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Clinical Nurse Specialist Interview

25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 30th, 2018 | 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 25
We look favorably on volunteer work. How do you give back to your community?
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How to Answer
Did you know that 82% of hiring managers give preference to candidates with volunteer experience? Show that you can spend time giving back the community, in any way, big or small! Be sure to give examples that are more recent. A hiring manager will not care that you volunteered for your sons t-ball club fifteen years ago.
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Top 25 Clinical Nurse Specialist Interview Questions with Full Content
We look favorably on volunteer work. How do you give back to your community?
Did you know that 82% of hiring managers give preference to candidates with volunteer experience? Show that you can spend time giving back the community, in any way, big or small! Be sure to give examples that are more recent. A hiring manager will not care that you volunteered for your sons t-ball club fifteen years ago.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I believe that it's my responsibility to give back to the community by offering free nursing services to programs in need such as the local drop-in center and the women's center. I have volunteered twice per month for the last two years. It's gratifying to contribute to the health of others."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I recently completed my nursing internship at the local women's health care center. They asked me if I would volunteer one Saturday per month after I am fully certified, and I happily agreed."
Are you applying for any other jobs?
It always puts a little bit of fire under the hiring manager if they are aware that you are actively looking for a new position. Tell the interviewer about your search so far.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am keeping an eye out for viable positions. Although I am not in final stages with any other hospital, I am actively seeking a new position."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am a recent graduate and am interested in making a move as soon as possible; however, I need to ensure that my next career move is one that aligns well with my career goals and desire for a healthy workplace culture."
A nurse must have high integrity. When have you shown great integrity at work?
Integrity is best displayed through honesty and consistent moral values. Talk to the interviewer about the way(s) that you show your integrity in the workplace.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have never had a complaint or a discrepancy, in the four years that I have worked as a nurse. I best show my integrity by being a consistently reliable healthcare professional."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Honesty and integrity are two values at the center of my being. I like to think I practice this in the workplace by always doing the right thing by the hospital for which I work, my colleagues, and my patients."
How many days were you absent from work last year?
A part of being a diligent health care practitioner is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I had zero unexcused absences last year. In total, I took 12 vacation days out of my 15 allotted days. I was sick just 2, and a note from my physician accompanied those. Once I was late due to a terrible snow storm, and I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I cannot recall the exact number, but I think it was around three days total. All absences were excused and with notice."
How do you deal with uncomfortable situations?
Often, our work environment holds the possibility for awkward or tense situations, especially in the field of healthcare. It can be challenging to know how to respond when you have a fellow nurse who is moody, or when your attending physician lacks social skills and is a brief communicator. The interviewer wants to know that you can keep your cool in situations like these.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have had my share of awkward situations and having raised two kids, I am no stranger to them! In the workplace, if an uncomfortable situation arises I tend to face the issue head-on, but tactfully. Sweeping things under the rug rarely helps. I have no problem being open with my team of nurses if I am not feeling comfortable in a particular situation."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I try to avoid conflict, but I have a high tolerance for discomfort. I've learned to try to let the people in question sort it out, but have no problem rolling up my sleeves and diving in to help mediate the problem."
How do you get along with your fellow nurses and physicians?
The interviewer wants to gauge if you can maintain healthy relationships in the workplace. They want to know more about the dynamics with your coworkers. Think about what you enjoyed about some of your relationships with past coworkers. Excellent communication, sense of humor, and support are all great qualities that make co-worker relationships healthy and harmonious.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I get along great with my coworkers. I try to maintain a positive attitude and be supportive, whether I am offering to assist someone who is overwhelmed, or if I am taking time to listen to someone who is having a bad day."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I can work with pretty much anyone. If we don't see eye to eye, I will work to find common ground."
Who would you say inspires you?
This question is something that you should have an answer ready for at all times. Perhaps you look up to a parent who was a hard worker, or a teacher who encouraged you to become who you are today. Whomever this inspiring person may be, remember that the interviewer is looking for a heartfelt response.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My inspiration comes from my grandmother. She has spent every day of her life working hard, and I have never once heard her complain about being tired and overworked. She taught me the value of a good reputation, and I still seek out her opinion when I need inspiration."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Many industry leaders inspire me, but I would have to say that my greatest inspiration comes from my mother who always taught me to stay focused and goal oriented, no matter the obstacles that come my way. This way of thinking has greatly attributed to my success."
Have you progressed in your nursing career as you have expected?
Career progression can be a touchy subject, especially if you feel that your career hasn't progressed as well as you would have liked. Talk to the interviewer about your career progression and what you would like to see in the future.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Overall, my career has progressed a touch slower than I would have liked. I have held a couple of positions in smaller facilities that didn't offer the growth and learning that I was expecting; however, I have bounced back nicely. I feel that this particular position would take my career exactly where it should be."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am pleased with the progress of my nursing career. I am proud of my accomplishments and the path my education has taken me."
When a patient suffers a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?
Every health care professional handles the stress and disappointment of patient setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with setbacks in the workplace.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If my patient experiences a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with the doctor and discuss what I could have done differently, if anything."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Setbacks can be trying, for the patient and all involved. I remind myself to keep a positive outlook and to remain focused because that is what the patient needs most from me in times like that."
How do you like to be recognized for your nursing accomplishments?
We all like to be recognized in some way for our accomplishments in the workplace. Share with the interviewer how you would want to be known for your hard work. Public recognition? Kind words? Title promotions?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am very much an over-achiever and find that the best way for me to be recognized for a job well done is to be given words of kindness and recognition. I am easily encouraged, and the best reward for me is to know that my hard work is being noticed."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am very simple. I do not really require any formal recognition, but kind words from my coworkers and superiors will keep me motivated and working hard."
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