MockQuestions

Critical Care Nurse Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Critical Care Nurse interview, here are 30 interview questions and answer examples.

Critical Care Nurse was written by and updated on January 31st, 2023. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 30

Do you feel like you have strong relationship-building skills?

How to Answer

Building strong relationships is essential for the success of any business. The healthcare industry is no exception. Share why you think you have good relationship-building skills.

Written by Heather Douglass

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30 Critical Care Nurse Interview Questions & Answers

  • Behavioral

    1. Do you feel like you have strong relationship-building skills?

      How to Answer

      Building strong relationships is essential for the success of any business. The healthcare industry is no exception. Share why you think you have good relationship-building skills.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I do feel like I have good relationship-building skills. I like people and enjoy getting to know them."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      1st Answer Example

      "I have often been complimented on my relationship-building skills. I like to get to know people and ask them questions about themselves; I find it's a great and simple way to start building rapport with others. I consider myself a strong relationship builder and take pride in my people skills."

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Experienced Example

      "I believe I have strong relationship-building skills. I value the opinions of others and try to show respect to them. I find that having a caring attitude and a willingness to learn about others helps build relationships."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Yes, I have strong relationship-building skills. I am able to form a good rapport with my patients and their families. For instance, had a patient family member in our Fastrack department and she remembered me from when her dad was hospitalized and she told me how much her father felt taken care of when I was his nurse and how he's usually very anxious in the hospital but I was able to make him feel safe.

      Building relationships within the healthcare team, I always make sure to introduce myself to new team members, ask my partners if they need help, and always jump in to help my fellow nurses out. For example, my buddy nurse had a new admission and her call bells were going off in her other rooms so I took it upon myself to answer the call bells to ensure her other patients were safe as well as prevent alarm fatigue in the department by allowing the bells to just keep ringing."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good! This is a good example, but I would devote time to explaining how you dealt with the patient. What actions did you take to deliver such excellent care? Then, you can explain the result of these actions by explaining the compliment you received as the end result of your care. The interviewer will want to hear how you went about achieving these great results.

  • Behavioral

    2. Have you ever been in a situation in which a co-worker put a patient in jeopardy? If so, how did you handle it?

      How to Answer

      If you have ever been faced with a situation that resulted in you having to make a judgment call that may have affected the job of a friend or co-worker, you know how disheartening it can be. However, nurses are bound by law to protect patients and co-workers by reporting anything inappropriate or dangerous. The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of identifying and reporting a situation if needed.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I have never been in a situation that required me to report a co-worker. Honestly, I hope I never experience a situation like that."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      1st Answer Example

      "I have experienced a time that I had to report a co-worker to my supervisor. One of my peers had a diabetic patient who had an insulin order per sliding scale. The nurse gave insulin to the patient without checking his blood sugar level first. She told me and asked me not to tell anyone. However, I knew that patient safety is the responsibility of everyone. So, I did notify the supervisor."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Experienced Example

      "When I worked at a long-term care facility, one of my co-workers was using a lift to transfer a patient. He did not have the belt fastened correctly, and the patient slipped onto the floor. This was an accident that could have been prevented. I had to write an incident report and turn the situation over to a supervisor."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have never had to report a co-worker. But if something was being done that was unsafe and put the patient's life in jeopardy I would definitely approach that coworker as well as go through the proper channels to make sure it was rectified and never happened again. For example, PSLS reporting."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good! It's an excellent strategy to answer this type of question hypothetically if you don't have an example to share. To enhance your answer, explain why PSLS reporting is, why you would be bound to use it under these circumstances, and how you would use it. It's a good opportunity to show your knowledge of this important topic.

  • Behavioral

    3. Have you ever received negative feedback, and how did you handle it?

      How to Answer

      Receiving negative feedback can be discouraging, but it doesn't have to be something that leaves you feeling incapable of doing your job. The important thing to remember when answering this question is don't talk negatively about the person who gave you the feedback. Rather state what was said and how you grew from the event.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I once received negative feedback when I was working the ER. One of my patient's mother was very upset that her child was not being treated as quickly as she thought and she complained to my supervisor that I was not doing my job. After talking with the supervisor, I asked if I could spend some extra time with the patient and his mother so that she could experience the good care that we give. Fear and uncertainty is often a reason that people lash out. Sometimes a gentle word is all that one needs to help relieve a stressful situation."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      1st Answer Example

      "I remember when I first began my nursing career, I thought I had to do everything for everyone. I ended up taking on too many tasks and falling behind with my assignments. One of my supervisors told me that a patient had complained because I seemed too rushed and asked for a new nurse to be assigned to her. I was so embarrassed because I didn't want anyone to feel like I couldn't do my job. I apologized to the supervisor and to my patient and explained that I had taken on some extra assignments, but that I didn't mean to make her feel neglected. When I apologized, the patient agreed to let me continue caring for her. I learned from that experience that it's ok to want to give more, but that I should not stretch myself too thin and risk
      compromising patient care."

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Experienced Example

      "I am sure that anyone who works in the healthcare industry for any amount of time will learn that receiving negative feedback is not always a truly 'negative' thing. People respond to situations differently. I recall I once received a negative rating on one of my evaluations. It was a disheartening experience because I really pride myself on doing good work. I scheduled a time to sit and talk with my supervisor and understand his point of view with regard to the negative rating and made a plan of action to improve on the issue."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Yes and I prefer to refer to it as constructive feedback. I was told by a nursing instructor to stop using minimizing language like "just" or "ill try" and to stop saying "sorry" so much as this did not demonstrate confidence and minimized what I was actually saying or trying to achieve with the patient. For example, I would ask the doctor for something but would always preface it with sorry to bother you, when in fact my job is to fill the doctor in on patient conditions I should not apologize for doing my job."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good! And how did you then apply this feedback? Did it make you a better or more confident nurse? A bit more detail about growing from the feedback would enhance your answer.

  • Behavioral

    4. Tell me about a time you were trusted with confidential information regarding a patient's care.

      How to Answer

      Working within the medical career field you are trusted with sensitive information each day. Don't fall into this trap and answer this question with a story containing confidential information, people will view your answer negatively and view you as not being trustworthy. If you choose to tell about a situation be sure to be vague and not use names or too many details.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I am expected to keep all information confidential every day, so there is not just one instance that I can refer to. I believe in practicing within legal and ethical bounds and keeping patient's confidence is one way I do that."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "As a technical partner, I am responsible for keeping all information about the patient confidential. I need to stay within the bounds of HIPAA to protect patients' privacy."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Respecting patients' privacy is of critical importance, and it's great that you mention HIPAA as well. Since this question is asking for a specific 'time when...' do you have a story to share with the interviewer, related to work experience/internship/education?

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  • Compatibility

    5. Do you participate in any outreach or volunteer work?

      How to Answer

      Although being a community volunteer is not a requirement for employment, willingness to give your time and resources to others without compensation shows the interviewer that you have a sincere desire to serve others. If you have volunteered, share a positive experience you had as a volunteer. If you have not volunteered, it is not necessary to embellish your answer. Stating that you have not volunteered previously will not disqualify you from employment.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I have volunteered at MedCamps for kids a few summers. I do think community involvement is important."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Yes, I love to give back to the community. I volunteer through my school community and my temple. Collecting money to support childhood cancer and within soup kitchens. There is no greater pleasure than give to individuals that you know appreciate your efforts, and you don't expect anything in return."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Wonderful answer! Hiring authorities are much more likely to choose candidates who have a background of volunteer work so, all of this involvement should give you an excellent edge.

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  • Compatibility

    6. Do you feel comfortable working with clinical nursing students in the critical care setting?

      How to Answer

      While not every nurse is required to mentor students, most healthcare facilities have nursing and other healthcare students who rotate through different departments to achieve their required training hours. If you are comfortable mentoring or would like an opportunity, this is a good time to share that with the interviewer.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I am new to critical care, and although I have every confidence in my skills, I think I would prefer to have a little more personal experience as a critical care nurse before I mentor students in that area."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Yes, I would love to mentor students and I had the opportunity to do a little mentoring at my previous position. We would often have ESN students as well as preceptorship students and I loved working with them because it not only helped me take a step back and rationalize why I was doing something but also reminded me how much I actually do know which was a big confidence boost. Lastly, I remember being a student so clearly and how important it is to have a nurse who wants a student and who wasn't voluntold. I am very friendly and non-threatening which I think makes me a great teacher because students were never afraid to approach me to ask questions which not only aided their overall learning but helped maintain a safe environment."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      A great answer which demonstrates your teamwork skills. Can you expand to explain how you ensure that nursing students don't pose a risk to patient care while you are working with them? Are there specific protocols you follow?

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  • Competency

    7. What are some aspects of your specialty that make it unique compared to other specialties?

      How to Answer

      This question gives the interviewer a chance to see your thoughts regarding being a critical care nurse. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. This is another opportunity to show what you thought was special about this specialty that led you to choose it as a career.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I am new to critical care, so I may not be qualified to make comparisons. I feel comfortable saying that I chose to work in critical care because I have a focused interest in pathophysiology and its associated medical conditions and treatments. I also have a desire to assist patients in critical situations, whether it is to optimize their health or, at least to make end-of-life a gentler process for all involved."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "As a new nurse, it is hard to compare specialties. I believe that critical care is unique in the fact that you can dive deep into the patients' pathophysiology for their underlying condition. I have a desire to understand a patient's condition and treatment fully. I also appreciate the amount of knowledge that critical care nurses have."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your interest and understanding of what critical care requires are very apparent in your answer. Good job!

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  • Direct

    8. Nurses at our facility often work on rotation. Are you willing to work, nights, weekends, holidays, or overtime if needed?

      How to Answer

      Being flexible with the schedule you are willing to work is always a plus. However, many people work more than one job or have a one parent home which requires them to have a flexible schedule. Others simply prefer to work one shift rather than another. Being upfront with the interviewer about what schedule suits your preference could help prevent conflict later on. It is easier to plan a schedule you can agree on than it is to fix problems that arise due to fear of being rejected. Be honest and direct.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "While I am not unopposed to working overtime or extended schedules such as holidays, I would like to have the opportunity to spend time with small children, as well."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Yes, I am prepared to work a rotating schedule. My family is used to a bit of a chaotic schedule as we have other nurses in the family as well as pilots, so we are used to celebrating at times that work for us and not necessarily when everyone else is celebrating."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good! The reassurance is important. Is a rotating schedule necessarily "chaotic," though? It sounds like you've been able to adapt and create order from the demands of a rotating shift. If so, let the interviewer know that, and underscore that it would not be burdensome for you.

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  • Direct

    9. Have you ever considered relocation? If so, what area would you be willing to travel to?

      How to Answer

      While relocation may not be a determining factor for employment, larger companies almost always ask this question. The important thing to remember is if you are 100% confident that you are willing to relocate, answer yes. However, if there is any hesitation, there are ways to answer this question without an emphatic NO.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I love to travel, so I am open to traveling for work. My goal is to find a position within a company where I can grow. So, if I am offered a position with your company, I would be happy to discuss what area I would be most valuable to the company."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I recently relocated to Squamish and bought our first home so I do not see us relocated in the next couple of years."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Ok, fair enough. An honest answer is important to set expectations.

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  • Direct

    10. Do you anticipate any significant changes in your life within the next two to three years that may prevent you from continuing employment here if you are offered a position here?

      How to Answer

      Knowing what goals you have and any changes you anticipate in your life will allow the interviewer to evaluate two things - what positions are available that won't disrupt your plans and if you are interested in having a long-term relationship within the company. Either way, being upfront and honest is always appreciated.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "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 lives nearby and close ties to the community."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "No, I do not anticipate any significant changes. My family lives here, and I plan on staying in the area while I work on my BSN."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Straightforward and genuine. Good answer!

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  • Discovery

    11. Why do you think you are a good critical care nurse?

      How to Answer

      This is a chance for you to 'sell yourself' to the interviewer. Share what you think sets you apart from other critical care nurses who may be applying. Remember, be positive. Make sure to mention some of your personal qualities, such as compassion, rather than only your hard skills.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I am passionate about being a good nurse and doing all I can to make a difference in the lives of my patients. I am a hard worker and believe in teamwork. I believe I could be an asset to the team of critical care nurses you have here."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am passionate about nursing and want to make a difference in the life of the patient. I am a hard worker and eager to learn. I believe I will make a great asset to the team."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It seems you are ready to take your new career by storm, learning everything that you can, while making a very positive impact on others.

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  • Discovery

    12. Tell me a bit about yourself.

      How to Answer

      Critical care nurses work hands-on with patients in the worst conditions imaginable daily. On top of this, the high amount of pressure and stress in the workplace creates an environment that takes a very special individual to succeed. Knowing that they're getting a well-rounded and stable individual gives nursing managers confidence that the nurse they hire will come to their team with an infectious personality to win over patients and colleagues. In allowing you to talk about yourself, the interviewer is ideally looking to hear that you have the background and experience to survive and thrive in the fast-paced critical care environment and that you are caring, nurturing, and empathetic person by nature.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "As you can see from my resume, I'm in the final year of my nursing program and very excited to hit the workforce with a reputable institution like yours. Having had clinical rotation opportunities in your CCU has led me to formally apply for a full-time role here. My fiance and I are excited to make this our forever home, where we can enjoy city life and stay close to our friends. We love to play sports throughout the year, including co-ed softball and volleyball. We also stay active by training for marathons, which keeps me in great shape for 12-hour shifts."

      Written by Ryan Brunner on January 31st, 2023

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  • Discovery

    13. What are your primary interests outside of work?

      How to Answer

      No matter what profession a person chooses, everyone needs some time to unwind and relax. Psychologists today say that a healthy balance in life allows a person to recharge and refocus which can result in better productivity at work. The interviewer simply wants to know what you do for you. Maybe you have a favorite pastime or hobby. This is yet another way for the interviewer to get to know you as a person.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I really enjoy working out at the gym and, I also take a kickboxing class twice weekly. After a good workout or class, I always feel like I can rest better and wake up energized and ready for the next day."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I believe in a good work-life balance as much as I love being a nurse I also make time for other activities outside of work. My primary interests include playing in the mountains; hiking, biking, and just recently started rock climbing. Getting outside is how I decompress and recharge. I also enjoy journaling and recently got back into painting as a creative outlet."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good! It sounds like you are well-rounded and able to keep the balance well!

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  • Discovery

    14. What would you consider your biggest weakness?

      How to Answer

      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 phlebotomist.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "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 has become something I am aware of. I now try to attend social activities where I know there will be opportunities to meet new people so that I can overcome social anxiety."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I would say my biggest weakness is that I sometimes take on more than I can handle. I am a new nurse with this determination of not wanting to fail or seeming inadequate to my coworkers. I found it was tough for me at times to find the courage to delegate tasks to my TP, who are more seasoned around patients than me. Building bonds with my team comes naturally to me, so with that as well as good communication, I was able to learn to delegate more."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Fantastic answer! You show some vulnerability, which the interviewer should appreciate, but also a lot of confidence when it comes to facing this weakness and improving. Nicely done.

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  • Discovery

    15. What is your greatest fear about being a critical care nurse?

      How to Answer

      We all have things that make us feel afraid from time to time. Recognizing them is the first step in overcoming them. This question is an opportunity for the interviewer to get to know you. Being willing to talk openly to someone about things like this shows your softer side, which is important when you are trying to build a good rapport during an interview.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I think we all fear something on one level or another. I fear I may miss something when caring for a patient. At the end of the day, I want to go home knowing that I did everything I could to improve my patients' lives."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My biggest fear is feeling inadequate alongside my colleagues and failing as a new nurse"”the last thing I would ever want to happen is to harm a patient. I always want to leave, knowing that I did everything in my scope of practice to improve my patient's condition."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Failing in a new career is a legitimate fear, and you show a lot of realness in your response. What will you do in your first year, for instance, to overcome this fear?

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  • Discovery

    16. What would you say is your greatest strength as a critical care nurse?

      How to Answer

      Understanding one's own strengths and weaknesses is critical. It is always a good idea to read over the job description of the job for which you are applying while preparing for an interview. Compare your strengths to the required skills listed in the job overview highlight those when the interviewer asks this question.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "One of my strengths is definitely being able to multitask. Working critical care often means having several patients with multiple needs from medications to treatments. Being able to handle multiple tasks effectively, I believe, is essential as a critical care nurse."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I would say that my greatest strength would be my communication skills. It is crucial to be able to communicate effectively with patients, families, and others within the interdisciplinary healthcare team."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Communication skills are very important, indeed! I recommend speaking further about your communication style, really breaking it down for the interviewer.

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  • Discovery

    17. In your opinion, what personality type is best suited toward this specialty?

      How to Answer

      Each person you meet has his own personality. Certain jobs require specific characteristics of those who are performing the job. The interviewer really wants to know what you would consider a valuable characteristic or trait of someone who is providing care to critically ill patients.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I believe nurses, as a whole, should have a caring and compassionate personality. We see people at their worst. They are sick and often afraid. It is up to us to be patient and kind as we are working and caring for others."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Adaptability! Nursing requires you to think on your feet and prioritize. Each patient is unique and may not respond the same way as the previous patient with a similar presentation, so it is important to be able to adapt your nursing care to suit each patient's unique needs. Patients will have different emotional and medical needs. How patients and their families react to the stress of being in the hospital can be unpredictable and requires nurses to be adaptable and flexible with how to manage their care to achieve the best patient outcomes."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great! You make the case very well and I can see why a more rigid style would not work well.

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  • Discovery

    18. What advice would you give to a nurse looking to enter your field of nursing?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "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."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "There are good and bad days, but if it is a passion for you I would jump in with both feet. There is a lot of on-the-job learning, but ask for help when you need it, learn from your mistakes and be open to the learning opportunities as they present themselves."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Nice! You sound very knowledgeable about the field.

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  • Discovery

    19. Have you ever considered choosing a different career?

      How to Answer

      Many employee candidates are unsure of how to answer this question. Most feel that if they say they may have other interests that the interviewer will not recommend them for employment. This is not necessarily the case. This is simply an opportunity for the interviewer to get to know your interests.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "Actually, I had initially thought that I would become an attorney. There was just something about nursing and critical care that seemed to call me. I love what I do."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Nursing has fulfilled many of the criteria I look for in a career, good teamwork, helping people first hand, room for growth, flexibility, and stability. I love critical care and I see myself staying in this field for the long term. Within nursing, there are so many specialties and learning opportunities. I see myself being a nurse until the day I retire."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good start! You may want to add a thought at the beginning of your answer that addresses the question directly. If you have considered other careers, why did you ultimately choose a career in nursing? If you've only ever considered a career in nursing, let the interviewer know that - it demonstrates "a calling" and will underscore your commitment to the field.

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  • Discovery

    20. What makes you feel you will be a good fit for our organization?

      How to Answer

      Rather than just sharing how you have gone above and beyond expectations in the past, focus on how your qualities will help you meet and exceed expectations with their organization. Discuss the reasons why will you be great at this job. Talk about your qualifications and skills that will help you to do this job well. If you can, match your strengths to the requirements outlined in the job description.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I feel I have the education and skills necessary to become an asset to your organization and I believe, given the opportunity, I can prove that."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am passionate about critical care nursing and my education, as well as clinical experience and training, have given me the confidence to excel in this position. I build strong interpersonal relationships quickly, have a positive attitude, and I work well both independently as well as within a team."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great! I would recommend adding more detail by summarizing your clinical experience and how it makes you a fit for the position.

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  • Discovery

    21. If you were the person responsible for hiring new employees, what qualities would you look for in a candidate, and do you think you possess those qualities?

      How to Answer

      There is more than one reason for asking this question. First, the interviewer wants to know what qualities you think are important to perform this job. Second, and most importantly, your answer will tell the interviewer if you hold yourself to the same standard as you do others. If you want to see certain characteristics in your peers, you should be able to tell the interviewer with confidence that you possess those traits, as well. This question is one that interviewers often use to distinguish sincerity on the part of the candidate.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "If I were hiring someone, I would look for someone who is passionate about the job and about patient care. I also feel that being approachable and willing to learn is very important."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "If I were responsible for hiring a new employee, I would look for someone passionate about the job and patient care. I also feel like the willingness to learn new things and adapt is essential in healthcare. I do believe that I possess these qualities."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      You make some excellent points, and these are fantastic qualities for a critical care nurse to possess. Can you speak more about the ways in which you exude these qualities?

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  • Diversity

    22. Do you have experience working with peers from diverse backgrounds?

      How to Answer

      In an industry as large as healthcare, diversity among peers is inevitable. To be successful, it is crucial to learn how to work with a diverse group of people. Some people are intimidated when faced with learning new cultures and beliefs, but in the healthcare industry, it is crucial to provide effective care. The interviewer wants to know that you are open to meeting and learning about new people and becoming an integral part of the team. Be positive with your response.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "The largest diverse group I worked with was probably when I did my clinical rotation at University Medical Center. I was afforded the opportunity to meet people from different cultures, religions, and professional backgrounds. It gave me an eye-opening experience of how many wonderful people there are!"

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Yes, I have worked with a diverse group of individuals and I try to learn something from each and every one of them. We all have different life experiences and backgrounds. One of the things I love about nursing is that each person can offer up a unique perspective. Within the nursing team, despite our differences, we are all working together to provide the best patient care and patient outcomes."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good start! Have you worked with international or culturally diverse colleagues? Can you provide more detail about them and how you were able to find common ground?

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  • EQ

    23. In addition to providing care to seriously ill patients, critical care nurses must attend to stressed out family members. How do you approach offering support to family members?

      How to Answer

      Patients in a critical care unit are facing uncertain outcomes. Family and patient supporters are naturally fraught with fear and anxiety. Communicating your compassion and knack for comforting others will show a hiring official how well-rounded you are as a nursing professional.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I know what it's like to be the family member who is worried about a loved one requiring critical care. I remember when my father was very ill. He had some nurses who were very kind and approachable. He had a few that were not so kind. I always try to remember how I felt when I was the one in need of support and to treat those family members with the same kind of respect and kindness that I wanted."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Every family is different. I believe that the best way to offer support to family members is to find time to sit with them and answer their questions to the best of your ability. Being able to communicate the patient's condition in a way they understand should that who care for their love one and help ease their stress."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It sounds as though you truly care about your patients and their families. My recommendation here is to replace 'you' with 'I' statements, making your answer more personal.

      "Every family is different. I believe that the best way I can offer support to family members is to find time to sit with them and answer their questions to the best of my ability. My approach will be to communicate the patient's condition in a way they, and their family, understand."

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  • Job Satisfaction

    24. What about your job as a critical care nurse gives you the most satisfaction?

      How to Answer

      We all have things that give us a feeling of accomplishment or satisfaction. The interviewer uses questions like this to get to know you, not just as a nurse, but as a person. Often the things that bring us satisfaction at work have a parallel in our personal lives that affect us in much the same way.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I think one of the most satisfying feelings is when I see a patient who has
      Been in a critical state who begins to improve and smiles at me. Sometimes words aren't needed. A smile or a nod from someone to show that they are aware that I am there and are glad about it is a great feeling."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Many aspects of critical care nursing bring me satisfaction, such as being a part of a cohesive team, serving a diverse population, but most of all I love seeing a patient who was critically ill walk out of the department and knowing that I was a part of helping them get home and back to their baseline. I remember a patient I had who was on BiPAP, they were concerned they would never be able to take him off, but after a strict medication regimen, patient education, and an exceptional interdisciplinary team, he turned a corner and we were able to discharge him home."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Very good! You manage to get a lot of information across in the short space of your answer that the interviewer is seeking. You're communicating knowledge, commitment, and empathy. Nice work.

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  • Organizational

    25. Working with critical care requires a great deal of attention to detail and often multi-tasking. What do you do to help keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed?

      How to Answer

      Managing the care of a patient in a critical care unit requires the ability to multi-task and ensure all details are checked and double-checked. A critically ill patient may be sedated, have several I.V. pumps and require regular doses of varied medications. In a critical care nursing interview, discuss your understanding of the importance of maintaining detailed records, performing multiple assessments and handling medications and procedures efficiently and accurately.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I have learned to recognize the things that may cause me to feel overwhelmed and try to address them before a situation gets out of hand. For example, I always like to make sure that all physician orders are clear before I begin a shift and report anything that seems to be out of order or any changes in patient status as they occur. This keeps things from piling up and leaving me feel overwhelmed later on."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Organization at the beginning of the shift, I find is key for me and continuing to reprioritize my tasks throughout the day. For example, I use cheatsheets and post-it notes. Also, I set timers on my watch to remind myself of time-sensitive medications or other interventions. I like to know the plan for the patient so I can make sure that their care and responses are in line with achieving those goals."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good answer! Explaining your process helps the interviewer envision how you'd stay in control, regardless of the circumstances. However, I would give an example of how you used your techniques. For example, how does a cheat sheet help you organize and stay in control?

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  • Problem Solving

    26. Do you feel you have good problem solving skills?

      How to Answer

      An interviewer knows the value of a critical care nurse with strong problem-solving skills. Each shift brings unexpected challenges and issues. Show your understanding and strength as a problem-solver. Further, explain how you know when a physician should be called in to help with the situation.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I do feel like I have good problem-solving skills. I like to think outside of the box and try to find the best way to resolve a problem. I also try to remember that although my job requires skill, I am not expected to know everything. If I need to call a supervisor or the position to assist, I always set my pride aside and ask for help."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I do feel like I have excellent problem-solving skills. I think that nursing school has prepared me well to be able to think through problems that may arise critically. Also, being able to rely on good teamwork is essential while trying to resolve an issue. It much easier when you have a good team on your side."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your emphasis on teamwork is excellent. You sound confident and collaborative. If desired, you could tell a brief story of a time when you solved an important problem at work.

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  • Salary

    27. Salary is often commensurate with experience. How do you feel about someone with more experience than you having a higher salary but doing the same job?

      How to Answer

      Most employers do offer higher salary incentives to get more seasoned employees. This is not meant to devalue a person's knowledge or experience, but rather paying for more experience. It is important to note that the interviewer is not saying you will definitely make less than someone with more experience. Many times this question is to see how you respond and how badly you want a position. If an employee is willing to put in the work and earn the pay increase, employers often see them as someone worth investing in. This is a good time to ask what the beginning salary is and discuss options that are negotiable such as benefits and paid time off.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I don't have a problem with someone who has more experience than me making a higher salary. I respect the experience that others have and know that I will have to prove myself."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Honestly, this doesn't bother me. As long as I feel I am being paid fairly for my level of experience. I believe that more experienced nurses should be rewarded and compensated appropriately for their expertise. Also know that a more experienced nurse was being paid more would only further motivate me to improve upon my nursing practice and set goals for myself to achieve higher levels of success. for instance, taking an online course or specialty nursing certificate."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good! Your answer reflects a reasonable position on the issue.

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  • Stress

    28. Working in the ICU can be very stressful. What are some ways you manage stress on the job?

      How to Answer

      Providing care for critically ill patients is inherently stressful. Each shift presents what could be a life-or-death situation. A hiring official needs to know that you can handle stress. Moreover, how you handle it speaks volumes. In a critical care nursing interview, be prepared to provide examples of how stress impacts you.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "I have always taken time to examine how I feel after a shift and healthily deal with my emotions. I like to write, so I use that as an outlet for any feelings that need to be resolved."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "How I manage stress on the job is to listen attentively to the previous nurse's report, make cheat sheets with patient information on them for each of my patients (room, name, diagnosis, previous med history, interventions done, and plan). If I am stressed I make sure to take some nice deep breaths and do one thing at a time. I only have two hands and don't want to rush as this can result in errors that can be harmful to patients. Also, I make sure that I prioritize the most unstable and sickest patients first using the ABC framework. Delegation and using the available resources to help with my patient care. For instance, calling in RT for assistance with a patient with respiratory concerns."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good. You're reflecting a process that you apply under all circumstances. To enhance your answer, tell the interviewer why you listen attentively to relieve stress? I assume that it helps you have confidence that you're managing care properly, but explain it more explicitly.

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  • Stress

    29. Why do you think critical care nurses often report experiencing 'burn out,' and what do you do to prevent that?

      How to Answer

      Being a healthcare provider is a great responsibility. Unfortunately, because of the great responsibility, many providers do report experiencing the need to take a break. The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of handling stress and that you know when to ask for help.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I had a great mentor when I was in nursing school. She told me if I didn't remember anything else she told me, that I should always remember to take care of myself. I have grown to understand what she meant. If we are bogged down physically and emotionally, it is easy to become overwhelmed and experience feeling burned out."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "It is in our nature as nurses to fix things and when we are unable to save a patient it can weigh heavy on our hearts. Critical care is an area of nursing where patients are very sick and sometimes despite our best efforts they cannot be saved. I know that I am an empath and I sometimes bring home things from work with me that were difficult, but I have coping mechanisms in place such as practicing yoga, getting out in nature, talking with loved ones, as well as journaling. All feelings are valid and should be felt but having coping mechanisms in place helps prevent burnout."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good! So the burnout that is often reported stems from losing patients? Are there other reasons for burnout, such as long hours or stressful circumstances?

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  • Technical

    30. What is a risk that is associated with a patient being in critical care and being bed bound?

      How to Answer

      There are many risk factors associated with people who are ill. Being bed bound creates additional risks. A critical care nurse understands what risk factors patients in requiring critical care have. Share an example with the interviewer.

      Written by Heather Douglass

      Entry Level Example

      "One of the risks that are associated with critical care patients is the development of pneumonia. Being unable to move around and often having difficulty with respiration causes fluid to pool in the lungs and the development of pneumonia."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Patients who are bedbound are at risk for pressure ulcers, pneumonia, atelectasis, paralytic ileus. Making it very important to reposition patients and to provide support and cushion especially around bony prominences."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great. Your answer is especially effective because you not only explain the risks but how you would mitigate them.

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