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Behavioral Nursing Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your nursing interview, here are 35 behavioral nursing interview questions and answer examples.

Behavioral Nursing was written by and updated on March 8th, 2021. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 35

Describe a time when you did not communicate well, either in writing or verbally. What was the outcome and how did you handle it?

How to Answer

Great nursing care depends on great communication. It's often said in nursing, 'If it is not written, it wasn't done'. Documenting in the medical record is a legal entry which can be used in court, so learning how to communicate succinctly, correctly, legibly, and timely is extremely important. Oral communication is equally as important and can be muddied with body language, colloquialisms, slang, dialect, accents, and even volume. By definition, effective communication is the process of exchanging knowledge and information in a way that its purpose or intention is understood by the receiver.

Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

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35 Behavioral Nursing Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1. Describe a time when you did not communicate well, either in writing or verbally. What was the outcome and how did you handle it?

      How to Answer

      Great nursing care depends on great communication. It's often said in nursing, 'If it is not written, it wasn't done'. Documenting in the medical record is a legal entry which can be used in court, so learning how to communicate succinctly, correctly, legibly, and timely is extremely important. Oral communication is equally as important and can be muddied with body language, colloquialisms, slang, dialect, accents, and even volume. By definition, effective communication is the process of exchanging knowledge and information in a way that its purpose or intention is understood by the receiver.

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "When I first became a nurse, I was nervous and probably too chatty and talked way too fast. I remember one patient just looking at me and nodding her head. She was an elderly woman and a little confused at times, and she was saying she didn't like the pink pill. I smiled and chatted over her and just really didn't stop to hear her, and she always took the pink pill so I didn't think anything about it. I was encouraging her to take her pills when her daughter spoke up and said, 'I think the doctor discontinued the Prozac which was the pink pill today!' My patient was trying to tell me something about her pill and because I didn't listen closely, I almost made a medication error!
      I didn't make the error, but I still reported the incident to my nursing supervisor as a near miss. The doctor had just left the room and had not entered the order yet, but I still should have listened to my patient. I apologized to her and her daughter, but I learned an important lesson that day, and that is to talk less and listen more to my patients."

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

  • 2. You are very busy and a bit overwhelmed with your daily tasks, but it is time for your morning team huddle. What do you do?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is asking this question to assess the emphasis the candidate places on the team in which they work. While the candidate may be busy and overwhelmed, it is still important that they attend the 10-minute team huddle to debrief with their team members, unless there is an emergency and they cannot attend the huddle. During the huddle, a couple of things may happen - other team members may be able to help the candidate with their work, or, the candidate may learn that everyone on the team is extremely busy, and they need to redistribute work. To effectively answer this question, you should indicate that you would take time to attend the team huddle, despite being overwhelmed.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "I would make sure all my patients were properly cared for and then attend the team huddle. It is my understanding that huddle meetings are very short and are important for team updates, so I would make it a priority to attend. And, if I were so overwhelmed that I felt I was at capacity, a huddle meeting is where I could express my concerns and let it be known that I may need help. I know that nursing can be overwhelming at times, but it is important to remember that we are all part of a team and attending daily huddle meetings is very important."

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

  • 3. You are a floor nurse in your unit and have close relationships with several of your colleagues. When your supervisor goes on vacation, she appoints you to be in charge. How do you approach supervising the nursing staff in your unit?

      How to Answer

      Oftentimes, when a nursing supervisor is out on vacation, sick, or personal leave, they will appoint someone from their staff to serve as acting supervisor in their absence. While serving as acting supervisor, it is important for a nurse to treat their colleagues fairly and put any personal relationships they have with their coworkers aside. The interviewer is asking this question to determine how the candidate would respond in this situation and if the candidate would treat all their colleagues equally. To effectively answer this question, you should indicate that you would put all personal relationships with your coworkers aside while you are acting as supervisor and treat everyone fairly. A more successful answer to this question would include an example of how you effectively served as acting supervisor of a nursing unit during your career.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "If I was serving as acting supervisor, I would set any and all relationships I had with my peers aside and treat everyone the same. I have been in this situation before, where I have stood in for my manager while she was on vacation, and I found that the only way to be successful and fair, was to compartmentalize everything while in charge. It can be a difficult situation to be in, as sometimes your work friends want you to make special concessions for them, but in order to be fair, you can't do that. So, in this situation, I would make it clear that I am not their friend, I am their supervisor, and I am going to follow the rules as stated in the handbook, for everyone."

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

  • 4. Describe a time you effectively instructed a patient on something they were struggling with learning?

      How to Answer

      Patients are often under a great deal of stress. The stress of a new diagnosis, worsening symptoms, and even the hospitalization may make them less attentive to instruction. The nurse must triage the patient's ability to comprehend novel and challenging directions, and factor in any other compounding variables such as cultural differences, pain, medications, and others. Optimal outcomes are achieved when the patient is compliant with treatment and understands what they need to do to be successful. Do your best to explain effective teaching methods here, like teaching through direct instruction or incremental lessons with return demonstrations, utilizing multi-sensory instruction, by providing verbal, written, and physical instructions when applicable.

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

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  • 5. Describe a time you effectively handled a hostile patient or family situation? What was the outcome?

      How to Answer

      It is important to always remember that patients and families are under a lot of stress, and there is a difference between an angry patient or family member and a threatening one. It is difficult to handle or deal with patients or families that are frustrated with care, particularly when it is care that you've performed. Handling an emotional situation intelligently is difficult to do, but very worthwhile, as it improves patient outcomes. In general, it's always best to remain in the situation and speak professionally with warmth and authenticity. People begin to heal when they feel heard, and most people begin to lessen intensity when they feel their concerns are being taken seriously. When a patient or family member verbalizes being upset, the best thing to do is to stay in that space and let them begin to tell their story, without interruption or defensiveness, as long as you feel safe. Once you understand a little about what they are concerned about, ask some clarifying questions so that you know how to best elevate the concern or handle it. Pay attention to your body language, stay calm, and look for a win-win situation.

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

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  • 6. What is the best way to handle a patient who is refusing their medications?

      How to Answer

      Most often, patients have the right to refuse their medication. As difficult as it is to accept their decision, it is their right in most instances to refuse. However, it is your responsibility to assure they are knowledgeable about the medications and possible consequences if they miss a dose or stop taking it altogether. Your job as a nurse is not to convince them to take their medications, but to make certain they understand and are informed as to why the medication is necessary and what may happen if they refuse. If there is anything you can do to aid in educating the patient, be sure to do it. If language is a barrier, an interpreter should be provided. Consider if the patient is confused or if they simply don't understand the need. If they do refuse, your job will then be to document refusal and the rationale for the patient's refusal, as well as your attempt to educate and inform.

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

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  • 7. Your patient's family brought too many boxes of candy, and the patient wants you to take the unopened one. How do you handle this scenario?

      How to Answer

      Nurses are highly respected as ethical professionals and have been voted the most ethical profession for 15 years in a row. It's not an ethical practice to accept gifts from patients, no matter how small or tasty. Nurses have to uphold ethical boundaries and maintain that trust. The patient is vulnerable and in the nurses' care, so the nurse should not accept personal gifts. The best way to handle the situation is to have the ethical standard to thank the patient for the thought, and to decline the offer, with the explanation that it would not be ethical to accept. The family or patient could offer it to the nursing manager of the floor for all the nurses to enjoy, but that would be a management decision on the nurse manager's part.

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

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  • 8. How do you prioritize tasks when things on the unit get unexpectedly fast moving?

      How to Answer

      Nursing is always a dynamic environment and changes should be expected. For that reason, nurses should come to work prepared for the day, which includes arriving on time and being well-nourished and well-rested. Running in late, brewing coffee before report, and not being mentally prepared can put a nurse behind in their day before the day gets started. A nurse prioritizes their day before stepping on the unit. That being said, during report that same nurse triages patients and makes a mental grid of the tasks of the day. He or she prioritizes the most important tasks for each of their patients, and front loads the day to get the bulk of them done so that there is wiggle room later in the day for unexpected and new priority tasks. Great nurses collaborate with peers, delegate when possible and necessary, and ask for help, when needed.

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

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  • 9. What do you do when one of your patients takes unexpected additional time to provide quality care and you have other patients waiting?

      How to Answer

      Patients and families are often experiencing stress while in the hospital with health challenges and are often anxious and anticipatory when receiving care. They may have been worried all night about experiencing pain during their bath or embarrassment during a catheter change, and even the slightest delay may increase anxiety. A great nurse is mindful of that and does not dismiss the importance of even the most routine task to a patient. Being organized can help a nurse be more efficient with time, but sometimes patients require more care. For example, the nurse may have just completed a difficult sacral wound vac dressing change when the patient has diarrhea, requiring the dressing be redone. The nurse has several other patients waiting but cannot leave this patient without the wound vac or soiled. He or she could not have planned this more efficiently. The only choice is to redo the dressing, which takes time. The nurse should use the call bell or connect with team members to have them communicate to other patients that there is a delay so that they do not experience anxiety, or request other team members help with the other patients.

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

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  • 10. Due to emerging technology, the nursing career has evolved, and technology is incorporated in many aspects of modern nursing. How do you handle a situation in which new technology is introduced that changes your nursing practice?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is asking this question to determine how the candidate will respond to changes in their nursing practice due to innovations in technology. Just as technology has changed the way the general public lives, it has significantly changed the practice of medicine and nursing. From Electronic Health Records to electronic instruments, health care does not look the same as it did a few years ago, nevertheless, a few decades ago. If the candidate is unable to adapt to ever-changing technology, they will be unable to effectively care for patients in the modern health care environment. To effectively answer this question, you should be honest about your technical skills, whether they are limited or advanced, and discuss the effort you will put forth to adapt to the new technology. A more successful answer to the question would include an example from your nursing career when you successfully adapted to new technology.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 11. Tell me about a time where you developed empathy by stepping into a patient's shoes?

      How to Answer

      Illness can impact a life dramatically and sometimes changes everything for a patient. Sometimes the patient is confused, depressed, terrified, or very anxious about perceived life changes. It is not enough to simply provide excellent physical care. Nurses are sometimes the 'safe' person who the individual can trust to express their fear, shame, hopelessness, depression or whatever. A great nurse is someone who has worked on learning emotional competence and is able to hold space for that individual by listening and providing solid action steps towards some kind of assistance.

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

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  • 12. Explain your decision making process when you are challenged with a novel or challenging situation in nursing.

      How to Answer

      Nurse interviewees should answer behaviorally-based questions using the S-T-A-R approach. Be sure to describe the situation, task, action, and results of the scenario being questioned. The best answer to any question concerning nursing decision making should include the S-T-A-R approach and a nursing process such at S-O-A-P-I-E-R, or Subjective-Objective-Assessment-Plan-Intervention-Evaluation-Reassessment.

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

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  • 13. Nursing can be extremely stressful. What do you think your personality strengths are in regards to handling the stress of nursing?

      How to Answer

      Nurses experience long, demanding, and sometimes exhausting shifts. Interviewers ask questions that allow the prospective job candidate to showcase their emotional and personality strengths. The interviewer is seeking a candidate with honesty, candor, and emotional and psychological resilience. The interviewer is not looking for a smooth and polished answer, but rather an authentic answer that is unique to the candidate and illustrates their best qualities.

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

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  • 14. Describe a time where you needed to get crucial information from someone who wasn't helpful or responsive and how you handled that.

      How to Answer

      Nurses need information to assess the patient and devise a plan of care. Even the smallest of details may be relevant, and while the nurse needs to be succinct and organized with their queries, they also need to be able to access the necessary information. From patients reluctant to disclose details, to calling to see if someone can open the kitchen and get a late-night tray, a nurse needs to be able to figure out quickly how to get the right information from the right person at the right time. A delay in any information or action may result in less than optimal outcomes, so the nurse needs to communicate clearly, efficiently, assertively, and respectfully to the correct individual. Nursing has been described as both art and science, and the importance of effective communication cannot be underestimated.

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

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  • 15. Describe a time you set a goal for yourself and achieved it. What did you do to ensure that you met your goal?

      How to Answer

      Nurse interviewers like candidates who set goals and accomplish them. The rationale for asking this question is to gain insight into how the candidate's mind works when problem solving. This is a great time to showcase your problem solving skills. For example, if you lost weight and got in shape, the ideal answer would have the elements of being coachable, listening to guidance, developing a plan that was S-M-A-R-T, and perhaps reverse engineering your goal. This is not the time to say you bought meal replacement shakes and drank Red Bull all day to boost your metabolism, or that you starved yourself. This is the time to outline the process and commitment that led to your success.

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

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  • 16. Tell me about a successful team project that you've collaborated on. What was your role?

      How to Answer

      Answering this question is an opportunity to showcase that you can work on a team and collaborate with others for good outcomes. Explaining your role and how it came about allows the interviewer to see a different facet of your abilities. A team leader is assigned in most teams. If you are typically the leader, explain what skills you have that allow for effective leadership. If not, you could elaborate on why you were not chosen or why you didn't volunteer. Your answer should illustrate cooperation, collaboration, and a willingness to contribute to add value.

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

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  • 17. Describe a time you set a goal and did not achieve it. Explain why you were not successful.

      How to Answer

      This question is asked to assess whether a candidate has demonstrated self-critiquing skills and ownership. Nurses must be able to review their work, figure out what went wrong, and identify ways to fix it. It is important for nurses to triage the most important goals to work on and choose the ones that will have the patient gain traction towards health. There are a multitude of possible patient goals, but a nurse needs to choose the best ones that move the patient towards health.

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

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  • 18. Would you call yourself a team player? How do you handle yourself when you disagree with the team consensus on how to handle a situation?

      How to Answer

      This is a tricky question that deserves a thoughtful answer. Many times, nurses work in a team environment, but they remain responsible for working within the scope of their nurse practice act. Interviewers certainly do not want a maverick individual who will butt heads with everyone, but they also do not want an individual who will be swayed by group think. So, the answer provided should be one that showcases both a willingness to work as a team and a determination to independently do the right thing for your license and hospital, as well as the patient.

      Written by Dianne Barnard on March 1st, 2021

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  • 19. Tell me about a time in your nursing career when you made a big mistake. How did you handle the situation?

      How to Answer

      This question is very important for the interviewer, not to learn about the candidate's past mistakes, but to learn if the candidate is able to recognize their mistakes, and how they handle situations in which they make mistakes. Mistakes are common in the clinical environment, and it is important that nurses and other clinical professionals be able to recognize and take responsibility for their errors. The candidate should be honest in answering this question and not be afraid to share information on the mistakes they have made. To successfully answer this question, you should provide an example of a mistake you have made in the past and tell the interviewer how you successfully mitigated the situation. A more successful answer to this question would include details of when you took a mistake you made and spearheaded a policy change or education program to ensure the same mistake was not made by your colleagues.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 20. Tell me how you would handle a situation where you thought you saw one of your nursing colleagues pocketing a dose of medication that was supposed to be given to a patient.

      How to Answer

      Although there are many controls placed on medication distribution and administration, stealing medication is still a common problem amongst staff, especially in the face of the current opioid crisis. This scenario puts the candidate in an ethical dilemma of whether he or she should confront their coworker, notify their supervisor, or turn the other direction and take no action. To effectively answer this question, you should discuss how you would take action on the matter, preferably, notifying a supervisor of the colleague's behavior. A more successful answer to this question would include an example of how the candidate took action after witnessing a similar situation.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 21. How will you approach coming into a team of nurses who have been working together for quite some time, who have already solidified their working relationships, and who clinically, have a very specific way of doing things?

      How to Answer

      Starting a new job can be intimidating, but when a professional is joining a team that is already cohesive, it can be even more challenging. This can sometimes be even more complicated in clinical settings, where teams of nurses or other clinical professionals are so established, and it can be difficult to break into. Members of nursing teams rely on one another in so many ways, which creates significant bonds among team members. Unfortunately, because of this, it can be difficult for new team members to feel welcome and to become a functioning member of the team. The interviewer is asking this question to first make the candidate aware of the situation, and second, determine their approach to becoming part of the team. To successfully answer this question, you should indicate that you would be patient about being welcomed into the team community, but also suggest that you would strive to develop relationships with coworkers to make an effort in becoming a part of the team. A more successful answer would include an example of how the candidate dealt with a similar situation coming into a new team during their nursing career.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 22. You are caring for a patient nearing the end of their life who has a clear Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order in their advanced directive, but when the patient codes, their family member who is present begs you to take action. How do you respond?

      How to Answer

      Advanced directives are legal documents that outline an individual's wishes for how they would like their end-of-life care handled. Many individuals have advanced directives, not only to make their own wishes known, but also to take the burden off their loved ones when it comes time to make difficult decisions at the end of their lives. However, there are times when family members disagree with advanced directives or become emotional when their loved one begins passing away. They may put pressure on the nursing staff to provide care that runs counter to the patient's advanced directive. In this situation, it is important for the nurse to follow the patient's wishes, as documented in the advanced directive, despite any pressure they are getting from the patient's loved ones, while also helping the family understand the patient's end-of-life wishes. To effectively answer this question, you should indicate how you would provide care as documented in the advanced directive, and explain to the family why it was important for you to do so. A more successful answer would include a specific experience of when you dealt with such an experience in your nursing career.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 23. Tell me how you would handle a situation in which you are pressed for time and it would be easier for you to provide care to your patients if you did not follow established procedures and protocols.

      How to Answer

      Procedures and protocols established for nursing professionals are in place to protect the patient, the nurse, and the facility, and they are not meant to be violated out of convenience. Violating such a procedure or protocol puts many individuals at risk, and nurses should always follow these guidelines to the best of their ability. The interviewer is asking this question to determine if the candidate understands the importance of established protocols and procedures and will follow them, even in times where they are busy. To successfully answer this question, you should indicate that you would not sacrifice the quality of care you are providing by breaking protocols. You can provide a stronger answer to this question by talking about your personal experience with a similar situation in your nursing career.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 24. How would you handle a situation where you were curious about what was documented in a friend or family member's electronic health record?

      How to Answer

      The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or better known as HIPAA, is a federal privacy law that protects patients' personal and health information. Under the HIPAA rule, accessing medical records for family members or any other individuals out of curiosity is a violation, and doing so could lead to disciplinary action or even termination. Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems are often audited to determine if nursing and other staff members accessed any records not related to their daily responsibilities. The interviewer is asking this question to determine if the candidate understands that this is a HIPAA violation and is a serious offense. To successfully answer this question, you should not only express the fact that you would never violate the privacy of your loved ones or other patients, but also inform the interviewer that you understand this would be a HIPAA violation.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 25. What would you do in a situation where you needed household medical supplies, such as adhesive bandages, and you were aware that there was an abundance of them in the supply room at work?

      How to Answer

      Supplies are a significant cost to medical facilities, and it is the responsibility of all staff members to protect such supplies in order to control costs. When there are supplies, such as adhesive bandages, that are not secured or regularly inventoried, it can be tempting for employees to take such supplies for use at home. However, this behavior is unacceptable, as it is theft of company resources. To successfully answer this question, you should make it very clear to the interviewer that you will not use or take medical supplies for personal use.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 26. How would you handle a situation where a new manager or supervisor starts on your unit and immediately starts changing everything about the way the unit has operated for the past few years?

      How to Answer

      Similar to other industries, medical facilities often change management or leadership, and new supervisors and managers take over. Oftentimes, new supervisors and managers change various aspects of operations, and it can be difficult for staff members, particularly nurses, to adapt to these changes. However, the most successful nurses are able to thrive in such situations and use these opportunities to improve their practice. The interviewer is asking this question to determine how the candidate will cope with such changes, if a change in unit management takes place. When answering this question, you should be honest about your ability to adapt to change in the workplace. To successfully answer the question, you should also indicate that you would remain positive in such situations. If you have specific examples of how you have successfully adapted to changes in leadership during your nursing career, you should incorporate your personal experience into your answer.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 27. Often in Electronic Health Records, generic drug names are used in lieu of brand names. Tell me how you would handle a situation where you know the brand name of a drug you need to place an order for, but you are unsure of its generic name.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is asking this question to determine if the nurse candidate would take initiative to find the name of the generic name for the drug. There are many situations in nursing practice where nurses will not know certain information, whether it be a drug name, a condition, or a specific procedure. Nurses are not expected to have knowledge of all elements in the clinical world, but they are expected to take initiative to find information. To successfully answer this question, you should indicate that you would take initiative in the situation and use available resources (such as textbooks or a reputable website) to find the name of the drug, rather than asking a physician or colleague. A more successful answer to this question would include an example of how you successfully took initiative to find information in a similar situation in your nursing career.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 28. As clinical healthcare professionals, we have all been in situations where we have developed special bonds with patients and their families. Explain how you handle such situations when these patients face difficult diagnoses or unexpectedly pass away.

      How to Answer

      Because nurses spend so much time caring for their patients and their families, many times, they develop special bonds and relationships with these individuals. The bonds that nurses form with their patients are also formed due to the sincere empathy that nurses naturally possess. Many times, when patients are facing a difficult medical diagnosis or are at the end of their lives, it can be difficult for nurses, since they have created these personal bonds with their patients. The interviewer is asking this question to determine how you would react in such a situation. The expected response would be for the nurse to offer the family their support and condolences and allow the family privacy to grieve. The candidate should avoid providing an example of when they became overly emotional in the presence of family members.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 29. Despite our best efforts in providing care, sometimes there are family members who are unhappy with the care the patient is receiving. Tell me how you would handle such a situation.

      How to Answer

      Having a family member or loved one who is ill and/or in the hospital can be a very stressful situation, and sometimes, despite the best efforts of clinical staff, family members of patients are unhappy with the care their loved ones receive. In such situations, it is important for nurses and clinical staff to avoid becoming defensive, and to express their empathy for the family member, even if they are unhappy with them. If a nurse is unable to resolve the situation with the patient's family, they should escalate the situation to their supervisor. To successfully answer this question, you should tell the interviewer that you would listen to the family member's concerns and try to meet their needs, if possible. A more successful answer to this question would include an example of how you successfully mitigated such a situation in your nursing career.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 30. Tell me how you would handle a situation where you feel a patient is suicidal or a danger to themselves, but they deny these feelings.

      How to Answer

      Suicide, unfortunately, is very common and, many times, signs that a person is suicidal are missed by family members, friends, and even healthcare professionals. Even if a nurse is not working in a behavioral health environment, they must always be cognizant of a patient's mental well-being and stay alert for signs of suicidal behavior. Even if a patient denies being suicidal or does not score high on a mental health screening, if a nurse feels strongly that a patient may be a risk to themselves, they must alert the patient's physician. To successfully answer this question, you should indicate that you would alert the patient's physician or the attending physician of your concerns, so a full mental health evaluation can be conducted. A more successful answer would include a specific example of how you successfully helped a suicidal patient get help.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 31. Workplace violence is a common issue for nurses. We have protocols in place to prevent workplace violence, but sometimes patients and family members still become violent. Tell me how you would handle such a situation.

      How to Answer

      Unfortunately, nurses and other clinicians are often subjected to violent acts, committed by patients and/or family members. Many times, when patients become violent, it is unintentional and a result of confusion, pain, mental health issues, or other ailments. However, whether the violence is intentional or a result of a medical issue, these situations put nurses in stressful and dangerous situations. In such situations, it is important for nurses to stay calm and follow protocols, such as alerting colleagues and security of the situation. Primarily, it is important that the nurse not attempt to mitigate the situation themselves and/or become defensive and retaliate against the aggressor. To successfully answer this question, you should ensure the interviewer that you would stay calm, follow protocol, and not retaliate against the patient or family member. A more successful answer to this question would include an example of how you followed protocol and effectively dealt with a violent or threatening situation.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 32. You have had a friendly relationship with one of your nursing colleagues for quite some time, but recently, she has been demonstrating passive-aggressive behavior and has been unwilling to cooperate with you. Tell me how you respond to this situation.

      How to Answer

      Nursing is a career that requires teamwork and cooperation among members of the nursing staff. However, because nursing can be a very stressful occupation and because it requires so much collaboration among team members, conflicts among coworkers often occur. As with many other career settings, if these conflicts are not resolved appropriately, employees cope by using passive-aggressive behaviors. The interviewer is asking this question to understand how you would respond in a situation in which a coworker is demonstrating passive-aggressive behavior. To effectively answer this question, you should indicate that you would calmly and maturely approach the coworker to resolve any underlying conflicts. A more successful answer to this question would include your own experience in resolving a conflict with a colleague.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 33. You are caring for a pediatric patient whose parent is refusing routine vaccinations due to information she has read on the internet. How do you respond in this situation?

      How to Answer

      Due to misinformation that is widely available on the internet, many people are refusing routine vaccines for themselves and their children. While the vaccine controversy is likely the most prominent example of patients refusing medical interventions due to misinformation, this issue does not lie in vaccines alone; there are many preventative and tertiary medical procedures that patients refuse. In these cases, it is the responsibility of the nursing staff to help the patient or guardian understand the importance of the recommended medical intervention. The interviewer is asking this question to determine how you would respond to this situation and to see if you would help educate the patient using scientific evidence. To effectively answer this question, you should indicate that you would remain respectful but attempt to educate the patient or guardian using facts. A more successful answer would include an example of how you helped change a patient or guardian's stance so they would accept the medical intervention.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 34. You are in a situation where you have been putting forth a lot of effort at your nursing job, but you received critical feedback from your supervisor during a bi-annual review. How do you respond to this situation?

      How to Answer

      Similar to other careers, there are times when employees put forth great efforts but still receive critical feedback from their supervisors. Because nursing is a career that requires a significant amount of effort and care, many times, it takes nurses many years to master their craft. The interviewer is asking this question to determine how you would respond to critical feedback, even when you have been putting forth a significant amount of effort in your work. To effectively answer this question, you should indicate that you would maturely take your supervisor's advice into consideration to determine how you can improve your nursing practice. A more successful answer to this question would include a real-life example of how you have taken constructive criticism, given by a superior, to advance your nursing skills when you already felt you were working at your capacity.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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  • 35. Many times, we require our nurses to cross-train in other departments so they can be available to float when needed. How do you feel about the potential of cross-training and floating on short notice?

      How to Answer

      Oftentimes, in facilities with multiple medical specialties or sub-specialty departments, nurses are cross-trained so they can be available to float during staffing shortages. This allows management to fill nursing gaps when needed. Since nursing among specialties is not created equal, cross-training and floating can sometimes cause stress for nurses, if they are unable to quickly adapt to the varying requirements for caring for patients in the different specialty departments. The interviewer is asking this question to determine how adaptable you would be in such situations, and how willing you would be to cross-train and float to other departments. To effectively answer this question, you should indicate that you would be excited to expand your nursing skills by cross-training and that floating at a moment's notice would not be an issue for you. A more successful answer to this question would include an example of how you successfully cross-trained and floated to other departments within your nursing career.

      Written by Kelly Burlison on March 8th, 2021

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