5 Common Nursing Interview Questions & Answers

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After excelling in the initial stages of the application process by providing a strong resume and cover letter, you must still prove your worth by acing your interview. While a hiring manager can get a good idea of your strengths and skills on paper, he or she still needs to see how you interact with others, gauge how you may fit in with the team, and determine whether or not you are ultimately a good fit in his or her unit. This is what the interview is for, and if you fail to excel in the interview, you have no hope of landing the job. During the time you spend with the interviewer, you are likely to be asked some general questions, but you should also be prepared to answer more specific questions that can show your knowledge, experience and goals in regards to nursing. To prepare yourself for your interview, review some common nursing interview questions to give yourself the best chance at receiving a quick job offer.

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5 Nursing Interview Questions & Answers

1. Nursing is a high-stress occupation. What will you do to help yourself deal with the pressures of the job?

I have been a nurse for five years now and have learned that you have to deal with the emotions as they come instead of bottling it all up. I make sure that I allow myself time to unwind after each shift, and when I leave the hospital, I try to leave my cases and thoughts and feelings there. When I really focus on having my work life and personal life separate, I find that it not only helps me relax and unwind, it makes me a better nurse.

2. How would you handle a patient who can never seem to be pleased?

I try to approach each situation by placing myself in the patient’s shoes. How would I feel if I was in his or her situation? From there I can gauge whether a patient is truly being difficult. After that I try to use compassion and understanding to help calm the person and relieve the tension that is contributing to his or her temperament. I also attempt to remember that everyone has difficult days. With these perspectives, I generally try to give the patient what he or she needs, ensure the person is taken care of, and give the patient the space desired. In truly difficult cases, I would approach the charge nurse for advice.

3. Would you rather work as a team or alone?

I am happy to work as a member of a team or alone. It really depends on the needs of the department at the time. I often find myself happily working as part of a group effort to give patients the care they need. But I also really enjoy the autonomy of being able to work alone, and the satisfaction of knowing that I can work alone competently, even in more difficult circumstances.

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4. What would you do if a patient came in complaining of severe back pain but had recently been to two other hospitals for the same condition?

This scenario instantly throws up a red flag for someone who may be drug dependent and in search of a new prescription. Initially, I would assess the patient and make sure he or she is as comfortable as possible. After that, I would notify the doctor about the situation and ask for instructions on how to proceed.

5. Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult physician.

A few years ago I was working in post-op and there was a surgeon who often worked during my shift. He was incredibly difficult to work with and would often say and do unprofessional things in front of patients. Although I wanted to approach him about his behavior, I decided it would be unprofessional and inappropriate for me to do so. Instead, I did my best to see him in the most positive light possible. This helped me keep my calm when he was acting inappropriately and allowed me to get through the days until someone with the proper authority handled the situation. In a case where a difficult physician was potentially causing harm, I would have immediately notified the charge nurse and followed his or her instructions on how to proceed.

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