MockQuestions

Clinical Nurse Specialist Mock Interview

To help you prepare for your Clinical Nurse Specialist interview, here are 25 interview questions and answer examples.

Clinical Nurse Specialist was written by and updated on February 2nd, 2018. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 25

We look favorably on volunteer work. How do you give back to your community?

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.

Written by Heather Douglass

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List of 25 Clinical Nurse Specialist Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1.

    We look favorably on volunteer work. How do you give back to your community?

      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.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level

      "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."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Experienced

      "Volunteering is so important! I spend one day per week working as a volunteer nurse for the children's hospital, as a baby cuddler! I help to cuddle and feed the newborns in ICU. They need the contact of another person to thrive. This is often the best part of my week!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns

  • 2.

    Are you applying for any other jobs?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level

      "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."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Experienced

      "I am looking for a job that will provide me as much value as I am looking to contribute to an organization, so yes, I am in the process of exploring opportunities at companies that appeal to me."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

  • 3.

    A nurse must have high integrity. When have you shown great integrity at work?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level

      "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."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Experienced

      "I show integrity every day at work by being my true self. The "me" that you see at work is the "me" that my family and friends get. I am an honest and genuine person."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Community Answer

      "I believe integrity is one of my strengths. I am honest and open towards my work which provides me positive energy and courage."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      I recommend digging into this answer further and treating it as a 'tell me about a time when...' type of question. Think of a story the describes a time when you showed integrity and then deliver the story-example using the STAR framework.

  • 4.

    How many days were you absent from work last year?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 5.

    How do you deal with uncomfortable situations?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 6.

    How do you get along with your fellow nurses and physicians?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 7.

    Who would you say inspires you?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 8.

    Have you progressed in your nursing career as you have expected?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 9.

    When a patient suffers a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 10.

    How do you like to be recognized for your nursing accomplishments?

      How to Answer

      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?

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 11.

    Have you obtained prescriptive authority?

      How to Answer

      It is highly recommended that clinical nurse specialists obtain prescriptive authority. Not only does this strengthen you as a health care professional, but it also benefits your patients! This is a simple yes and no answer; however, if you do not currently have prescriptive authority you should discuss your interest in gaining this credential.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 12.

    What are some highlights of your internship?

      How to Answer

      You likely have a long list of experiences worth sharing! After logging your internship hours, you have learned about treating everything from broken bones to infectious diseases. Stick to a couple of notable highlights to avoid rambling on in your answer. Make sure they are memorable so that you become a candidate not quickly forgotten!

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 13.

    Describe a recent issue you had with a doctor or co-worker's decision. How did you handle it?

      How to Answer

      You won't always agree with the decisions of other professionals at your facility. That's a reality of being a nurse; however, your response is far more important than your opinion in those situations. If you argue or put up a fuss, you're not helping the case. When the doctor decides what they believe is best, taking a step down and following orders might indeed be your best option.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 14.

    Would people say that you are compassionate?

      How to Answer

      Do you encourage others, show kindness and respect to others? Then you are a compassionate person! One of the best qualities to have as a CNS is to be kind and caring. It's important to let the interviewer know that your compassion isn't turned on and off like a switch. Your kindness spills into your daily routine and to those around you. Show the interviewer that you are a genuine and caring person in your personal life as well as at work by sharing a quick, and applicable, story.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 15.

    Which automated medical records software are you trained in? Rate your technical abilities from 1-10.

      How to Answer

      A clinical nurse specialist should be tech savvy and able to pick up new medical records software quickly. You should also be at least an intermediate skill level when it comes to typing, data entry, and creating word documents. Rate your skill level and list the types of programs and software in which you are best versed.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 16.

    What type of medical equipment are you best versed in?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know the type of equipment that you have spent the most time with. Your answer will allow them to gauge if you would be prepared to train other nurses on the use of the equipment or use the devices with minor levels of supervision. You can rate your skills from 1-10 or application language such as beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert. If specific types of equipment are mentioned in the job posting or job description, be sure to say those as well.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 17.

    We are looking for a CNS with exceptional leadership skills. Tell me about your leadership qualities.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know what you consider to be strong leadership qualities. When describing leadership qualities, try to avoid general terms and give some unique ideas.

      A great leader is someone who people naturally want to follow. They have exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships with nearly any personality type. A respected leader will take ownership of their mistakes and will always lead their team by example. True leaders see the importance of motivating others and recognizing even the smallest achievements. Which of these qualities do you most identify with?

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 18.

    Would you say you are a better verbal or written communicator?

      How to Answer

      A clinical nurse specialist must be highly skilled in both written, and verbal, communication. In which manner do you prefer to communicate - written or oral? Discuss your preference with the interviewer and support your answer.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 19.

    In which states are you registered to work as a clinical nurse specialist?

      How to Answer

      A clinical nurse specialist must be registered with their appropriate state. Assure the interviewer that you are registered and legally able to operate as a CNS in the state which you are interviewing. Your answer should remain simple. If you have supporting documentation, bring this with you.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 20.

    Do you have a Master's Degree or a Post-Master's Certificate? If so, what is your area of specialty?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like a short overview of your post-secondary education. There is no need to go into significant depth when answering this question; however, you should include a bit about your GPA, any special awards or accolades you may have received. Include your specialty if that is applicable information.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 21.

    Have you had the opportunity to teach an important skill to a co-worker?

      How to Answer

      Interviewers want to hear that you have experience teaching or mentoring other employees one-on-one. This could include registered nurses or junior hospital staff.

      You may have taught a new hire all of your department's standard processes. Perhaps you taught a long-standing employee how to use a newly implemented medical records software. All of these scenarios are great examples to draw on. Better yet, if you have personally seen someone struggling with workplace skills or knowledge, approached them, and offered to mentor them, it is a shining example of leadership!

      Whatever your scenario may be, tell the interviewer what you helped the person with, while highlighting the positive outcome of their skills improvement.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 22.

    What do you know about our hospital?

      How to Answer

      When the interviewer asks this question, they are trying to gauge how prepared you are, and your level of interest in the position. An employer wants to know you are enthusiastic about their organization.

      Express how keen you are by doing your research on the hospital's history, values, goals, and by examining their culture and what makes them unique. To really impress the interviewer, pay special attention to their online reviews, employee reviews, special mentions in the news, or community involvement.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 23.

    As a CNS you will be on your feet most of the day, and often lifting patients. Are you able to meet the physical demands of this role?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know that you can handle the demanding physical requirements associated with nursing. Every day, you will need to lift patients, walk around the hospital, stand for long periods of time, move equipment and beds, and all with a smile on your face! Assure the interviewer that you are capable of meeting these physical demands.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 24.

    What are your salary expectations?

      How to Answer

      Before your interview, make sure you have researched the median salary for the position (and location). You can look at salary reviews on Glassdoor.com or Payscale.com.

      Consider giving a salary range. Providing a range allows you to negotiate down the road if you are given an offer. However, if you just tell the employer you are looking for $50K it doesn't leave room for negotiating later on. Also, make sure the lowest number of your range is something you are comfortable with!

      Another great option is to tell the interviewer what you are currently earning and tell them that you are seeking a competitive offer.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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  • 25.

    Tell me about a time when you made a mistake with a patient. What happened and how did you correct it?

      How to Answer

      We are all human, and the interviewer is looking to see how you've handled past mistakes. Don't try to fool the interviewer by stating you've never made a mistake. Instead, indicate the error, how you corrected it and what you learned from it. Don't play the blame game. The interviewer is asking for your mistake, not a facility mistake.

      Written by Heather Douglass

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