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Licensed Practical Nurse Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated February 16th, 2020 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Health    
Question 1 of 30
How do you feel when a physician criticizes your work?
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How to Answer
Be authentic when answering this question, but do avoid sounding cynical or begrudged. If you choose to give an example, be sure it allows you to demonstrate your ability to handle criticism with style. Do not use specific names, as the healthcare industry is tight-knit!
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Answer Examples
1.
How do you feel when a physician criticizes your work?
Be authentic when answering this question, but do avoid sounding cynical or begrudged. If you choose to give an example, be sure it allows you to demonstrate your ability to handle criticism with style. Do not use specific names, as the healthcare industry is tight-knit!

Rachelle's Answer #1
"It is never easy to be criticized or to receive unfavorable feedback. However, I believe that I can learn from each experience and constructively move forward. For example, a physician recently mentioned to me that my notes in the database were not as detailed as she would prefer. I had to take a minute and breathe because I spent extra time on those notes and felt frustrated by the feedback. However, I knew this physician could be tough to please, so I asked her to show me exactly how she preferred the notes in the system so that next time, as a team, we could be more efficient."
Darby's Answer #2
"I am newer to my career as an LPN, and with that information, sometimes comes additional critiques from physicians. I take every critique as a learning opportunity. I am thankful for any feedback that helps me to become a better healthcare provider."
2.
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 challenging to care for than others. As a licensed practical nurse, you understand that aggressive or abusive patient behavior likely stems from a medical problem, a mental health problem, an emotional issue, or a combination of all these factors. 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 as a professional licensed practical nurse. If possible, tell a brief story of a time when you faced this situation. Be sure to use the STAR method when giving your example (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

Rachelle's Answer #1
"During my nursing night shift a couple of years ago, I came across a confused patient with Alzheimer's disease who I found to be wandering. This older man was using a cane, and he seemed to be lost. I kindly approached him and offered to get him back to his room. As I turned to head in the direction of his room, he hit me in the back with his cane. I ran down the hall and called for help. It took several nurses to calm him down. This situation changed how I approached patients who suffer from confusion or memory loss. I also am sure never to put my back to patients under any circumstance."
Darby's Answer #2
"As a new LPN, I have not had a patient become combative toward me yet. I want to think that, when 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. If I can be calm and find out what is going on, I can help my patient overcome that fear and be more at ease, not only with me but with their entire care team."
3.
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 may vary depending on where you're applying, there are general rules that should be followed by all healthcare providers, no matter which facility you work within. It is essential to explain that all complaints must be handled thoughtfully and directed to the appropriate authority. Emphasize that patient concerns should never go ignored.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"It is unfortunate that situations of misconduct 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 them whatever information I have so that they can investigate the validity of any allegations and act accordingly."
Darby's Answer #2
"It is important that the patient feel listened to and that their feelings are validated. I would be sure never to provoke the situation by taking sides. I would ask many discovery questions and document everything to a tee. Then, I would take my understanding of the situation to my immediate supervisor for action and ultimate resolution."
4.
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 not to 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 specific topics that they do not want their parents to know about. These topics include sexual activity, presence or treatment of STDs, and alcohol or drug abuse. Many polled said that they would prefer to have no treatment at all if notification of their parents was required.

As an LPN, 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 see that you are not only familiar with the laws in your region, but that you can explain legal issues to your patients in a way that they understand.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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 an underage patient to feel reservation about disclosing information, I would explain that, because of their age, I cannot keep the information regarding their test results from the parents or guardians."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"According to my recent LPN education, 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 that every LPN should be aware of their state's laws regarding privacy and also know the guidelines set in place within their facility. When in doubt, it will be important that I gain clarification from my charge nurse or attending physician."
5.
Being a Licensed Practical Nurse can be very stressful. What are some ways you manage stress on the job?
As you likely know, providing care to sick individuals can be very stressful. Each shift presents what could be a life or death situation. The hiring official needs to know that you can handle stress. Moreover, how you deal with stressful situations speaks volumes. In an LPN interview, be prepared to provide examples of how stress impacts you.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"As a Licensed Practical Nurse, I realize my delivery of care is crucial for positive patient outcomes. This thought can be stressful, but I always try to compartmentalize my stress and channel it healthily. I have a strong support network among my coworkers. Outside of work, I utilize a gym membership and use exercise to help relieve some of the stresses of the day."
Darby's Answer #2
"During my nursing internship in an emergency department, I was sure to take the time to examine how I felt after a shift. I understand as an LPN that I must address my emotions right away and never let them bubble up. I like to write, so I plan to use journaling as an outlet for any feelings that need resolving after an emotionally charged shift."
6.
If you were responsible for hiring, what qualities would you look for in a nursing candidate, and do you think you possess those qualities?
First, the interviewer wants to know what qualities you think are essential to perform the job of a licensed practical nurse. Second, your answer will tell the interviewer if you hold yourself to the same standard as you do others. If you want to see specific characteristics in your co-workers, you should be able to tell the interviewer with confidence that you possess those traits, as well.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"First and foremost, I would look for honesty and integrity in any nursing candidate. I believe that honesty and integrity are critical to ensuring top-notch patient care. I have found that being honest with patients creates an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Those qualities are also essential when building rapport with other care workers."
Darby's Answer #2
"If I were hiring another LPN, I would look for someone passionate about the job and delivering high-quality patient care. I also feel that being approachable and willing to learn new skills is very important. These are qualities that I possess, and I am eager to set a great example of enthusiastic growth and exceptional patient care."
7.
If the Registered Nurse on your unit told you that they had prepared a Rocephin injection, but now has an emergency to attend to and asked you to administer the dose, 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 requests 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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I understand that emergencies arise, but I learned 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 they had prepared, I would tell them that I can't use the prepared medication. I would offer to either draw up a new injection myself and give it, or to assist with the other emergency so that they could administer the injection and then tend to the emergency afterward."
Darby's Answer #2
"If the RN asked me to administer an injection that I didn't prepare, I would tell them that, although I don't feel comfortable administering, I would be happy to assist in any other way."
8.
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, they 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 you miss using the proper wording, 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 position as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I think that people who are not nurses or are not familiar with the nursing industry hear 'LPN' and often feel 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 essential skills of nursing. I see many LPNs sell themselves short because they haven't sought a higher degree, and we must uphold that we are a valuable part of a multi-dimensional care team."
Darby's Answer #2
"While completing my LPN certification, even some of my fellow students misinterpreted the depth of what a Licensed Nurse Practitioner can do. To combat this, I will take pride in my work and learn everything that I can, ensuring that I will fully support my healthcare team without hesitation."
9.
Do you find it easy to gain the trust of others? As an LPN, what are some things you do to earn the trust of others?
Having a career in healthcare requires you to establish trust between yourself, your patients, their family members, and even your coworkers. The interviewer wants to know that you have an understanding of the importance of establishing trust and how you approach building this trust.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Darby's Answer #2
"Patients and their families should always feel they can trust their healthcare professionals. As an LPN, I will be direct and honest since I know that everyone appreciates transparency and authenticity. I want people to feel they can be honest with me, and that I will be honest in return. This honesty is crucial in building a trusting relationship."
10.
Give me an example of a workplace challenge you encountered, and how you handled it.
As a Licensed Practical Nurse, you will face various workplace challenges that test your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Tell the interviewer about a situation you faced and how you handled it. Burnout, co-worker issues, communication problems, or not feeling respected in your role may be a few issues you could bring up. Think of your example and be sure to deliver it using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

Rachelle's Answer #1
"A workplace challenge I faced was when we did not have enough nurses on staff to cover for call-ins. Because we were short on nurses, it made it difficult to get by if someone was out sick. I spoke to my clinic director about the situation and suggested we bring on some PRN nurses. Now, double shifts aren't necessary. We contact our float nurses, and they can cover."
Darby's Answer #2
"During my internship, I noticed a couple of LPN interns 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 bits and pieces of information. We overcame this communication issue by expressing the concerns and impact with our charge nurse. Once the charge nurse was aware of concerns, she was able to help address policy and procedures ensuring proper documentation at all times."
11.
Give me an example of one of the most difficult things you've faced as an LPN, and how you handled it.
Licensed Practical Nurses are responsible for the majority of the 'hands-on' nursing care provided to patients. While RNs provide care, the 'hands-on' nursing care that does not require an RN goes to the LPN when possible. Knowing this, the interviewer is aware that many challenging situations may fall in the hands of the LPN.

Be sure to share a personal experience and example, but remember only to use information that will not risk compromising the integrity of a patient's right to privacy. Be sure to deliver your answer using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I recently had an elderly patient with no family or friends to visit and offer emotional support. Seeing this patient so sick and struggling was hard. Adding the fact that they didn't have anyone to visit or offer emotional support made the situation much harder. This factor is one reason that many patients seem to lose hope and stop fighting for recovery. To combat this, I prioritized my time and duties so that I could spend any extra time with this patient. Being able to offer support and show compassion to them was a great feeling, and my patient greatly appreciated the effort."
Darby's Answer #2
"During my LPN internship, a patient after he came to the emergency room, thinking he may have pneumonia. Stage IV lung cancer ended up being his diagnosis. It was a very stressful time for the patient and his family. I quickly learned that being a compassionate ear is a fundamental characteristic 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."
12.
Have you ever received negative feedback from a supervisor? If so, how did you handle it?
Receiving negative feedback can be discouraging, but it doesn't have to be something that leaves you feeling incapable of doing your job. Discuss a time when you received criticism or feedback and discuss what you did to pivot. When you answer, avoid speaking negatively about the person who gave you the feedback or seeming as though you are tough to manage.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I remember when I first began my career as an LPN, 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. I was so embarrassed because I didn't want anyone to feel like I couldn't do my job or that I didn't care about them. I apologized to the supervisor and 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 the best patient care."
Darby's Answer #2
"I am sure that the longer I work in the healthcare industry, the better I will learn that receiving negative feedback is not always a 'negative' thing. I once received a negative rating on one of my evaluations while earning my LPN certification. It was a disheartening experience because I pride myself on doing good work. I scheduled a time to sit and talk with my supervisor and understand his point of view concerning the negative rating and made a plan of action to improve on the issue."
13.
What is your favorite aspect about being a Licensed Practical Nurse?
It is common for candidates to fret over open-ended questions like this. Where do you begin, and where do you end? With all of the career choices out there, the interviewer is interested in what truly makes you love your job. For this reason, it's essential to provide an honest and heartfelt response. You can share a personal experience or story that made you choose a career in nursing.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"There are several things I love about being an LPN. I am a caring person, and as a nurse, I get to meet different people with various needs all the time. Whether it's patients, their family members, or new team members, I like to get to know others and find ways that I can help. I aim to leave a positive impression on everyone I meet, and being a healthcare provider; I feel blessed to fulfill this mission every day."
Darby's Answer #2
"As a recently graduated LPN, I know that I will love seeing my patients continually improve with the help of my care and knowledge. During my internship, I observed many patients at their worst. When the care they received from their nurse began to have a positive effect, I saw the shift in them and found it incredible. When I can put my knowledge to better the health and life of someone else, that will be very satisfying."
14.
During a shift change, the nurse you are replacing tells you to expect the narcotics count to be off because it was off when they began their shift. How would you handle this situation?
State and federal guidelines mandate accurate record-keeping of medications. No matter where you work as a Licensed Practical Nurse, part of the daily routine includes narcotics counts at the beginning and end 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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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 them if we can do another count to verify the discrepancy. If the count did reflect that medications were missing, I would immediately report this to my supervisor. This situation is not about getting someone into trouble, but about being accountable for the safety and well being of our patients, myself, and the other healthcare providers. Medication errors can occur, but it is my responsibility to make sure I notify the appropriate authority to determine where the error occurred and to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Darby's Answer #2
"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 approach puts the situation in the hands of someone with more experience and authority while protecting me from any liability related to missing medications."
15.
How do you plan to continually grow as a Licensed Practical Nurse?
You have a certification or degree; however, it doesn't mean that you stop learning. Discuss your plans to take professional courses, obtain new certifications, or focus on professional growth. You may also want to mention a class or volunteer position to highlight your commitment to continual development.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am so happy to have completed my LPN certification; however, I am not done. I recently enrolled in a weekend course through the American Heart Association that will allow me to teach CPR classes at the local middle school on my days off."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I will never stop learning and believe that, especially in the healthcare industry, one must stay up to date on new trends and discoveries. I plan to continually grow as an LPN by taking monthly courses on a variety of related topics. If there are any courses you recommend, I would be happy to hear your recommendations."
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30 Licensed Practical Nurse Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. How do you feel when a physician criticizes your work?
  2. Have you ever had a patient be combative toward you? If so, how did you handle the situation?
  3. What would you do if a patient complained to you about one of your coworker's conduct toward him/her?
  4. 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?
  5. Being a Licensed Practical Nurse can be very stressful. What are some ways you manage stress on the job?
  6. If you were responsible for hiring, what qualities would you look for in a nursing candidate, and do you think you possess those qualities?
  7. If the Registered Nurse on your unit told you that they had prepared a Rocephin injection, but now has an emergency to attend to and asked you to administer the dose, how would you respond?
  8. What is something that you think people may not know or understand about LPNs that you would like for them to know?
  9. Do you find it easy to gain the trust of others? As an LPN, what are some things you do to earn the trust of others?
  10. Give me an example of a workplace challenge you encountered, and how you handled it.
  11. Give me an example of one of the most difficult things you've faced as an LPN, and how you handled it.
  12. Have you ever received negative feedback from a supervisor? If so, how did you handle it?
  13. What is your favorite aspect about being a Licensed Practical Nurse?
  14. During a shift change, the nurse you are replacing tells you to expect the narcotics count to be off because it was off when they began their shift. How would you handle this situation?
  15. How do you plan to continually grow as a Licensed Practical Nurse?
  16. As a Licensed Practical Nurse, what is one of your weaknesses and what action steps are you taking to improve?
  17. If you suspected that one of your co-workers was abusing drugs, how would you handle the situation?
  18. Has there ever been a time when you felt at risk on the job? If so, how did you handle the situation?
  19. Nursing can be very demanding at times. How do you prioritize when multiple patients seem to demand your attention at once?
  20. As a Licensed Practical Nurse, what motivates you to do a good job?
  21. In addition to providing care to ill patients, and LPN must attend to stressed-out family members. How do you approach offering support to family members?
  22. Have you ever witnessed a coworker put a patient in jeopardy? If so, how did you handle the situation?
  23. What made you choose a career as a Licensed Practical Nurse?
  24. Have you ever considered going back to school to further your LPN certificate into a degree?
  25. If a patient were to tell you that they do not agree with a doctor's orders or diagnosis, how would you respond?
  26. Do you have experience working with peers from diverse backgrounds?
  27. What is your greatest hesitation when it comes to your work as a Licensed Practical Nurse?
  28. If you discovered that a coworker was violating patient privacy by discussing information outside of the care team, how would you respond?
  29. Are you willing to work nights, weekends, holidays, or overtime if needed?
  30. As an experienced LPN, what would you say to someone who is just now beginning a career in the nursing field?
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