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Addiction Nurse Interview

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated January 8th, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 30
What would you do if a patient complained to you about a coworker's conduct toward him/her?
View Answers
How to Answer
This question aims to test your knowledge of internal procedures used within healthcare establishments. While the exact protocol for this may be specific to the place you're applying, there are general rules that should be followed by all healthcare providers, no matter which facility you work in. It is important to explain that all complaints must be handled seriously and be directed to the appropriate member of staff so that appropriate action can be taken. Emphasise that patient concerns should never be ignored.
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Top 30 Addiction Nurse Interview Questions with Full Content
What would you do if a patient complained to you about a coworker's conduct toward him/her?
This question aims to test your knowledge of internal procedures used within healthcare establishments. While the exact protocol for this may be specific to the place you're applying, there are general rules that should be followed by all healthcare providers, no matter which facility you work in. It is important to explain that all complaints must be handled seriously and be directed to the appropriate member of staff so that appropriate action can be taken. Emphasise that patient concerns should never be ignored.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"It is unfortunate that situations like this ever occur. However, when they do, patient safety and concerns should always be acknowledged. If a patient presented a complaint to me, I would notify my immediate supervisor and give him whatever information I have so that he can investigate the validity of any allegations and act accordingly."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I've never had a patient complain to me about one of my coworkers. If I were to be faced with this situation, I would assure the patient that I will talk to my supervisor so that he can help address the situation. I believe it is important to let a patient know that any concerns will be addressed, but to not 'choose sides,' as this can make the situation worse. I believe that leaving the responsibility of investigating the complaint with my supervisor is the most appropriate action to take."
Anonymous Answer
"I would listen to the patient's complaint. Thank them for informing me of the situation and let them know we take all complaints seriously. And ensure them someone will follow up immediately about the situation. I would follow up with my immediate supervisor or MAT coordinator, depending on the claim."
Rachelle's Answer
It sounds as though you would approach this situation with great care. Good work!
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Many times, when people hear the word 'addiction' they think of the abuse of prescription drugs. What are some other addictions you have worked with?
When addictions are mentioned, many people automatically think of the misuse of prescription drugs. In America today, the opioid epidemic is one of the greatest risks for drug abuse related deaths. However, there are many different addictions that addiction nurses help patients deal with. The interviewer wants to know that you are prepared to work with a variety of people who suffer from addiction. If you have a personal story, this is a good time to share it. Remember, do not use any information in your reference that may cause you to compromise patient confidentiality.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have worked with people who have battled several different addictions. One common addiction that many people are not familiar with is food addiction. Unfortunately, it is almost as difficult to overcome that addiction is it is to overcome substances such as meth. Additionally, many people who are overcoming substance addictions often develop food addiction as a way of coping with their craving for drugs."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have actually spent some time working with clients with gambling addictions. It is really quite devastating to see the effect that lack of control over this addiction can bring to the lives of those who are addicted. I once had a client who lost his family's home because he used the deed for the home to fund his gambling addiction and he lost it all. When he finally hit rock bottom, he checked himself into rehab so that he could be separated from any triggers and start to learn some coping mechanisms."

Anonymous Answer
"I have work with people struggling with several different addictions; alcoholism, heroin, stimulates, and benzodiazepines. Addiction is a chronic relapsing disease of the brain. Generally, people do not understand addiction is not due to lack of "will power," there are other factors that predispose some to dependence."
Rachelle's Answer
Wonderful answer! You show a great understanding and compassion for those who struggle with addiction.
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What advice would you give to a nurse looking to enter your field of nursing?
When you are asked to share advice, remember to always be positive. Anyone can find a negative about something, and true enough, there are some days that are more difficult than others. The interviewer wants to know that you are confident about your decision, confident enough that you can share this with others.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I would tell someone considering this profession that there is so much more to this job than I ever could have imagined. I would say, the only limit to your potential in nursing is what you believe you can or cannot do. Never sell yourself or your capabilities of bringing value to other's lives short."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"If I were to talk to someone considering the field of nursing, I would encourage them to have confidence in themselves and to go after their dreams passionately."
How do you approach dealing with an angry patient, and why?
Knowing how you will handle a difficult situation will tell the interviewer if you have the the right attitude for this job. Being a physician means you have to deal with people from very different backgrounds and with varying personalities. Give the interviewer an example of how you would handle an angry patient.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I believe acting calmly and speaking rationally is a great way to calm someone who is angry and I try to be the voice of reason without making someone feel that I am belittling them."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I think it is important to try and find out what has made the patient mad. If it is something such as not being called as quickly as he had expected, a simple explanation regarding what caused the delay may help calm him."
Anonymous Answer
"I feel the best approach is to ask what has made the client upset. Listen without interruption. Apologize and resolve the underlying cause, if possible."
Rachelle's Answer
This is a great approach and one that would most likely prevent further escalation. Good answer!
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Have you ever discovered patients acting in a behavior that is against facility regulations, and if so, how did you/would you handle that?
Any time there are patients in a community-like setting, such as an addiction recovery center, the chances of some of those patients 'pushing the limit' increases. The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of identifying inappropriate behavior and that you will handle the situation professionally. If you have an example of a time this happened, this is a good time to share that experience. Remember, though, do not use names or infer anything that could compromise the confidentiality of the actual event.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In addiction recovery centers, intimate contact between patients and/or staff is not allowed. At one facility where I worked part time, it was discovered that two patients had been kissing and fondling one another in the dayroom. I notified my supervisor and wrote an incident report. The supervisor met with each patient and explained that non-compliance to rules would be grounds for termination of care."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have not yet had a patient who acted outside of facility regulations, although I have heard of instances. I would like to think that, if and when this happens, I can be objective and professional. I would explain to the patient why the behavior is unacceptable and report the occurrence to my team leader or supervisor."
How important is it for an addiction nurse to be a patient person?
Interaction with staff and patients requires good communication skills. Part of practicing good communication is the ability to be patient with others. Working as an addiction nurse can be a very satisfying job, but it requires a lot of work and patience. The interviewer wants to know that you are comfortable with your ability to be patient and offer guidance/support when needed.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I believe that being patient is a very important characteristic for any person to possess, especially those who work in patient care. We often have very hectic schedules and work with staff and patients who have diverse personalities and needs. Being able to focus on the needs of others while performing our job can be very demanding. However, patience is a must."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Being patient is very important for an addiction nurse. Some patients or staff we work with require only simple assistance. Others require more detailed assistance as they are learning new life skills and coping mechanisms. We have to know how to identify those who require a little extra time and try to accommodate that."
Do you anticipate any significant changes in your life within the next 2-3 years that May prevent you from continuing employment here if you are offered a position here?
Knowing what goals you have and any changes you anticipate in your life will give the interviewer an opportunity to evaluate two things: 1. what positions are available that won't disrupt your plans and, 2. are you interested in having a long-term relationship within the company? Either way, being upfront and honest is always appreciated.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I recently became engaged. Although we have not set a date yet, we have agreed to wait twelve months before the marriage. My fiance' just passed the Bar exam here and has been offered an opportunity to join an existing law firm. Presently, our plans are to stay where we are and build a career, not just work a job. Also, we do not plan on having children for at least two years after our marriage. We both feel that being able to become established in our careers and save for our future would be the responsible thing to do before starting a family."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"My goal is to find a position that will allow me to work long term. I do not anticipate any significant changes that would affect that. I have family that live nearby and close ties to the community."
Anonymous Answer
"I do not anticipate any significant changes in my life in the next 2-3 years. Quite the opposite I am looking for stability in an organization (to call home) that I can grow in."
Rachelle's Answer
Excellent! The interviewer should appreciate that you are looking for a stable, long term fit.
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What are some characteristics that you think an addiction nurse should have, and why?
Working as an addiction nurse can be very stressful at times. Having the kind of personality that is reflective of good character, despite the challenges of your job, is essential. The interviewer wants to know what you value in a person's character. This is important because, most likely, the characteristics you value in others are often the ones you will display yourself.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I believe all people, no matter what their profession, should be compassionate and dedicated. This is especially true working with people who are fighting addictions. While we don't have to agree with someone's choices, as an addiction nurse, I believe it is important to show as much compassion as possible in an effort to encourage the successful recovery of my patients."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I feel like an addiction nurse has to know how to be kind and show sympathy, even if we don't agree with our patient's choices. I say this because, fighting addictions is a hard task for our patients. We have to show kindness and sympathy in order for them to see that we care and want what is best for them. People always respond better to a caregiver who is sympathetic, rather than one who is judgemental."
Anonymous Answer
"An addition nurse should be compassionate, nonjudgmental, respectful, and sympathetic. Also, maintaining a professional manner is essential. The nurse should have knowledge of addiction, treatments, and intervention indicated for management."
Rachelle's Answer
These are all important points to mention - outstanding work! Be sure to include the fact that you possess these traits :)
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What is one of your weaknesses and what do you do to help address/resolve it?
This is probably one of the most dreaded questions in a job interview. Answering this question requires self evaluation and honesty. Remember, whatever weakness you decide to share, make sure it is not a key characteristic needed to perform your job as a medical office manager.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I think one of my biggest weaknesses is that I can get sidetracked easily. I recognize that in myself and have made a conscious effort to plan my day as much as possible and to stay on target."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I know you may not think this about someone who has chosen a career as a medical office manager, but one of my weaknesses is that I often get nervous around people I don't know. I know we all do that to a certain degree, but for me, it became something that I was very aware of. I now try to attend social activities where I know there are going to be opportunities to meet new people so that I can overcome social anxiety."
Tell me about a time you had to deal with significant changes in your workplace. How did you manage those changes?
In any healthcare setting, change is inevitable. Technology, processes, leadership, laws and organizations change on a regular basis and with change at a high level comes changes in work processes. For this question, it is important to stress how you are open to change when it makes the end results better for, not only the patient, but for those who work with you. As a medical office manager, you should be able to recognize changes that are needed and be prepared to address them with employees and provide any training necessary. Talk about a specific change you had to endure in the workplace and express how you embraced the change.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In my previous employment roles, I have been a part of many changes that affected my day-to-day duties on the job. I have always embraced the technological changes and work process advancements because, in the end, they make our jobs easier, safer and better for the individual patients. The biggest change that I had to endure was an organizational merger when a private hospital I was working for merged with a larger health system. During this merger, my day-to-day work was flipped upside down from new computer systems to work on, a new work location, new leadership structure and a change in pay and benefits. With a focus on the end in mind and how great it was going to be to work for a much larger and well-established employer, I was able to be a positive influence on my team for helping others embrace the change and see the light at the end of the tunnel while changes were happening."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"During my years in college, I worked at a large grocery store as a cashier. After working there for one year, the company purchased a new touchscreen register system that replaced the old system I was familiar with. Knowing how much more efficiently and accurately I would be able to work when the changes came, I was happy when the announcement was made to our team of cashiers. Of course others were not happy as they'd have to learn a new system. For me, knowing how much the new system would help our work process made it easy to embrace the change. Moving forward, I fully understand how the healthcare world needs to embrace change on a regular basis and you'll find that I'm a person that can help lead change management among my peers."
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