10 Common Interview Questions for Nursing and How you Should Answer Them

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When applying for a registered nurse position, it’s not just that your previous qualifications and experience will seal the contract. As with any other job, potential employers will want to first meet you and learn more about your motivations, behaviors and aspirations besides what is on your resume.

To help you with this process, we’ve compiled a list of the best questions about the interview with the nurse that you’ll probably be asked, as well as some examples of the most appropriate answers.

So, whether you are a student nurse looking for your first role or an experienced clinical nurse looking for specialization, these are the types of questions that you need to prepare for.

1. What is most satisfying in nursing?

As a nurse, it is unlikely that cash gain is your main motivator. In such an emotional work environment, the opportunity to make a significant and positive change in people’s lives and help them when they are most at risk can significantly exceed the check you receive for it.

This question is your chance to prove it and let the interviewer know why nursing is a calling for you. Talk about how you enjoy the challenge and unpredictability of the role, and how it allows you to help others.

2. Why did you choose a nursing career?

This is a question that will probably be asked, especially if you are newly qualified. Employers want to understand their motivations and perceptions of what Nursing is, and this is a great way to get to the bottom of what drives you.

Undoubtedly, the most popular answer to this question is “I want to help people”. This is not a bad answer, of course, but try to give a little more context and put your reasons in a personal frame.

For example, talk about a specific event or event, which you observed from first hand or from a distance  that had a significant impact on you and made you realize that this is a career for you.

3. How do you deal with stress related to nursing?

It’s no secret that Nursing can be a very stressful role both physically and emotionally, and while providing adequate support is becoming an increasingly important priority among healthcare managers, nurses should still be dealing with many problems.

This is especially the case with crowded hospitals and departments, especially those with shortages, and employers will want to know if you are strong enough to deal with these challenges. Of course, each person will have their own way of doing this; not only should you explain how it turns off after a difficult transition, but also understand why it is so important.

4. Do you feel comfortable working in teams with other nurses, clinicians and healthcare professionals

As with most healthcare professions, teamwork is an essential element of everything you will do, especially if you work in an ambulance or theater.

Therefore, interviewers must know that you are a team player and capable of taking instructions from senior practitioners. Your interviewers may ask you to give a specific example to support the answer, too, so it’s a good idea to keep it in mind.

This does not necessarily have to be in the context of nursing if you do not have much experience. However, this should show that you understand the importance of cooperation for a common goal.

5. Describe the time in which you had to deal with a difficult patient. How did you deal with it?

If you have not already done so, at some point in your career you will meet a difficult patient and, as you might expect, your interviewers will want to know how you deal with such cases. You can either use a real example or, if you have not been in this situation before, explain what you would do.

Explain clearly that you will listen and respect the patient’s point of view, and that you will politely but firmly explain why the course of action was taken. Explain that you report any complaints, if necessary, to ward sister or branch manager, and that you remain calm, professional and rational at all times.

In extreme cases where a patient is abused orally, please explain that you can tell the patient that this is unacceptable and that you understand the thin line between a reasoned complaint and the patient’s goal being exceeded.

6. What would you do if you saw your colleague behaving improperly or took a shortcut?

Honesty is an important feature of every healthcare professional, and when someone begins to take a shortcut, overlook potentially important details, or behave improperly towards patients or staff, it can have potentially fatal consequences.

Depending on the behavior you witnessed, please explain that you will first approach the person and talk to him about the incident. Maybe the mistake was real, or your colleague was under a lot of pressure and stress, in which case he may need help.

However, if their behavior does not change or your concerns are resolved, you may need to consult your branch sister or manager. The important thing to communicate here is that you do not accept lowering your professional standards and responsibilities and that you dare say something when others do not.

7. What do you think is the most difficult thing about being a nurse and why?

This is a particularly difficult question because it not only shows the perception of work, but also reveals what you think are your own weaknesses. Your answer can tell a lot about your suitability for the position you are applying for.

Of course, each candidate will have their own idea of ​​what is most difficult in nursing. The common answer is the need to cope when things go wrong, and there is a negative patient result or the need to overcome emotional attachments to long-term patients.

Your interviewers don’t expect and they really don’t, you will be a robot, and it is important to recognize the more demanding aspects of this role without admitting them.

8. What are your long-term goals and aspirations?

A variation on the classic “where do you see yourself in five years?”, This question has two purposes. The first is to understand the commitment to personal and professional development, as well as the level of ambition. The second is to get a practical idea of ​​whether the position will be beneficial to you.

Again, your answer here will depend on what your individual goals are, but it is important to convey that you have one. You may want to move to obstetrics or a dynamic specialization such as emergency medicine; whatever it is, it should show that you are determined to improve your skills and develop your career.

9. What would you do if you had a clinical quarrel with a colleague regarding patient care?

This is something else that will undoubtedly happen in your career at some point, and it is important that you deal properly with such cases when they inevitably happen. Your reaction depends of course on the circumstances.

In a traumatic scenario, for example, time sensitivity to the patient’s condition would dictate that you must be a little more durable and assertive than normal.

In a more peaceful environment, however, you must explain that maybe you could move your friend to one side and Make sure you listen to the issues your colleague makes.

Your interviewers want to know that you are not afraid to talk about your mind, especially to senior nurses and doctors, of course with respect and professionalism. During a long and stressful change, mistakes can be made, and if you notice something that you do not agree with, then it is in the patient’s best interest to say something.

10. “Give an example of the time when you had to manage a labor-intensive load. How did you do it?”

Multitasking and time management are perhaps two of the most important skills a nurse must have, especially in busy departments. That’s why you need to convince your interviewers that you are able to organize and prioritize your workload in a stressful and fast-paced environment.

Again, your example may not necessarily be related to nursing. If you are freshly completed, you can talk about university load management and clinical internships during exams, for example. What have you done? How did you do And how would you apply what you learned to a real branch?

Make sure you let potential employers know that you can manage your time effectively and stay on top of things.

In general, nursing is a required profession worldwide and, provided you have the skills, the right qualifications and, in some cases, experience for the role you are doing, it may be that the interview is something of a formality.

However, this does not mean that you should neglect the preparation well or neglect the process. Desired positions will attract many candidates, and the competition can be huge. As long as you do the required research, look good during the interview and follow the advice above, there is no reason why the role in question should not be yours.

What other questions may arise during the interview for nursing work? Let us know in the comments section below!

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