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Nurse Practitioner School Interview
Questions

20 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brown

Question 1 of 20

We have thousands of applicants to our program. What have you done that makes you the best candidate?

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Nurse Practitioner School Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    We have thousands of applicants to our program. What have you done that makes you the best candidate?

      Nurse Practitioner school is getting more competitive every year. Show the interviewer that you are a candidate that is a good fit for their program and will contribute to their learning community. This question is sometimes used as a personality fit for the program, so research its mission statement and institutional values.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I am confident I would be an excellent addition to your program because of my tenacity to grow and the shared mission to serve with integrity. My prior educational experiences show I am a dedicated and diligent student who can achieve high marks and work with my fellow classmates. I have served as a tutor and teaching assistant in nursing school. Once I was working, I became a preceptor on my floor and eventually a charge nurse responsible for over 30 nurses a shift. These experiences have prepared me to live up to the program's belief in leadership."

  2. 2.

    A long-time friend comes to you asking for a favor. They are currently uninsured and cannot afford to go to the doctor. They ask you to write a prescription for them, to hold them over until they get health insurance again. What would you do?

      The interviewer is proposing another dilemma to evaluate your ethical standards. Although the question places you outside of a work environment, you still have standards to uphold when you are off duty. Answer the problem by looking at all perspectives and acknowledging how this may impact your relationship with this friend.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Although I am not at work in this scenario, I believe the same ethical considerations apply. I assume I greatly care for this person and that they are only reaching out to me because of great need. It could be that it is a necessary medication for them to stay healthy. However, as a licensed medical professional, it would be unethical to write prescriptions for individuals that are not my patients. I would tell my friend that I cannot write a prescription for them, but I will help them find medical services or coverage to help them during this rough period."

  3. 3.

    Healthcare is often called a team sport. How do you approach working in a team environment?

      From working with doctors to relying on the other nurses on your unit, you do not do anything independently. Explain the qualities that lead to a good team with a good outcome and address the things that teams should avoid. The goal is to illustrate to the interviewer that you can contribute to a team environment and improve team outcomes.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Working in a team environment requires strong communication skills and respect for everyone you are working with. Communication could be as simple as greeting everyone in the morning or messaging another provider about a concern before it becomes a problem. I find when you are easy to communicate with and show respect for who you are working with, you have more remarkable outcomes as a team."

  4. 4.

    How have you prepared yourself for Nurse Practitioner school and the Nurse Practitioner profession?

      When considering candidates, programs want to be confident that the students they select can succeed during and after the program. Show the interviewer that you have thought about more than passing classes and have taken the time to find out from other NP school students, NPs, and organizations in the field. This is also an opportunity to bring up topics you learned talking to others.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I see Nurse Practitioner school as a serious step, and I have been taking steps to prepare myself for the transition. I have been talking and shadowing NPs working in different specialties; I joined the AANP to become informed about current professional trends. I hope to build a strong foundation of education and community that will help me in school and beyond."

      Makayla's Answer #2

      "I see Nurse Practitioner school as a serious step, and I have been taking steps to prepare myself for the transition. I have been talking and shadowing NPs working in different specialties; I joined the AANP to become informed about current professional trends. I hope to build a strong foundation of education and community that will help me in school and beyond."

  5. 5.

    What attracted you to our program?

      Do your research before your interview to find out that specific program. One great way to do that is by reading the school's mission statement to get ideas of what to focus on that relates well to your interests and goals. It is also essential to reach out to current students to understand how the program operates.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I was attracted to this program because of its high teaching standards and commitment to serving rural communities. This program ranked very highly on teacher satisfaction polls and received many awards from the AANP regarding the quality of instructors. The other factor that led me to apply is the opportunities in rural health education during optional summer clinical rotations. It is my ultimate goal to be a provider servicing rural areas."

      Makayla's Answer #2

      "I was attracted to this program because of its high teaching standards and commitment to serving rural communities. This program ranked very highly on teacher satisfaction polls and received many awards from the AANP regarding the quality of instructors. The other factor that led me to apply is the opportunities in rural health education during optional summer clinical rotations. It is my ultimate goal to be a provider servicing rural areas."

  6. 6.

    How do you stay up-to-date on current medical practices and research?

      As an NP, there is an individual responsibility to stay up-to-date on medical research and trends to ensure your medical decisions are based upon current knowledge. The interviewer may ask this question to see if you already do this work independently and are prepared to continue staying informed as an NP. Another variation of this question is, What is the last medical article that you have read?

      Ryan's Answer

      "I enjoy following medical journals like JAMA and research published by the CDC. The professional nursing association that I am in also publishes research reports and has lectures open to members regarding new advances in medicine."

  7. 7.

    How would you handle a patient that is non-compliant?

      Patients have autonomy and do not always behave in a way you may consider to be their best interest. Address how you will handle these situations when they occur. It is good to show an understanding of both sides.

      Ryan's Answer

      "As a nurse, I experienced many circumstances where patients were non-compliant in their care. I think it is easy to dismiss why patients do not want to follow medical advice and that you should work actively not to do so. Sometimes patients do not fully understand the care plan they have been given, or it interferes with beliefs and values they may have. I would have a conversation with the patient about why they are being non-compliant and try to have them understand my reasoning behind the medical decisions I make for them as a patient."

  8. 8.

    What differentiates a Nurse Practitioner from a Physician or a Physician Associate?

      This question is similar to the first question; however, the interviewer evaluates whether or not you have studied the history of Nurse Practitioners in healthcare and understand their scope of practice. Talk about the different obligations and health approaches that exist between MD/DOs and NPs.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Nurse Practitioners (NPs) have a different educational pathway than a Physician or Physician Associate. All NPs go through nursing school and become registered nurses before entering NP programs. NPs also have different licensing requirements, and their practicing scope is not the same in every state. In some states, NPs can practice independently, while other states require NPs to work with oversight from an MD or DO."

  9. 9.

    Where do you see yourself in 10 years as a Nurse Practitioner?

      There are a couple of ways to answer this question. One approach is talking about your personal goals as a Nurse Practitioner and why you want to achieve them. Another method is talking about how you wish further the NP profession on the whole. What is important is to show how you have thought about your future and what your goals are.

      Ryan's Answer

      "In 10 years, I see myself working towards building public health outcomes in my community. One part of that is becoming a partner in a family medicine practice where I can have a strong relationship with my community and offer public education classes. Another goal in the next ten years is to become an educator in an NP program, educating students in community health."

  10. 10.

    What specialty are you most interested in?

      There are a few different specialty options for people pursuing NP school. Talking about the specialty you are most interested in is an excellent opportunity to express your purpose or 'why' towards attending their program. It could be that you worked in an outpatient mental health facility, and that drove you to want to become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP).

      Ryan's Answer

      "My goal is to become an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP). I have worked in the emergency room department for over ten years, and it is truly my favorite place to practice. There is always something new or a unique case that looks like nothing you have seen before challenging you intellectually. Becoming an ACNP would allow me to further my passions and learn more skills to treat the life-threatening conditions that acute care environments face."

  11. 11.

    You are an NP working at the hospital. One shift, you are assigned a 90-year-old woman who does not speak English. Test results come back and show that she has advanced-stage cancer. Her family does not want to tell her the news. How do you proceed?

      Patient rights and end-of-life ethical dilemmas are common issues for Nurse Practitioners. Address the situation from each point of view: the patient, the family, and your responsibility. Defend your answer with experiences in your prior medical career or known ethical standards.

      Ryan's Answer

      "In this scenario, there are a lot of perspectives to consider. The family is acting in good faith, trying to prevent their loved ones from experiencing extra pain towards what will most likely be the end of their lives. On the other hand, the patient has a right to know what conditions they have and what treatment options exist. As a Nurse Practitioner, it is a delicate line to balance. In this case, I would go through determining if the patient has the capacity to represent themselves in their medical decision. I would then see if the patient established a medical Power of Attorney. Unless the patient is deemed incapable of making medical decisions for themselves, I would tell the patient of their test results."

  12. 12.

    What things do you like to do in your free time?

      Here is a personality question. These questions are useful for interviewers to put more substance behind the paper application. Highlight a hobby that is unique or important to you. Choosing something that will stick out to the interviewer is a good practice.

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my free time, I love doing watersports with my husband. We go white water rafting in the Rockies at least once a year. It is so thrilling, and the scenery is beautiful. It is also a very collaborative experience with your raft-mates, and I build close bonds with the people I ride with every time we go."

  13. 13.

    What song do you cut on when you want to get energized and motivated?

      With this question, you can show the interviewer a little bit about your personality that is not visible elsewhere in your application. There is no wrong answer unless the music is extra explicit. Be authentic and pick an artist you enjoy.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Whenever I need to power up and get motivated to start my day or do some intense studying, I like to put on '24K Magic' by Bruno Mars. My kids showed me the song, and I have loved it ever since. The bassline is great, and it is easy to groove along with the music."

  14. 14.

    You are a newly graduated Nurse Practitioner. What would you do if you observed a colleague be verbally aggressive with a patient?

      Much of a Nurse Practitioner's job is a collaboration with other medical professionals. For this ethical dilemma, address the pressures a new employee may have to do the wrong thing and talk about how you would overcome that to do what you think is ethically correct.

      Ryan's Answer

      "As a newly graduated Nurse Practitioner, I will still be growing into my confidence as a provider. There can also be pressure in some work environments to not 'rock the boat.' I would talk to that provider about what I saw occur and how it was inappropriate. I would then notify a supervisor about the incident and see if this indicates a colleague's pattern of behavior."

  15. 15.

    What quality do you have that will help you succeed in this profession?

      There are a lot of qualities you can bring up to answer this question: determination, empathy, and gratitude. There is no wrong answer; just be sure to define what that quality means to you and how you exhibit it. Adding an example of social proof is a good way to support your answer.

      Ryan's Answer

      "The quality that I think will help me most in this profession is my kindness. I find that it's easy to show a little kindness in what you are doing towards the people around you. It makes things better for the patient, and it makes me feel good. I was honored when my former unit gave me the cardinal service award for the kindness that I exhibited to my patients."

  16. 16.

    Describe a difficult clinical experience. How did you handle it?

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  17. 17.

    Why do you want to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP)?

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  18. 18.

    How are you prepared to handle the rigor of Nurse Practitioner school?

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  19. 19.

    What patient population are you most passionate about? Why? What are your thoughts about the health problems affecting that group? How might you go about solving those problems?

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  20. 20.

    What is your personal nursing philosophy?

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