30 Questions and Answers Written by Heather Douglass
Updated on January 22nd, 2019
| Heather has over 20 years experience recruiting and hiring candidates, specifically in the health care industry.
Question 1 of 30
What is your favorite thing about being an LPN?
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Don't fret over questions like this. You don't have to have some elaborate answer to impress the interviewer. With all of the career choices out there, the interviewer is truly interested in what makes you love your job. You can share a personal experience or something that made you choose this career. Be transparent and genuine.
"There are several things I love about being an LPN. I am a people person, and as an LPN, I get to meet different people all the time. Whether it's patients, their family members, or new team members, I like to get to know others and find things that we have in common. I always want to leave a positive impression on everyone I meet."
Entry Level Example
"I love the feeling of seeing someone that I have been giving care to begin to recover. As a nurse, I often see people at their worst. When the care they receive begins to have a positive effect and they can begin to feel better, it is very satisfying."
"I love everything about being an LPN. While some days may be harder than others, depending on my patient's status or diagnosis, I still try to find something positive in each day. Being able to be a part of someone's life and provide care to them when they need it is a very satisfying feeling. I couldn't imagine myself in any other career."
If, during shift change, the nurse you are replacing told you to expect the narcotics count to be off because it was off when she began her shift, how would you handle the situation?
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State and federal guidelines mandate accurate record keeping of medications. No matter where you work as a nurse, part of the daily routine includes narcotics counts at the beginning and ending of each shift. The interviewer wants to know that you understand the importance of accurate record keeping and that you will handle any discrepancies within the legal guidelines.
"If I were taking over a shift and the nurse who worked before me told me about a discrepancy between the narcotics count book and the actual medications on hand, I would first ask her if we can do another count to verify the discrepancy. If the count does reflect that medications are missing, I would immediately report this to my supervisor. This is not about getting someone into trouble, but about being accountable for the safety and well being of my patients, myself, and the other staff. Medication errors are sometimes made, but it is my responsibility to make sure I notify the appropriate people (my supervisor) to determine where the error occurred and to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Entry Level Example
"Any time the count of medications does not match the record book, I would report the incident to my supervisor. While errors do occur, unfortunately, there could be other reasons for inaccurate counts. It is my responsibility to notify a supervisor. This puts the situation in the hands of someone with authority and protects me from any liability related to missing medications."
Have you ever received negative feedback from a supervisor, and if so, how did you handle it?
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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.
"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."
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."
"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."
Now is your time to get answers to your questions that have come up based on your grueling interview. Steer clear of salary, benefits and other questions that might make you sound pushy or that you are trying to negotiate the terms of a job that hasn't been offered to you yet. Take this time to clarify questions of what hours you will be working, what type of patients they see most of and why the interviewer enjoys working for this hospital.
How do you approach dealing with an angry patient, and why?
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Knowing how you will handle a difficult situation will tell the interviewer if you have the the right attitude for this job. Being a physician means you have to deal with people from very different backgrounds and with varying personalities. Give the interviewer an example of how you would handle an angry patient.
"I believe acting calmly and speaking rationally is a great way to calm someone who is angry and I try to be the voice of reason without making someone feel that I am belittling them."
Entry Level Example
"I think it is important to try and find out what has made the patient mad. If it is something such as not being called as quickly as he had expected, a simple explanation regarding what caused the delay may help calm him."
"There are a couple of different approaches and safety is, of course, the most important thing to consider. A patient who is angry could become combative which could result in injury to him, to me, or to both of us. I feel the best approach is to ask what has made the patient upset and try to resolve the underlying cause, if at all possible."
6. What is one of your weaknesses and what do you do to help address/resolve it? This is probably one of the most dreaded questions in a job interview. Answering this question requires self evaluation and honesty. Remember, whatever weakness you decide to share, make sure it is not a key characteristic needed to perform your job as a medical office manager. Here is an answer example: "I think one of my biggest weaknesses is that I can get sidetracked easily. I recognize that in myself and have made a conscious effort to plan my day as much as possible and to stay on target." Here is an entry level answer example: "I know you may not think this about someone who has chosen a career as a medical office manager, but one of my weaknesses is that I often get nervous around people I don't know. I know we all do that to a certain degree, but for me, it became something that I was very aware of. I now try to attend social activities where I know there are going to be opportunities to meet new people so that I can overcome social anxiety." Here is an experienced answer example: "My biggest weakness has to be that I take on too many projects at once. While being involved and participating in various things is fun and can be good for a person, I tend to take on several things and then leave some projects unfinished. I have begun to limit myself to only taking on a few projects at a time so that I can devote the necessary time to staying on task."7. If you were the LPN in a clinic and your 15 yr old patient asked you to withhold the results of a positive urine drug screen from her parents, how would you respond? Recent polls of adolescent patients (under the age of 18) have shown a tendency to not seek medical care or treatment if that care cannot be independent of a parent or guardian. Among those patients polled, many of them stated that there were certain topics that they do not want their parents to know about (sexual activity, presence or treatment of STDs, and alcohol or drug abuse). Many said that they would prefer to have no treatment at all if notification of their parents was required. As an addiction nurse, some of your patients will be younger than the legal age of consent for treatment. Knowing the law and how it affects what information you can or cannot provide is crucial. The interviewer wants to know that you are not only familiar with the law, but that you are able to explain legal issues to your patient so that she understands. Here is an answer example: "I have had patients in the past who did not want their parents to know certain test results. While I understand some situations may cause a patient to feel reservation about disclosing information, I would explain to the patient that, because of her age, I cannot keep the information regarding her test results from her parents." Here is an experienced answer example: "Experienced: "Every state has laws that allow minors to give their own consent for certain kinds of health care, such as emergency, general health, contraceptive, pregnancy-related, HIV or other STD, substance abuse and mental health care. Each state also has some laws that allow minors to consent for care if they are emancipated, mature, living apart from their parents, or older than a certain age. Many of these laws have been in place for several decades. It is commonly accepted that if an adolescent is allowed to give consent for healthcare, the information pertaining to that care is considered confidential. While many minor consent laws contain explicit provisions regarding the disclosure of information to parents, some do not allow disclosure without the minor's permission. Others, still, leave the decision about disclosure to the physician's discretion. With all of that in mind, I believe it is important for healthcare professionals to be aware of their state's laws regarding privacy and to also know the guidelines set in place within their facility."8. If you suspected that one of your co-workers was abusing drugs, how would you handle the situation? Nursing can be a very stressful job at times. Statistics show that there has been an increase of healthcare providers who abuse prescription drugs or illegal substances. Unfortunately this trend creates more stress on the healthcare providers who do not abuse drugs. The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of identifying signs of drug abuse and that you will make professional decisions to ensure the safety of your patients and the healthcare team. Here is an answer example: "It is impossible to give proper care to others if we are working in an impaired state. If I suspected that a co-worker was abusing drugs, I would ask to speak to my supervisor privately and disclose my concerns." Here is an entry level answer example: "I would direct any suspicion of drug abuse to my supervisor right away. Working while under the influence of any drug, illegal or not, could impair a nurse's ability to provide proper care. I am obligated, in the interest of protecting my patients, to report any concerns to my supervisor so that he can assess the situation." Here is an experienced answer example: "First, I would ask my coworker if he/she is feeling well. There are illnesses, such as diabetes, that can mimic intoxication if they are not properly managed. Talking to my coworker will give me an idea of what may be going on. This is important because it is my duty to report any concerns to my supervisor. While the symptoms may be a true health issue that is mimicking drug or alcohol use, it is my responsibility to report suspicions to my supervisor so that he can get to the source of the issue."9. What is something that you think people may not know or understand about LPNs that you would like for them to know? Many people know what nurses do, but unless they are members of the nursing industry, may not understand the differences in the roles of LPNs and RNs. One thing that is important to remember when answering this is to make your answer positive. If the proper verbiage isn't used, you could appear to devalue the LPN role in comparison to the RN role. The interviewer wants to know that you can appreciate the value of your role as an LPN. Here is an answer example: "I think that people who are not nurses or are not familiar with the nursing industry hear 'LPN' and often think that we don't have critical nursing skills like RNs. The truth is, LPNs provide a great deal of hands-on care to patients, and that care requires learning very critical nursing skills. I think many LPNs sell themselves short because they haven't sought a higher degree, and I really feel like it is important for us to learn that we are a valuable part of a multi-dimensional team." Here is an entry level answer example: "I believe that many times non-medical people don't realize the roles that an LPN can fill in the life of a patient or their loved ones. We are just one part of a team of people who have the common goal of wellness for our clients. I think the focus should be more on the fact that we all work together and are able to provide effective care when we have respect toward one another, no matter what title one holds."10. What would you do if a patient complained to you about one of your coworker's conduct toward him/her? This question aims to test your knowledge of internal procedures used within healthcare establishments. While the exact protocol for this may be specific to the place you're applying, there are general rules that should be followed by all healthcare providers, no matter which facility you work in. It is important to explain that all complaints must be handled seriously and be directed to the appropriate member of staff so that appropriate action can be taken. Emphasise that patient concerns should never be ignored. Here is an answer example: "It is unfortunate that situations like this ever occur. However, when they do, patient safety and concerns should always be acknowledged. If a patient presented a complaint to me, I would notify my immediate supervisor and give him whatever information I have so that he can investigate the validity of any allegations and act accordingly." Here is an entry level answer example: "I've never had a patient complain to me about one of my coworkers. If I were to be faced with this situation, I would assure the patient that I will talk to my supervisor so that he can help address the situation. I believe it is important to let a patient know that any concerns will be addressed, but to not 'choose sides,' as this can make the situation worse. I believe that leaving the responsibility of investigating the complaint with my supervisor is the most appropriate action to take."11. Has there ever been a time when you felt threatened by a patient? If so, how did/would you handle the situation? Healthcare providers work with risks daily. Whether it's the risk of being exposed to an illness, possible injury from lifting heavy patients or equipment, or the risk of being hurt by a patient who is angry or aggressive. For nurses and other healthcare providers who work with patients who suffer from addictions, this risk is increased, especially during the detox period when patients are agitated and feel more 'on edge.' The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of handling a stressful, potentially threatening situation. Remember to exhibit signs of professionalism, even in the most tense situation. Here is an answer example: "There have been a few times that I have felt threatened. Unfortunately, drugs make people act completely out of character at times. I have learned when I feel threatened to try to remain calm and talk with a level tone. Screaming and shouting does nothing but make a situation worse. If a patient acts aggressive or threatening, I ask him to calm down so that we both are safe and so that I can help him. Usually, once boundaries are established, most patients will calm down. However, as a precaution, I still make sure that a supervisor is aware of the threatening behavior. We can't take care of our patients if we are being threatened or are hurt by an aggressive patient." Here is an entry level answer example: "So far, I am thankful to say that I have never been threatened by a patient. There are times when tensions are high, especially when a client is going through the detoxification period. I always try to stay aware of my surroundings and , if I do feel like things are getting tense, I like to notify my team leader so that we can work together to make sure patients and staff are all safe."12. If the Registered Nurse on your unit told you that she had prepared a Rocephin injection, but now has an emergency to attend to and asked you to administer the injection, how would you respond? One of the first rules of medication administration is that you should not administer any medication that you did not prepare yourself. Unfortunately, many new or inexperienced nurses are sometimes left feeling that if someone in a supervisory position makes a request like this, they should comply. The interviewer wants to know that you are willing to protect the patient, yourself, and do what is right, even if it means declining a supervisor's request for you to perform a job. Here is an answer example: "I understand that emergencies sometimes arise, but I was taught early in nursing school to never administer any medication that I did not prepare myself. If the RN asked me to administer an injection that she had prepared, I would tell her that I can't use the medication she prepared. I would offer to either draw up a new injection myself and give it, or to assist with the emergency situation so that she could administer the injection and then assist with the emergency, as well." Here is an entry level answer example: "If the RN asked me to administer an injection that I didn't prepare, I would tell her that, although I don't feel comfortable administering something that I didn't prepare myself, I would be happy to assist her in any other way."13. Nursing can be very demanding at times. How do you prioritize when multiple patients seem to demand your attention at once? Working in any patient unit or clinic comes with times where the patient load is crazy. During these times, nurses are often the glue that holds everything together in the department to ensure that things run smoothly. Try to talk about a particular situation where you had to prioritize multiple patients at one time, how you handled the situation and what the outcome was. Here is an answer example: "During busy times, I always remember that the needs of the patient come first so my triage skills come into use to prioritize the order in which I provide patient care. Exercising good communication between myself, the physicians and my patients is extremely important. Once I have established a good line of communication, I remember to stay calm and handle patients with quality care one at a time." Here is an entry level answer example: "During my clinical rotation in an Urgent Care clinic, we had a very busy day where many patients were coming in due to widespread flu. In working with my preceptor, I learned how to communicate to patients. His calmness in handling the situation was inspiring. Also, personally, during my final year of coursework in college, I was taking 18 credits each semester. During these semesters, I had to learn to prioritize my classwork by due dates and order of importance. By utilizing checklists and working through each thing one at a time, I learned invaluable skills that I have brought into my nursing career." Here is an experienced answer example: "One day I was working a shift as a nurse in the emergency room. There were already several patients in the ER, then we had a couple of other trauma cases that were a high priority come in due to an auto accident. When this happened, we had to work as a team to communicate to current patients and family members who were waiting that an emergency situation had occurred and their wait times may be affected. In the end, being able to prioritize the patients and my duties was crucial in helping the day in the surgery center run smoothly."14. What motivates you to do a good job? This question is practically begging you to highlight your positive attributes. So don't give a vague, generic response - it tells them very little about you. Instead, try and use this question as an opportunity to give the interviewer some insight into your character, and use examples where possible. Here is an answer example: "I've always been motivated by the challenge of a tough patient. In my last role, I came across a particular patient who refused a handful of nurses before he was assigned to me. I was able to find something we had in common, which calmed him down. After the patient saw me make an effort to better understand his situation, he became much more agreeable to the care I was offering him. I love facing and overcoming challenges on such a personal level." Here is an entry level answer example: "The feeling of knowing that I have the chance to improve the quality of life for someone really motivates me. There is just something about knowing that I can have a small part in the life of someone who is trusting me to care for them." Here is an experienced answer example: "I can think of several things that motivate me to do a good job. First, and most importantly, is knowing that patients and their family's trust me to care for them. At the end of the day ,I always want to feel like I gave my very best and made a positive impact on someone."15. Do you find it easy to gain the trust of others? What are some things that you think are important to do to help others feel that you are trustworthy? Having a career in healthcare requires the ability to establish trust between the nurse, patient, and, if they are present, family members. The interviewer wants to know that you not only have an understanding of the importance of establishing trust and that you can identify means by which to do so. Here is an answer example: "Not everyone trusts easily. I believe it is better to under promise and over deliver. What I mean is, I would rather go above and beyond what has been asked of me rather than to tell a patient or coworker that I am going to do something and not follow through with it. Personal accountability is crucial in building trust with others." Here is an entry level answer example: "I believe that people truly have a desire to be able to trust others, especially those of us who are providing care to them. I have learned that being direct and honest are qualities that patients value in a nurse and it helps them to feel like that can be honest with me, in turn, which is crucial in building a trusting relationship."16. In addition to providing care to ill clients, nurses must attend to stressed out family members. How do you approach offering support to family members? It is natural for caregivers to be afraid and experience anxiety.. Communicating your compassion and knack for comforting others will show an interviewer how well-rounded you are as a nursing professional. Here is an answer example: "Caring for family members often requires as much patience as caring for our patients. They are naturally afraid of a possible difficult outcome with regard to their loved ones. I always try to speak kindly and offer time to answer questions and give family members an opportunity to talk about what concerns them. While every day does not offer as much free time as others, a few minutes can often make a big difference to a concerned family member." Here is an entry level answer example: "I know what it's like to be the family member who is worried about a loved one requiring 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." Here is an experienced answer example: "Each family has a different dynamic. A skilled nurse tries to recognize the specific personalities of those for whom she is caring, as well as those of the loved ones. When time allows, I try to visit with the family members of my patients so that they know who is caring for their loved one and begin to build rapport with them. Having a good relationship between care providers and family members usually has a positive effect on the patient."17. Have you ever been in a situation in when a coworker put a patient in jeopardy? If so, how did you handle it? 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
other co-workers by reporting anything in appropriate or dangerous. The interviewer
wants to know that you are capable of identifying and reporting a situation if needed. Here is an answer example: "I actually 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 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 the responsibility of everyone. So, I did notify the supervisor." Here is an entry level answer example: "I have never been in a situation that required me to report a coworker.
Honestly, I hope I never experience a situation like that." Here is an experienced answer example: "When I worked at a long-term care facility, one of my co-worker 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."18. What made you choose a career as an LPN? Questions like this are usually one of the first that an interviewer will ask. This is an attempt to get to know you and to see how passionate you are about your career choice. One important thing to remember is, although income may have been one reason for choosing this (or any other) career, do not make that your primary focus in your answer. If you must mention salary, do not appear to have chosen this field only because of the income. Nursing is a field of caring for others and that is what the interviewer wants to hear. Here is an answer example: "I always knew I wanted a career where I could care for others. When it became time for me to make some serious decisions about a long-time career, I really felt like the nursing field was a great choice. I am able to care for others as an LPN, which is the main thing I was looking for in a career. Also, there are so many opportunities to learn and grow in this field." Here is an entry level answer example: "I wanted to be a nurse from the time I was a little girl. As I grew older and began exploring career opportunities, nursing seemed to fit everything I wanted." Here is an experienced answer example: "The only career field I ever considered was nursing. I chose to go the LPN route because I wanted to work in more of a 'hands on' role with my patients. Although, since I became an LPN, I have thought about continuing my education and becoming an RN, this role seems to be the perfect fit for me. I love what I do!"19. Can you give me an example of one of the most difficult things you've faced as an LPN, and how did you handle it? LPNs are responsible for the majority of the 'hands-on' nursing care that is provided to patients. While RNs do provide care, the 'hands-on' nursing care that does not require an RN is usually performed by the LPN. Knowing this, the interviewer is aware that many of the difficult situations may fall in the hands of the LPN. It's OK to share a personal experience/example, but remember to only use information that will not risk compromising the integrity of a patient's right to privacy. Here is an answer example: "One of the most difficult things for me is when I am caring for someone who has no family or friends to visit or offer emotional support. Seeing patients who are sick and struggling is hard, but when they don't have anyone to visit or offer care and support to them, it often makes the situation so much harder. This is one reason that many patients seem to lose hope and stop fighting to become better. When I have a situation like this, I always try to prioritize my time and duties so that I can spend any extra time with those patients. Being able to offer support and show compassion to someone is a great feeling, and patients do appreciate the effort." Here is an entry level answer example: "When I first graduated nursing school, I had a patient who was admitted to my care after he came to the emergency room thinking he may have pneumonia. He was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. It was a very stressful time for the patient and his family. With the cancer being so far progressed when he received his diagnosis, his prognosis was not good. He chose not to attempt any treatment. I learned quickly that being a compassionate ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on are very important characteristics for any nurse to possess. I spent as much time with him and his family as I could without neglecting my other patients. It was a very sobering experience for me as a new nurse to realize just how quickly a person's life can change with one diagnosis."20. Have you ever considered going back to school to further your degree? One of the great things about working in the nursing field is that there are almost no limits to the number of specialties one can work in. Also, obtaining a higher degree in nursing allows many nurses to pursue their dreams of more education without sacrificing their love for their chosen field. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. The interviewer may ask this for more than one reason: Some employers offer incentives for employees who qualify to go back to school, others like to know what your education goals are so that they can place you in a position that would benefit you both while giving you an opportunity to pursue your education goals. Here is an answer example: "At different times, I have considered furthering my education in the nursing field. However, right now, I am content with where I am in my career. I enjoy the hands on care that I am able to give to my patients as an LPN. While there may come a time when I decide to go back to school, I don't foresee that in the immediate future." Here is an entry level answer example: "I have always wanted to be a nurse. I chose to become an LPN first so that I could get the experience of direct patient care and to perfect my skills. I have considered, after about five years, that I may go to school part time and work toward my RN degree. However, that is not something that I have decided on for sure." Here is an experienced answer example: "I never considered going back to school to get a higher degree. Many of the people I went to nursing school with did go back and obtain their RN degrees. For me, though, I enjoy the role of being the primary nurse and caregiver to my patients without having to work on the administrative end. It takes all of us to make a good team, and I am happy with the choice I made to become an LPN."21. Give me an example of a workplace challenge you encountered, and how you handled it. As an LPN, you may face various workplace challenges. Internal struggles or co-workers struggles. Tell the interviewer about a situation you faced and how you handled it. Burnout, people problems and not being challenged may be a few issues you could bring up. Here is an answer example: "A workplace challenge I faced was when we did not have enough nurses on staff to cover for someone if they couldn't make it to work. Because we had enough nurses to only cover the shifts it made it difficult to get by if someone was out sick. I spoke to my Director about the situation and suggested a PRN nurse. Now, double shifts aren't necessary. We just contact our float nurses, and they can cover." Here is an entry level answer example: "In my previous position, we had a couple of nurses who were unreliable with their documentation. This lack of documentation meant that the nurses who followed them in rotation were often confused or left with only pieces of information. We overcame this by expressing the issue to our charge nurse. Once the charge nurse was aware of concerns, she was able to help ensure policy and procedures regarding documentation were met at all times." Here is an experienced answer example: "There is often a new challenge each day including shortages of staff, supplies, rooms, and more. Over the years, I've learned to prioritize these challenges, delegate as needed and to remind myself to not allow it to affect my work."22. Being a nurse can be very stressful. What are some ways you manage stress on the job? An interviewer knows that providing care to sick individuals can be very 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 nursing interview, be prepared to provide examples of how stress impacts you. Here is an answer example: "As a nurse, I realize my care is crucial in patient outcomes. This is stressful, but I always try to compartmentalize my stress and channel it, in a healthy way. I have a strong support network among my coworkers and, outside of work, I utilize a gym membership and use exercise to help relieve some of the stresses of the day." Here is an entry level answer example: "I have always taken time to examine how I feel after a shift and deal with my emotions in a healthy way. I like to write, so I use that as an outlet for any feelings that need to be resolved." Here is an experienced answer example: "Any job can be stressful at times. As nurses, we handle some of the most delicate patient care situations. I have learned that if I am working on an especially stressful case that it is ok to reach out to co-workers within the unit and ask for help when needed."23. If a patient were to tell you that he does not agree with a doctor's orders, how would you respond? An interviewer will often ask a question like this to see your response. It is OK to have an opinion. However, it is always best to keep your opinions to yourself. Feeding into a patient's feeling of negativity could cause a bigger problem to result. Remember, always listen to a patient's concerns, and then direct your thoughts/concerns to the appropriate person in a supervisory position. This type of question gives the interviewer a chance to see how you may handle a conflict. Here is an answer example: "Many times patients say that they don't agree with a doctor's orders because they do not understand the order. If a patient were to tell me that he has a concern about an order, I would ask what the concern is first, to make sure he has an understanding of what the order is and why it the physician chose it. If I can explain an order/procedure to a patient in a way that he can understand it, I will. If I feel like the patient's concern is not based on lack of knowledge, but that he truly disagrees with an order, I will tell him that I am going to speak to my supervisor so that his concerns can be addressed." Here is an entry level answer example: "If a patient were to tell me that she disagrees with a doctor's order, I would ask her what her concerns are and bring that information to my supervisor's attention. While the issue may be a lack of understanding on my patient's part, it is always best to have someone in authority be able to address concerns, especially in the event that the physician should be contacted and the order reviewed."24. 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? 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. Here is an answer example: "I believe that honesty is important no matter what job title a person holds. I have found that being honest with people creates an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Those qualities, I feel, are essential when building rapport with patients and co-workers." Here is an entry level answer 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." Here is an experienced answer example: "We all possess different qualities and that is what makes a great team. If I were responsible for interviewing and hiring new employees,I would look for someone who has a genuine interest in the job and a desire to grow and learn. None of us knows everything there is to know about each disease or treatment. Being willing to learn and share what we've learned with one another makes us a better team and benefits our patients and those who will need care in the future."25. Have you ever had a patient be combative toward you? If so, how did you handle the situation? Unfortunately, there are times when a patient may be more difficult to care for than others. The interviewer wants to know that, when faced with this type of situation, you will be able to maintain your composure and handle the incident professionally. Here is an answer example: "I think any nurse who has worked very long in this profession will tell you that, at one time or another, he/she has had a patient who was not very cooperative. I had a patient throw his food tray at me once. While I was not happy about having oatmeal all over my outfit, I took a minute and talked to the patient to find out what was really going on. I found out that the patient had reported an allergy to oatmeal and had asked the nurse the day before to make sure that dietary knew of the allergy. When he received his breakfast tray, he became upset and threw it at the first person he saw. I cleaned the mess, ordered him a new tray, and noted his chart of the allergy. He was later apologetic." Here is an entry level answer example: "I have not had a patient become combative toward me yet. I would like to think that, if/when I am faced with a situation like that, I will remain calm and try to get to the source of the aggression. Many times people act out in fear and if I can be patient enough to find out what is really going on, perhaps I can help my patient overcome that fear and be more at ease, not only with me, but with all of the care team."26. Do you have experience working with peers from diverse backgrounds? 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. Here is an answer example: "The diversity of specialty areas is something I love about the healthcare field. I like the idea of being in a career that challenges me to learn and grow. I believe we all have something that we can contribute to others and I like to embrace the diversity among those that I work with." Here is an entry level answer 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!" Here is an experienced answer example: "Yes, I have worked with people from diverse backgrounds. I think one of the great things about the healthcare industry is that we have people from all backgrounds and walks of life who come together with the common interest in caring for others. I try to take advantage of opportunities to meet people and learn about them as much as possible."27. What is your greatest fear about being a nurse? We all have things that make us feel afraid from time to time. Recognizing those fears is the first step in overcoming them. This question is an opportunity for the interviewer to get to know you on a personal level. Being willing to talk openly with someone about things like this shows your softer side, which is important when you are trying to build a good rapport during an interview. Here is an answer example: "My greatest fear about being a nurse is that I am not learning and growing fast enough to save more people. I know that we can't save everyone, but as a nurse, I want to give everything that I can to those who trust me with their care." Here is an entry level answer example: "I think we all fear something on one level or another. For me, I fear that I may miss something when I am caring for a patient. Nurses are the eyes and ears of doctors. I always want to go home at the end of my day knowing that I gave everything I could to improve the life of someone else." Here is an experienced answer example: "Honestly, there is not a day that goes by that something doesn't cross my mind and I wonder if I could have done more or taken a different approach to the type of care I have provided for a patient. Of course, I give all I have and am very dedicated to my patients. I guess part of what keeps us going and makes us better is the fear of being inadequate."28. If you discovered that a coworker was violating a patient's privacy by discussing his information with someone outside of the care team, how would you respond? Patient privacy is protected by federal law and anyone who works in the healthcare industry is required to understand and follow the law. Failure to do so can result in loss of employment and possible criminal charges. The interviewer wants to know that you understand your role in protecting a patient's privacy and that you will make wise decisions if you feel a patient's confidentiality has been compromised. Here is an answer example: "I believe that we all should strive to protect our patient's confidentiality. If I were to discover that a coworker violated my patient's right to privacy, I would report it to my immediate supervisor. The consequences of protected information being shared could have an effect on all of us and we should all do our part in trying to prevent these events from ever occurring." Here is an entry level answer example: "I would notify my team leader or nursing supervisor right away. The law demands that we protect our patient's private information and our patients expect us to honor that." Here is an experienced answer example: "Unfortunately, this happens more often than I like to even think about. If I were to discover that a coworker compromised a patient's right to privacy, I would report the incident to my supervisor. The effects of breeches in confidentiality are more far-reaching than many people realize. It is up to us, as care providers, to protect our patient's right to privacy at all times."29. Are you willing to work, nights, weekends, holidays, or overtime if needed? 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. Here is an answer example: "I am not married and have no children at this time. So, I am pretty flexible with my schedule. If I had a choice, I would prefer the late shift, as I am a bit of a night owl. However, I am excited about the opportunity to become a part of this team and am willing to work where I'm needed." Here is an entry level answer 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." Here is an experienced answer example: "Yes, I am prepared to work that type of schedule. My family and I always plan special events around my work schedule. Also, part of us giving back has always been that I like to offer to work some extra time for those who have small children or other responsibilities."30. In your position now, knowing what you do, what would you say to someone who is just now beginning a career in the nursing field? The old saying 'Hindsight is 20/20' is something many people say is true. This question gives you an opportunity to show how you have grown and what kind of wisdom you may pass on to someone who is coming into this career after you. Here is an answer example: "I would say, 'Be open to changes and unexpected discoveries.' I started nursing school thinking I may want to work primarily in the pediatrics field. However, like many other things in life, things took a turn and I have had opportunities to work in many different specialty areas." Here is an entry level answer example: "I would have to say, 'If you feel like you want to specialize in one area and then change your mind, go with it. We all have that special calling in our life. We just have to listen for it.'" Here is an experienced answer example: "I would encourage anyone who is beginning a career in nursing to remember to care for themselves as much as they do their patients. It is very easy to get caught up in day-to-day work and forget that while we are making a living, we need to make a life."
Writers for Licensed Practical Nurse Answers and Questions
Heather Douglass has over 20 years of experience recruiting and hiring candidates. She has a knack for resume writing. You can find her on twitter at @heatherinidaho.
Darby Faubion has been a Nurse and Allied Health Educator for over twenty years. She has clinical experience in several specialty areas including pediatrics, medical-surgical, critical care, and hospice. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed nursing students at both the community college and university levels.
Darby's passion is nursing education. She has used that passion as her driving force to become a test-taking strategist and prep coach. She has coached nursing graduates across the United States as they have prepared to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
In addition to her role as a healthcare educator, Darby also authors a blog that is devoted to helping victims of domestic violence learn how to recover and live a life free from abuse. She is also a contributing author to online sources of continuing education for nurses and healthcare associates.
First written on: 10/30/2014 Last modified on: 01/22/2019
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