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How To Prepare For A Nursing Job Interview

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Sample Questions On Patient Care

How to Prepare for Your Nursing Job Interview | Nurse Interview Tips
Tell me about a time you dealt with an unhappy or difficult patient or family member.

Explain the situation without violating HIPAA. Dont speak negatively on the patient or their caregiver. Instead, this is a time to show you have empathy. If you did something wrong, be sure to acknowledge your mistake and share how you corrected it.

Sample answer:

I once had a patient who had a new order for wound care. His responsible party did not like how I dressed his wound. She thought that I should have used a different type of dressing. To ease her concerns, I reassured her I was following the doctors orders. In laymans terms, I then explained the treatment order to her, step by step, and asked if she had any questions. She let me know that she was unaware of the order change and thanked me for taking the time to explain everything to her in a way she could understand. I apologized that the new orders were not relayed to her and let her know that I was available if she had any more questions.

How do you explain medications, treatments, or healthcare situations without using a lot of medical or healthcare jargon?

Heres your chance to show that you know how to practice therapeutic communication and teach patients. Explain what you said, the language or terminology you used, and how you ensured the patient understood your explanation.

Sample answer:

Describe a time a patient was really happy with your care or a time you went above and beyond for a patient?

Sample answer:

Clinic Nurse Interview Questions

Interviewing is an important part of the hiring process for clinic nurses. During an interview, a potential employer asks you questions about your skills, experiences, and personal characteristics to determine whether you’re a good fit for their clinical team. Learning about some commonly asked questions during nursing interviews can help you prepare and feel confident in your answers. In this article, we cover some common clinic nurse interview questions, provide sample answers to help you prepare, and answer a few commonly asked questions about how to get ready for a nursing interview.

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Be An Active Listener

You will want to be sure to brush up on your active listening skills.

Of course, since youll be interviewing over the phone, this will look a bit different from interviewing in person, but here are the basics:

  • Dont interrupt your interviewer while they are speaking
  • Smile! Yes, this is a phone interview, but your interviewer will be able to hear the smile in your voice.
  • Repeat back what your interviewer is saying by using phrases such as,
  • What I hear you saying is
  • In other words, what you are saying is
  • Keep your questions open-ended, in order to keep the dialogue going.
  • Show you are interested in the conversation by asking questions to clarify what your interviewer is saying.
  • Ask for clarification if theres something you dont understand.
  • Give the interviewer your undivided attention by staying completely focused on the conversation at hand, rather than trying to think ahead or formulating your answer to the question.
  • A fun idea for helping to prepare for your next interview is to set aside some time to watch a few TV interviews. Critique the active listening skills, or lack of them, as you watch.

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    Describe A Time When You Went Over And Above Your Job Requirements What Motivated You To Put Forth The Extra Effort

    How to answer:

    Talk about a specific instance when you went out of your way for your job or for a patient. What were the circumstances? Why did you choose to take the action? What did you do? What were the results?

    I personally feel like I give 110% to all of my patients every shift but there was one that I grew especially close with. For some reason, the patient had been dropped off by a family member and no one had come to see the child for months. It was obvious the patient was missing key developmental milestones and was becoming increasingly lonely and depressed. I asked to become the primary nurse for the patient which meant every time I worked he would be assigned to me. I worked with him over several months to get him potty trained and to improve his vocabulary. I dont know exactly why I was extra motivated but at that time in our lives, the patient and I needed each other.

    Top 15 Nursing Interview Questions

    Nursing Interview Questions

    By Mike Simpson

    Being a nurse takes a special kind of person.

    Oftentimes, youre seeing people in the middle of what can easily be the worst day of their lives. You need patience, resilience, a sense of humor, attention to detail, and a thick skin.

    Of course, it can also be one of the most rewarding careers, full of excitement and drama and the kind of rush you can only get when youre helping others. Becoming a nurse is truly a calling for the right person, but sometimes getting that first job can seem like the hardest part of the entire process, starting with those nail-biting nursing interview questions.

    Luckily, were here to help! Well go over exactly what types of questions nurses can expect to be asked in an interview. Well give you some pro-tips on how to answer those questions including how to tailor.

    Finally, well give you the ten most common nursing interview questions you are most likely to encounter along with how to best answer them.

    Sounds easy, right? So, lets get started!

    But just before we do, have you ever stopped to consider that there are hundreds of other, non-nursing-related interview questions you could be asked in your interview?

    Several of our students have confirmed that nursing interviews are not only made up of nursing-themed questions, but also of both traditional and behavioral interview questions commonly found in a standard, non-nursing interview.

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    A Few Things To Remember

    After you have planned your outfit, printed extra resumes, and started to plan for questions you might face, there are a few last minute items you dont want to overlook. Above all, make sure you are on time, no matter what.

    • If you have never been to the healthcare facility, make a dry run
    • Know the route and plan for the longest amount of time it will take to get there whether you are driving, walking, or taking public transportation
    • Allow extra time for traffic jams and weather delays
    • Know where the building is and where the interview room is inside the building
    • Ask if you need specific identification before the day to get through security

    When the day of the interview arrives, plan to arrive ten minutes early. It makes you look good and eager to get the job.

    Do your research. Look into the organization. Know a bit about them so you can weave it into your conversation. Its a good idea to know a bit about their history, the number of employees they have and any awards they have received for quality, patient care and other metrics of excellence. If you are researching the facility and dont know some of these answers, its good to ask your interviewer. It shows them that youre interested in this facility in particular, not just any job anywhere. As you sprinkle your research through the interview it will become apparent that you are interested in the organization and have made a thoughtful, professional effort to learn about them.

    How You Deal With Someone Who Isnt Satisfied With Your Patient Care

    Here is a great example of a behavioral question. The interviewer is asking you for a concrete example of how you handle a situation. Remember, as we discussed above, give your interviewer an example from your past and how you dealt with a situation, so they can get a feel for how you would behave in a similar situation in the future.

    Example answer:

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    Would You Say Youre A Team Player

    As a nurse who has to interact with a wide variety of individuals in the medical field including doctors, technicians, other nurses, and the friends and families of your patients just to name a few, your first answer had better be yes. Of course, what you say after that is what is going to make or break you in your interview.

    Example answer:

    This is a good answer because it covers the fact that youre a team player but also lets the employer know if theres ever a time where youre going to have to be on your own, you can handle it.

    Know What Qualities You Possess As A Nurse

    Nursing Interview Questions and Answers

    The Guardian interviewed several recruiters and hiring managers in the healthcare sector and asked about what elements they look for during nursing interviews.

    Ann Duncan, matron of the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, stated that she looks for six specific characteristics: care, compassion, competence, communication, courage, and commitment.

    Duncan incorporates those characteristics into interview questions: We want enthusiasm to shine through you can see when someones energized by the work they do. If you know what makes you a strong nursing candidate, youre more likely impress interviewers with your confidence and dedication.

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    Pro Tips For Answering Nurse Interview Questions

    The first thing you need to do when preparing for an interview is to go over the job description with a fine-toothed comb.

    Make a list of everything the employer is looking for in their Perfect Candidate.

    Now, sit down and look back over all your experiences and see exactly how youve met all those requirements before.

    It doesnt matter if the experiences you have arent 100% related to the job description youre applying to. Basically, what you want to do is give your potential future employer tailored examples of how youve handled situations in the past so they can extrapolate how youd most likely react in future situationsand in some cases, examples outside of work show how youre adept at thinking on your feet and handling yourself beyond just your job. Just make sure that no matter what, youre answering their questions with personal examples that highlight your skills and abilities.


    While youre doing your prep and looking over the job description, its a good idea to also do a little research into where youre applying. Having specifics on their techniques or their way of doing things and relating that to how you do things will not only show them youre already in tune with their style, but it will also help to reinforce the idea that youre the Perfect Candidate!

    Its also an opportunity to familiarize yourself with who you might be working with and for, and that can help you immensely if you find yourself invited to a panel interview.

    Research The Potential Employer

    One of the biggest mistakes you can make when preparing for a nursing interview is forgetting to research the potential employer. It’s important to learn the names of the people interviewing you and top names at the company.

    Explore the employer’s website and find out what makes them unique. Bringing up a few unique aspects will show that you are interested in the company and have done your homework.

    A great way to learn more about your future employer is to talk to people you know who work there. Ask specifically about the staff, culture, and the working environment.

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    Give An Example Of An Important Goal You Set For Yourself Did You Accomplish That Goal How Did You Ensure That You Accomplished It

    How to answer:

    Make sure the goal you share is related to your career. Explain the steps you took to accomplish your goal. What challenges did you face? How did you feel once you accomplished your goal?

    I set the goal to earn my pediatric certification. I made a list of things that must be done to achieve that. I signed up for the exam and paid the fee so that way I had to take the exam. There was no backing out.

    How Do You Like Working With A Team

    How to Prepare for the Interview to Land Your Next Nursing Job

    Nurses dont work in silos. A lot of their work depends on other people. Cooperation and flexibility are important traits to facilitate a healthy team.

    Example answer:

    I thrive while working as a part of a team because of my ability to adapt. I find that working on a team allows for the best outcomes for patients. Everyone has a different way of looking at a problem and multiple perspectives can bring about creative solutions to issues. Also, working on a team motivates me because I enjoy celebrating the successes of others. Last, I feel confident in my abilities to work alone as well.

    Score! You explained how valuable working on a team is to you. Also, you showed that you can work alone. You killed two birds with one stone. Excellent.

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    Home Health Nurse Interview Questions

    Top 5 home health nurse interview questions with detailed tips for both hiring managers and candidates.

  • How do you handle difficult patients? How do you deal with resistance?
  • Have you ever struggled to find a solution to a patients health problem? What did you do?
  • Have you ever had to relay bad news to a patient regarding their health? How did you handle the situation?
  • Describe a time when you noticed that a clients health was deteriorating. How did you handle the situation?
  • Why did you become a home health nurse? What about the job appeals to you?
  • 1. How do you handle difficult patients? How do you deal with resistance? Tests interpersonal skills. 2. Have you ever struggled to find a solution to a patients health problem? What did you do? Demonstrates critical thinking skills, the ability to determine the best course of action, and consideration for the patients needs. 3. Have you ever had to relay bad news to a patient regarding their health? How did you handle the situation? Demonstrates candidates compassion for patients and interpersonal skills. 4. Describe a time when you noticed that a clients health was deteriorating. How did you handle the situation? Tests the candidates knowledge of how to handle difficult situations, how they report concerns, and how they treat the client. 5. Why did you become a home health nurse? What about the job appeals to you? Reveals more about the candidates personality. Look for candidates who exhibit kindness and empathy.

    How To Nail Your First Nursing Interview

    At Joyce University, we know our graduates are ready to succeed at their first job, so weve compiled these tips to help you succeed at your first healthcare job interview.

    Tip 1. Prepare and Practice Nursing Interview Questions

    During an interview, healthcare employers ask both clinical and behavioral-based interview questions. While clinical questions may assess your practical knowledge, behavioral-based questions are asked to get a sense of how you perform and are based around teamwork, patient-care, time management, communication style, and core values.

    Tip 2. Communicate Why You Want to Work Here

    Every hospital, doctors office, and lab is unique, often with its own specialty or advantages. Decide for yourself why you want to work at this particular facility and demonstrate why you are qualified to work there through concrete examples. Whenever you answer a question, use it as an opportunity to cite an example that showcases your experience and skill set.

    Tip 3. Discuss and Demonstrate Skills

    Soft skills like empathy, friendliness, compassion, emotional intelligence, and adaptability are the intangible skills essential in the modern healthcare environment. These are not only necessary for communicating effectively with patients and colleagues, but contribute to critical thinking and holistic problem solving which directly impacts your quality of care.

    Tip 4. Prepare Questions of Your Own

    Tip 5. What to Wear to a Nursing Interview

    Tip 6. Wait to Talk Salary

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    Why Did You Choose To Become A Nurse

    An interviewer may ask this question to understand what motivated you to choose a nursing career. When answering this question, you might tell a short story about what inspired you to become a nurse.

    Example:”As a child, I got into a bicycle accident and broke my arm. I was afraid of going to the doctor to get it fixed. However, when we arrived at the clinic, the nurse welcomed me, validated my feelings, and assured me that everything would be okay. Her kindness and patience inspired me, and I decided I wanted to be a nurse so I could be a comforting presence to others in their time of need.”

    Why Is It Necessary To Track A Patient’s Progress


    Public health nurses often monitor patients’ progress to identify any community-spread health issues they need to address. An employer may ask you this question to see if you can form an answer for the importance of this task based on your previous experience. If you have an example of when your progress tracking was effective, consider sharing it with your interviewer.

    Example:”It’s really important to track our patients’ progress because that’s how we can determine that there may be a community health issue. With this knowledge, we’re better able to serve our community members with education and preventive care. Tracking progress can also help our patients feel comfortable with the idea of healthcare and more willing to seek medical help when they feel they need to. In my previous position, tracking a specific patient’s medical progress helped me develop a rapport with him, which made a difference in the medical care he sought.”

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    Why Do You Believe You Are Suitable For This Role

    This question, or variants of it, such as Why should we hire you?What skills do you bring to the job?What makes you the best candidate for this position? is a favorite among interviewers. It gives you the chance to display your strengths, show that youve done your research about the role and the organization itself. Its an opportunity for you to show clearly that you understand what the job entails and that you possess the skills to succeed at it.

    How to answer: The response to this question should be rooted in your experiences. Still, you can use our sample answer as a springboard to draft your response.

    Sample answer: In my last position, I had the opportunity to lead a small team of ICU nurses, and I enjoyed the chance to act as a team leader. I was often the liaison between the ICU nurses and other healthcare team members in our facility. This helped me develop my listening, communication, and interpersonal skills. So, when I came across the posting for this position, I realized that my training and experience match perfectly the job requirements and expectations you advertised. So, I do believe that I have what it takes to be a Shift Leader in your institution.

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