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Commonly Asked Nursing Interview Questions

Whether you are a seasoned nurse or a recent graduate, the job interview is the most important part of your search for a good nursing job.

To get ready for your interview you need to gather relevant documents and prepare answers to common nursing interview questions.

When you've prepared your answers, you will appear more relaxed and confident during the interview and are less likely to forget important points.

Luckily, you can anticipate many of the job interview questions the interview team will ask you. They fall into two broad categories:

  1. factual questions about your education, skills and experience, and
  2. open-ended questions that require examples of how you have applied your skills, such as the following:

Popular Nursing Interview Questions

  • Describe a situation where the treatment you administered did not have the expected result. What did you do to remedy the problem? What happened as a result? What did you learn from the experience?

When you describe the situation and answer the questions, talk about the nursing skills you used. Include how you have applied (or will apply) what you learned in the workplace.

  • What do you like most/least about nursing?

Whatever you say, don't say that you like everything about nursing, because your interviewers will know it's a lie. Everyone has aspects of a job they don't like, but if you don't like caring for people you are probably in the wrong business. Talk about how you deal with the parts of the job you do not like. Elements of nursing administration might be one.

  • Describe a situation in which you had a conflict with a doctor. How did you resolve the conflict? What did you learn from the experience?

Never say anything negative about a doctor (or patient or coworker - anyone really). It only reflects badly on you. Talk about how you have applied what you learned.

  • Describe a situation in which you worked as part of a team in an emergency.

Highlight your skills as a team player and your cool-headedness under pressure.

  • What will you contribute to this organization?

Answers will be different for recent nursing school grads than for experienced nurses. A recent grad brings enthusiasm, education, openness to learning, passion for caring, etc. If you have been a nurse for a while, you bring years of experience, perhaps leadership skills, etc. Be specific about the exceptional skills that will make you an asset to the institution.

Questions To Ask

If you do research on the institution and the position, you can ask informed questions that will show your interviewers your commitment and enthusiasm. Prepare three or four questions in advance. It's okay to refer to a piece of paper where your questions are written. Here are a few examples:

  • What opportunities do nurses have for professional development?
  • How will the hospital's expansion project affect nurse-to-patient ratio?
  • How is the hospital addressing the current nursing shortage?
  • Are nurses encouraged to give input on equipment, care, systems, and staffing?
  • How do you evaluate the performance of nurses?

What About General Interview Questions?

As well as specific nursing interview questions, your interviewers are likely to ask some general questions. If you'd like to be prepared for these too, check out these 38 sample interview questions before leaving.

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