The interviewer wants to know how you handle difficult situations. Be sure to highlight your ability to think strategically and to make quick, thoughtful decisions. Provide an example of the confidence you have in your decision-making skills when it comes to patient care and the tough decisions that come with it.
"I think my confidence in making tough decisions has grown over the years. As a new RN, I was a bit more hesitant to make these decisions and learned a great deal from the more tenured nurses on my team. Now, with my added education as a nurse practitioner, I make strategic and thoughtful decisions based on my knowledge and experience. I also am very comfortable asking for help in situations that may be new to me. I value the collaborative approach we have as a team."
"As an RN, I decided to separate the feelings surrounding patient care decisions from my other emotions. The medical decision needs to made factually and not based solely on feeling. For this reason, I do not find it difficult to make tough decisions."
"Yes, I am comfortable making tough decisions surrounding patient care. As an NP I need to make recommendations to the doctors based on my findings which are often related to terminally ill patients. It is never easy, but I am pragmatic."
Being able to face a challenge or difficult situation, and still gain some accomplishment, in the end, is very satisfying. Talk to the interviewer about a time when you were able to come out on top despite being faced with an obstacle.
"In my career, so far, I feel that the most difficult accomplishment for me to achieve were the two back-to-back promotions in my current facility. Because promotions are granted based on results, and education, I had to put in a lot of overtime hours, and hustle, to get there."
"My biggest accomplishment, so far, was to complete my Master's Degree while still working full time. It was a lot of hard work, dedication, and time management on my party but I am so proud that I did it."
"My most challenging accomplishment was the department takeover that I was tasked with last year. I needed to boost employee morale, lower turnover and increase productivity. It was not an easy takeover to gain the full trust of the department."
This is a "yes" or "no" answer. If you have had restrictions on your license, you'll want to be very clear about the timing and resolution of those restrictions. Word travels fast in the healthcare community so be sure to be honest and upfront about your past.
"I have no restrictions on my state license and have never experienced that. That would be a very challenging experience to go through."
"In my ten years as an RN, and now an NP, I have never had any restrictions on my license. I would like to say that I am well versed in policy and procedures and can assist any staff that is under review on how to professionally navigate these circumstances."
The interviewer wants to know that you are capable, and interested in, staying up to date with the changes and trends in healthcare. This question allows you to highlight your commitment to growth and development, both personally and professionally. Tell the interviewer about a book you have read or a course you have taken as of late.
"I recently read an article about advancements being made in the treatment of children with food allergies. My nephew has a severe peanut allergy, and this article led me to do more research at my library. Since then, I've spent time in the pediatric ward and was able to apply some of my findings. Our hospital also offers several free classes per year on various topics, and I try to attend as many as possible. I am always interested in learning new methods on the job."
"I believe in keeping a beat on the healthcare industry, on a daily basis. For that reason, I have a few google alerts set up with specific keywords. Also, I take one leadership development course per year. This keeps me competitive in the industry and helps my patients to get the best of me."
"I have a physician mentor that I meet with on a monthly basis. In addition to new methods of working, we discuss findings in the industry and new research papers that interest us. It's important to keep the conversation going and spark some interest in the minds of my team as well."
Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with setbacks in the workplace.
"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with the physician on call, and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move forward with the knowledge that I gained."
"Setbacks can be trying, but I find that you have to learn how to lose before you learn how to win. While I never enjoy a setback, I use them as a stepping off point to something even better."
"I used to take things personally and get frustrated when my goal wasn't met. Now, I will go through a mental rundown of what I did wrong or what I could have done differently. Setbacks can certainly be emotionally taxing, but I also learn a ton from it. I allow myself to feel the frustration and then, take my new lessons, and share them with others, so they do not experience the same kind of setback as I."
In most regions, a nurse practitioner requires a Master's degree. Discuss the details surrounding your elevated degree. This is also an opportunity for you to highlight your motivations such as your desire to have more responsibility beyond typical registered nurse duties and to be a highly valued member of the patient care team. You may also want to mention why you chose the RN career path initially and how that experience led you to pursue an advanced degree in nursing.
"While my RN career has been rewarding, I wanted to complete my NP license so that I could have a broader impact on my patients. I am proud to have a deeper knowledge and to be able to interpret diagnostic tests to recommend treatment. Also, I now collaborate with physicians and the leadership team on a more regular basis."
"I wanted to help with the shortage of physicians in our state and felt that becoming an NP would help the system to move a bit faster for many patients. I can diagnose illnesses, write prescriptions, and perform many tasks that a doctor would normally need to do. It truly relieves wait time for many people, which is very rewarding to me."
"After working as an RN for fifteen years, I decided to invest in myself in the way of a Masters' Degree in nursing. Nurse practitioners are highly valued and needed in the medical system, and I am proud to offer many additional skills that I did not have as an RN."
Many interviewers will start off with this question, which could throw you off a bit. You've done all of this research on the company but have you prepared to talk about yourself? The interviewer is looking for relevant information about your capabilities as a nurse practitioner. Respond by mentioning your education, how many years of experience you have in your field, and be sure give some details about your most current position. Conclude your response with a statement about what you are looking for in a position at this time.
"With pleasure! I have over ten years of experience in the healthcare industry and am interested in growing my career to the next level. On a more personal note, I love to read, go hiking and spend a lot of my extra time volunteering with the humane society."
"“I have a Bachelor's of Nursing from the University of Michigan and am currently working on completing my Masters' degree. I have three years of experience as an RN. My most recent position was at the local children's hospital, and I’m currently looking for a position that will allow me to grow into a leadership opportunity."
"I would describe my work ethic as reliable, and consistent. The healthcare industry needs professionals who are dedicated to their craft and who understand the importance of learning new patient care methods. I am dedicated to doing this."
When the interviewer asks about your work ethic, they are looking for specific examples or keywords to which they can relate. When you read the facility's job posting or job description, do they refer to particular ethics? Talk about their values and how those align well with your personal work values.
"I am a very dedicated and loyal employee. I saw on your website that you describe your hospital culture as honest, transparent and you go the extra mile for your patients. My work ethic is the same. I am honest, flexible, and come ready to work hard for my patients every day."
"Some characteristics you may want to use are: - Determined/Driven - Accountable - Humble - Respectful - Dependable"
When you spend so many waking hours in the workplace, a conflict between co-workers can happen. How you handle conflict is what the interviewer would like to know more about. This is not an opportunity to start venting about your current workplace culture. An interviewer wants to see that you will take accountability for conflict whether the occurrence is considered your fault, or not. Handling workplace conflict tactfully, and with grace, should be the only option. Give a clear example of a time when you professionally handled workplace conflict.
"My style of conflict management can best be described as upfront, yet - I swiftly move on. In the five years that I have worked for my current facility, I have only come across one instance of conflict. One of my nurses did not show up for their shift, so I was forced to cover their shift, resulting in me working a double. Because of this, I missed my daughter's dance recital. I was upset about it but wanted to do my part as a lead nurse. The next day, the delinquent employee came in and didn't say a word. He didn't apologize to me or thank me for my time. I approached him and told him how his actions impacted my day. He did not respond how I wanted; however, I let it go after I said my part. You cannot change the actions of others but you have to take responsibility for how you handle your side."
"Conflict is often a symptom of poor communication, so when conflict arises in the workplace, I am sure to address the situation by starting at the root of the issue - communication breakdown."
"I start by identifying the possible reasons for the conflict, poor communication, absence of required materials, or shortage of staff. From there, I talk directly with the person or persons that are conflicting to find solutions and get everyone back on track."
On a scale of 1-10, how skilled are you in communication? Why did you choose that particular rating for yourself?
"I rate my communication skills as a 9/10 as I will, on occasion, have times when I am not as clear as I would like to be. My fellow nursing staff will attest to my clear and concise communication skills. Because I am an open leader, my team will let me know if I need to clarify anything."
"I will rate myself an 8.5 because I consider myself a strong communicator. It is the foundation of all success in business. I am always striving to be a better communicator, so I leave the rest of the scale as an aspirational measure."
"I will rate myself an eight because I value communication but, just like most people, I have things to learn. Some ways that I ensure clear communication are by utilizing multiple methods of delivering messages, and I give ample time for questions before implementing changes."
The interviewer wants to know what keeps you motivated to do a good job, day in and day out. Take this opportunity to share what motivates you as a professional and how it relates to your career path. At the end of the day after you have seen car accidents, suicide attempts, and the most depressing sides of human nature - how do you keep your head up?
"My experiences in this field have been invaluable. I have learned so many skills that I will be able to use when I move to the ICU at your hospital. Knowing that each patient is an opportunity to make a difference in someone's life motivates me and makes me love my job every day."
"I am motivated at the thought of working my way up through the ranks to lead a team of RN's one day. I love to train and coach and am very excited about my career trajectory."
"I am motivated by growth in my career and by working with a great team. As a nurse, I decided to obtain my nurse practitioner license after a mentor of mine was recognized by the hospital with a big award. Because of him, I was inspired to have a larger impact on the care of patients, and I enrolled in the nurse practitioner program."
The best thing that you can do when asked about your salary expectations is to be open and honest about what you are currently earning, and where you want to be in the future.
"I can share with you what I am currently earning, and where I would like to be in my next position. Currently, I am earning a base salary of $88K plus health benefits. I'd like to earn a bit above that in my next position."
"As I am new to my career as a nurse practitioner, I am happy to negotiate my earnings based on your typical salary for this role."
"I am negotiable with my salary expectations. However, I am not inclined to lose compensation. Compensation to me, though, is not just net pay. I take into account work hours, drive time, benefits, and more."
As a nurse practitioner, you may be faced with many crisis situations where you need to make quick and sound decisions. Be sure to highlight your strengths and strategies when under pressure. If possible, share an example that shows the struggle, the solution and any lessons that you learned from the experience.
"One of the most challenging days I've had as a nurse happened during my clinical rotation in the Labor and Delivery unit. We had a mother who delivered triplets, and two of the babies were unresponsive at the time of birth. There were multiple physicians and nurses in the room caring for the family...maybe 6 or 7 nurses at once and there was a lot of activity in short about of time. I was part of the care team for the babies and learned how important it is to carefully listen to the team lead and follow specific directions in a time of crisis. I'm happy to report that the babies were healthy and it was a great learning opportunity for me, one that I've remembered throughout my career."
"I have faced many crisis situations in my nursing career. When working as an RN, we had an elderly patient go unresponsive due to a mix up with medication. It was challenging to get through the situation without placing blame on any party. There was an internal investigation which could have torn our unit apart, but instead, we all became closer."
"Crisis situations happen every day in the healthcare industry. When I am faced with a crisis, I must remain calm so that my team will follow suit and behave professionally through it. Keeping a level head is a critical key to making smart decisions."
The interviewer wants to know what keeps you motivated to do a good job, even on the tough days. Why are you in this career? Perhaps you like working with children or diagnosing complicated issues. Discuss your commitment to providing exceptional patient care.
"I love being a nurse because the work is both personally fulfilling and professionally challenging. No two days are the same as a nurse, so I get to use a variety of my skills and knowledge."
"I most enjoy helping people in their time of need. When you don't feel well, you feel vulnerable and need people around you that are kind and knowledgeable. I like to take action when others are in need so being a nurse was an obvious career choice for me."
"In my ten years as an NP, no one day has been the same. Who else gets to say that? I learn so much from the other healthcare professionals around me, and I do feel a sense of responsibility knowing that I can save lives and cure people of their worst ailments."
The interviewer is looking for you to identify a struggle you may have and share how you constructively handle this challenge in your typical workday. Be careful not to complain. Rather, present a solution to a challenging situation.
"My current team is understaffed and has been for about a year now. It can be challenging because each person on the team is stretched. However, it's been a great opportunity to really collaborate on key initiatives. We are making the best of the situation."
"I am new to my career as a nurse practitioner. However, I am not new to the healthcare industry. I would say that the most challenging factor at the moment is the budgetary needs of my department. We are a small medical facility with limited resources."
"Everyone has something they would like to change about their job. For myself, if I could change anything at all, I would ensure that our RN's are given a stronger voice when it comes to the opinions in patient care and diagnosis. Many of our RN's are incredibly knowledgeable and are not often given a chance to be heard."
Be sure to summarize your experience as an RN and share how it enhances your ability to be an excellent NP. If possible, give a specific example that will nicely incorporate RN duties along with NP collaboration.
"One of my first positions as an RN was at a skilled nursing facility where I cared for geriatric patients with Alzheimer's. A big part of my day was explaining to the family of the patients what the disease was and how it could be treated. I learned so much about Alzheimer's and the effects it can have on a family. Now, as a Nurse Practitioner, I can have even deeper discussions that include a medication treatment plan, onsite therapy options and more. My experience as an RN has shaped the way I communicate with patients compassionately and professionally."
"All of my RN experiences have given me an endless amount of knowledge in the medical industry. I could never replace the experiences with any amount of education."
"As an RN, I worked closely in the oncology department of our hospital. The experiences I had, every day, seeing people face death so bravely, was infinitely inspiring. As an NP, I have taken this same positive outlook on life and applied it to my patient relationships."
The interviewer would like to know that you understand the qualities that a great leader should possess. Highlight your ability to work with a team, and actively communicate. If you had a great mentor or supervisor in your past, feel free to mention something specific about what you learned from them.
"I believe that being a great leader requires a balance between working collaboratively with your team members while also being a consistent individual contributor. For example, we have a department project where everyone must work together to reorganize the supply closet, and each team member has an assigned task. I must strategically plan the work for the team but also communicate productively and professionally for everyone to understand the goal. I also took on a small part of the project myself, so they can see that I am committed to the outcome. I learned this from a mentor of mine when I was just starting out as a nurse."
"Here are some great leadership qualities you may possess: - Clarity in delegation - Ability to teach and mentor - Willingness to accept feedback - Being an inspiration to your team - Understanding what motivates your team - Takes ownership for mistakes - Chooses to coach first, before discipline "
"First and foremost, a leader should have the ability to get the team excited about the short and long-term goals of the facility. A great leader should also be empathetic, responsible, and reliable. Among these skills, I also bring the ability to maintain a harmonious relationship with other nursing staff, patients, and physicians."
The interviewer wants to know about your workplace challenges. This question allows you to highlight your ability to get things done, even if you don't enjoy EVERY part of your job. You can let your personality shine through a bit but keep it light and professional, overall.
"I'm sure that every person has a task in their workday that they dislike. Mine is organizing the supply closet. I know it's so important that our supplies are tidy and accessible but when my turn comes every few months to clean it out, I dread it. I am a team player, however, and I do it with a smile on my face."
"I have never loved documentation, so I would choose this to be my least desirable task. With that said, I do take the time to properly document regardless of my feelings towards the task."
"Every day there may be a new challenge or unpleasant task. Overall, I least enjoy long meetings. I like being on the front lines, helping my patients and training my staff of nurses."
The interviewer is asking you this question to see if you did your homework on the organization or if you are merely floating your resume. Be sure to read up on the organization that you are interviewing with and have a few questions prepared. The interviewer is looking for a baseline of your knowledge and level of interest.
"I made a short list of hospitals that I'd like to work with, and yours is on the top of my list. I know that your facility is a nationally recognized hospital that is known for service excellence. When my sister was sick a few years ago, she was admitted to the ER and told me that she had an outstanding experience, given the situation. I am especially interested in knowing more about the workplace culture and the community programs you support."
"I know that your facility is top of the line when it comes to technological advancements and research. I am a major supporter of these efforts and would be honored to work in such an advanced hospital environment."
"I have followed your facility's achievements for some time now. I have many industry acquaintances who have excellent things to say about your hospital. I know that you are the number one research hospital in the state and that you have incredible community support. All of these factors are things I am looking for in my next opportunity."
Go ahead and brag about yourself (a bit!)...be sure to keep it concise and relate it back to why you are the best choice for this position. You do not need to recap your resume, instead, highlight one or two things that you are most proud of. Use some unique words that make you memorable. You need to shine brighter than the rest!
"I am hoping to work with an innovative facility that is on the cutting edge of patient care procedures. I read an article about your hospital and the exciting work being done in cancer research and I wanted to be a part of it."
"I graduated top of my class with honors and have a stable work history. I am looking for a challenging position that will allow me to grow into a leadership role within healthcare. I will also note that I am tri-lingual, fluent in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. This has assisted me greatly when it comes to managing patients of varying cultural backgrounds."
"I am the best nurse practitioner for you because, in addition to my ten years' experience as an RN, I have had great success as an NP for the past six. I have excellent working relationships with the local physicians and have the ability to quickly and effectively train your new nursing staff."
Most hiring authorities prefer candidates who have some volunteer experience. As a nurse practitioner you have a love for helping others, but do you support your community through volunteering? Share a bit about your core values or your commitments outside of work.
"I have a family member that was diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago, and I am now a volunteer with the American Diabetes Association. There is an annual fundraiser, and I am the co-chairperson for the event. One of the reasons that I applied to this position was because I read about your facility's commitment to employee wellness and I appreciate that the company also supports the American Diabetes Association."
"I was raised by parents who believed that giving back to the community through volunteering was the most important thing you could do. Even if you don't have money to give, you can always find the time. Currently, I spend every Sunday afternoon working as a health aid for at the homeless shelter."
"I like being involved with the community and have started up a couple of efforts on my own. Currently, I collaborate with the local women's shelter to offer free health advice and checkups to those without health care. It's important to me that I use my knowledge to help others."
This question is a stress test! You need to be honest about your feelings about this meeting while maintaining an air of confidence at the same time. Be honest. It's okay to ask the interviewer to circle back if you aren't pleased with your initial response. If you feel that your performance in the interview is going well: "I believe that this interview has been quite informative and I am happy with my performance. Is there anything that I can clarify for you from this conversation?"
"I believe that this interview has been quite informative and I am happy with my performance. Is there anything that I can clarify for you from this conversation?"
"If you feel that your performance in the interview is not going well: "I am not sure if I have been able to portray myself 100% accurately in this interview; although, I am trying my best. If there is anything more that I can clarify for you, I would be happy to do so."
"I feel confident about our discussion today and am looking forward to the next steps in the interview process."
Nurse Practitioners (also called NP's) are advanced, state-licensed, registered nurses who are capable of treating particular medical conditions without physician supervision. As a Nurse Practitioner, you may have the ability to prescribe and adjust medications. You may have worked as registered nurses for a few years before making the decision to expand your credentials.
A few skills needed to be a successful Nurse Practitioner is confidence in your abilitiy as a nurse, stellar communication between patients and physicians, the desire to lead a team, the ability to work under pressure and compassion to work with a broad range of patients. Common skills such as being highly professional, compassionate, punctual, responsible and knowledgeable in your craft will help you excel in a nurse practitioner position.
To prepare for your interview you will want to do your research on the company you are applying to. You will face a series of challenging questions, ranging from skill-based scenario questions on how you perform during your career as an RN as well as questions about your knowledge in your specialized field of medicine. Highlight your ability to multi-task and juggle high-priority tasks. Have examples of your results, your thought process, and your ability to work with the larger patient care team. Keep a positive attitude throughout the interview and be passionate about the possibility of working for the interviewing company.