingness to work overtime, and much more.

As a nursing professional, you may have already experienced this situation, or you may be new to nursing and could use some help preparing. While practicing with a friend can go a long way, be sure to explore our mock interview services, through which a professional job coach will provide you with objective assistance and feedback.

Part of your preparation for your nursing interview should include research on the facility, as well as some personal introspection about your skills, abilities, and commitment to the profession. To help get you started, here are ten of the most common nursing interview questions as well as some tips on how to answer them.

1. What motivated or inspired you to choose nursing as a career?

There are countless stories behind why people enter the medical care field. Your story is unique, so talk about a time when you volunteered or how a family member who was or is a nurse inspired you. If you’re from a long line of healthcare providers, talk about your family history.

2. Why do you want to leave your current position?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to move forward in the healthcare field, so make sure you’re honest in your reply. You might talk about changes in your department that led to a lot of turnover, additional stress, mandatory overtime, or wage freezes. Changes in your personal and family life could have led to your decision to leave. If your family demands have increased, don’t be afraid to talk about that. Of course, in this ever-changing field, you could be seeking new frontiers.

3. How well do you communicate with patients and families?

Have a few situations ready to talk about. Be specific in how you handled a particularly challenging time with a patient and family members and how you calmed and reassured those involved.

4. How do you handle conflict within your healthcare team?

Working in fast-paced, demanding conditions is bound to produce conflict. Some issues just work themselves out over time, but respond to this nursing interview question with a story about a personal conflict and how you resolved it proactively by communicating with the other party.

5. What strategies do you use to prioritize tasks?

The intent of this nursing interview question is usually to learn more about how well you multitask, which is almost mandatory in the nursing profession. Provide an example of a particularly hectic day when you had to make several snap judgments and prioritize tasks based on your experience and training. Give some detail regarding how you made those judgments.

6. Can you name a time when you went over and above the call of duty?

You have probably gone out of your way on several occasions. Choose an instance that demonstrates your passion and dedication to the healthcare profession. Provide some detail on how you took extra steps to benefit a patient in some way.

7. What do you consider your strengths and your weaknesses?

When replying to this nursing interview question, first talk about a couple of verifiable strengths, such as ones a current or former coworker or supervisor would mention. Provide an anecdote about how you used a particular strength to solve a problem at work or how you were recognized for your strength by your peers or supervisor. On the negative side, don’t hide your weaknesses. Talk about a situation where you learned something about yourself and overcame one of them.

8. Can you tell me about a challenging time and how you dealt with it?

This nursing interview question provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate your ability and willingness to take the initiative to overcome stressful situations. Bring up an instance that required a member of the nursing staff to step up and take action and how you were the one to do so using both your wits and your training. Of course, make sure it was a situation that turned out well.

9. What salary are you seeking?

Your research on the healthcare facility will play a major role in your answer to this question. In your response, mention your years of experience and where it lies in the salary range for the position you are seeking, the geographic location, and the type of facility. A large metropolitan hospital, for instance, will likely pay more than a nursing home for the same type of position.

10. Can you tell us why we should hire you over the other applicants?

Your response to this nursing interview question is where you can bring it all home. Put all your formal education, other training, experience, dedication, and passion into a single, hard-hitting statement that shows you’re the best fit for the position. You can also add something extra, such as, “I continually stay abreast of healthcare trends, technology, and continuing education.” You could also mention the professional organizations you belong to.

Throughout your interview, relax and remain poised and professional. The interviewer or panel will be making note of many details about your appearance, voice, diction, and several other factors. You’ll be asked more nursing interview questions than we can list here.

If you feel confident in your abilities but are still a bit uneasy about how you might come across in an interview, you can receive professional feedback through our mock interview services. In the meantime, we wish you success in your career pursuits!

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