You spent years pursuing your nursing degree and qualifications, daydreaming about beginning your career. You polished and revised your resume and cover letter until they practically glimmered on the page. Possible employers have seen your potential, and you have been invited in for a face-to-face interview. This is the final threshold. Make the right impression and you may find yourself on the job in a matter of weeks.
You will likely be asked many general interview questions, such as "Why should we hire you?" and "What are your weaknesses?" While these are important to prepare for, you should also expect a number of nursing-specific questions. Strategic preparation for both sets is often the factor that separates those who receive a job offer from other candidates. Read on to learn more about common Registered Nurse RN interview questions and examples of potential answers that will allow you to display your value to your interviewer.
5 Registered Nurse RN Interview Questions & Answers
1. What made you choose nursing as a career?
I grew up caring for my older sister, who has cerebral palsy. I witnessed the incredible difference that compassionate and knowledgeable nurses made in her life, especially during her many periods of hospitalization. I know many would have felt burdened in my position, and it certainly wasn't always easy. However, my sister was my best friend, and it was an honor to be with her to the end. She inspired me to become a registered nurse RN, and I haven't looked back since.
2. What do you find most rewarding about nursing?
I have been fortunate to have found myself surrounded by talented, confident and passionate lead nurses and colleagues during my internship. Being a part of a high-performing team like that challenges you to learn and grow. So many of their good qualities were contagious, I have grown immensely as a result of working in that team environment and look forward to working again with a team that shares my passion for healthcare and patient advocacy.
3. How do you keep up with the latest medical developments?
I know that the field is constantly evolving and at times it is difficult to keep up with every new development. It certainly helps that I have so much passion for what I do; reading and researching new developments is something I would do in my off time regardless of my career decisions. I am a member of the American Academy of Nursing and recently attended a week-long conference. I also subscribe to several medical journals. As a nursing student I organized and ran a study group for several years which is still in operation. I am still connected to several former members and we often discuss the latest industry developments among ourselves.
4. Describe a time you were able to diffuse an emotional event.
I have been told I have a calming presence. Even in emergency situations, I have learned to find my center before addressing a situation. When I am able to breathe and slow down, I find that the people around me are able to do the same. While I was working as a resident advisor at my university, I was summoned to a student's room around two in the morning. She had locked herself in her roommate's room after saying that she had taken a number of pills and wanted to hurt herself. Her roommate was frantic. I could see that the panicky roommate was only agitating her further, so I directed the roommate to leave the area and call 911 while I spoke with my student. I was able to get her to settle down enough to tell me what she had taken and to ensure she stayed awake until an ambulance arrived and she received care. She was hospitalized for several weeks but entered therapy and was able to return the next term. I went to her graduation a few months ago.
5. What do you find difficult about nursing?
I do struggle with working with patients whose pain or discomfort I can't control. I have worked hard not to become insensitive to my patients, but it does mean that there are cases that still touch me emotionally. I work hard to facilitate communication with the patient as well as the attending physician. I have found that, if I can gain the patient's trust and ease this process as much as possible, we are often able to find solutions.