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Nursing Soft Skills Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your nursing interview, here are 18 nursing interview questions and answer examples that are focused on your soft skills.

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Question 1 of 18

Why is compassionate caring necessary in nursing?

How to Answer

As the saying goes, people may not remember what you say, but they always remember how you made them feel. A nurse can graduate at the top of their class and have outstanding technical skills, but without compassion, they are not as effective as they could be.

Nurses must be competent and provide compassionate care across all healthcare settings; however, competency does not guarantee compassion, and the interviewer is looking for evidence that you possess both. Discuss why you believe compassionate care is a critical approach and provide details on how you deliver compassionate care in nursing.

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18 Nursing Soft Skills Interview Questions & Answers

  • Compassion

    1. Why is compassionate caring necessary in nursing?

      How to Answer

      As the saying goes, people may not remember what you say, but they always remember how you made them feel. A nurse can graduate at the top of their class and have outstanding technical skills, but without compassion, they are not as effective as they could be.

      Nurses must be competent and provide compassionate care across all healthcare settings; however, competency does not guarantee compassion, and the interviewer is looking for evidence that you possess both. Discuss why you believe compassionate care is a critical approach and provide details on how you deliver compassionate care in nursing.

      1st Answer Example

      "Compassionate care combines trust, dignity, respect and more with the patient, their families, and the expanded healthcare team. For me, compassion and empathy are intertwined and feel like the foundational base for a trusting patient/nurse relationship. When I bond with my patient compassionately and professionally, communication is more open, creating a better understanding of their needs. The more I understand, the better care I deliver."

  • Compassion

    2. How do you demonstrate compassionate care in nursing?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know precisely how you demonstrate compassion in your daily work. When you respond, rather than simply list the 6 C's of compassionate care, show the interviewer that you have a personal philosophy that you implement on the job. Share your philosophy and discuss how you incorporate compassionate care principles into the daily care of patients.

      1st Answer Example

      "I believe in respectful communication, professional boundaries, and ensuring my patients feel safe in my care. I take the time to understand my patients' medical reports, and then I ask the patient what I can do or improve on to ensure they are getting the best care. A significant component to delivering compassionate care is also to be culturally aware."

  • Compassion

    3. What does compassionate care mean to you?

      How to Answer

      Showing empathy to those suffering and supporting them with dignity and respect is integral in nursing care. Compassion is the process of advocating for a patient's well-being while trying to find solutions to their suffering. Interviewers are looking for evidence of your compassion in your response. They also want to see that your approach to compassionate care aligns with that of the facility.

      1st Answer Example

      "Compassionate care is synonymous with my nursing practice. I want to deliver exceptional physical care and extraordinary emotional care at the same time. My philosophy is that we cannot separate the mind from the body, and outcomes are better when we have high regard for both. I want the patient to believe that they have dignity and deserve respect no matter what is unfolding. Compassionate care combines medical and emotional care that allows the patient to feel safe and valued while receiving extraordinary medical attention. Should I be chosen for this nursing position, I will show compassionate care by acting as a courageous advocate for my patient."

  • Conflict Resolution

    4. How do you handle it when an interpersonal conflict arises in your unit?

      How to Answer

      Nursing is a challenging enough career, and nobody wants a loose cannon or an icy individual on their unit. When co-workers exhibit unhealthy emotional responses to conflict, that energy creates lasting damage. It can make others feel uncomfortable, take sides, or gossip, plummeting team morale.

      The interviewer wants to know that you can handle interpersonal conflict without exploding or imploding. Show that you are a nurse with emotional intelligence, and you can experience conflict at work without the situation impacting your job performance.

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  • Conflict Resolution

    5. How do you deal with differences of opinion when working among a team of healthcare providers?

      How to Answer

      As a nurse, much of your job requires coming to a consensus with your team of healthcare professionals on a patient care approach and then enthusiastically carrying out that plan. Some team members who do not support the final decision may grumble and be reluctant. They may even be verbal about the outcome in a very public way. This behavior can destroy morale and undermine the function of a team.

      Interviewers seek nursing candidates who can confidently present and advocate for their best ideas. They also seek nurses who can be accepting and supportive when other people's ideas are chosen. The interviewer wants to know that you understand the importance of supporting team-based decisions, even if you have a difference of opinion. Consider a time when your team was divided and could not come to a consensus.

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  • Conflict Resolution

    6. How do you handle communicating with an upset patient?

      How to Answer

      As a nurse, it takes a lot of emotional intelligence, empathy, and people skills to negotiate your way through a situation involving an upset patient. Although this is a common situation to experience as a healthcare professional, it does not mean accepting abusive behaviors. The interviewer is looking for evidence that you can handle conflict-based situations without overreacting or causing the problem to worsen. Show that you understand the importance of responding to an upset patient quickly, authentically, and in a facility-centered way.

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  • Critical Thinking

    7. Talk about a problem you faced at work and how you applied critical thinking to address the situation.

      How to Answer

      Critical thinking is the ability to solve problems and make the best decisions based on your expertise. Nursing requires you to constantly showcase your critical thinking skills since you face unique situations every day. At the same time, you must make decisions and take actions consistent with regulations in your region.

      Since the interviewer asks you to tell them about a time when you faced a problem, it's essential to use a real-life example when you respond. Show the interviewer that you are a strong critical thinker and that your approach to problem-solving aligns with their facility's values.

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  • Critical Thinking

    8. Please walk us through your decision-making process.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know that you can assess a situation, weigh your options, decide on a course of action, and implement a solution confidently. As a nurse, when you need to make an important decision, it's essential that you critically think through the scenario and the outcome. You certainly do not make decisions based on a 'gut instinct,' and you do not delay important decisions because you need to do extensive research. You also know that, although you may need the right people to weigh in before you make a decision, asking a multitude of team members for their opinion is not a resourceful approach. Walk the interviewer through your decision-making process and show them that your approach is a good fit for their work environment.

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  • Critical Thinking

    9. Describe a time when you had to make a decision where there was no perfect outcome.

      How to Answer

      Decisions don't always result in a perfect outcome. As a nurse, you know that making choices around health means that sometimes you're choosing between two unpleasant outcomes. However, a decision still needs to be made. The interviewer wants to know how you triage situations to arrive at the best conclusion. Showcase your critical thinking skills while providing a story-based example of when you faced a related scenario.

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  • Empathy

    10. How do you handle it when a workplace situation makes you feel angry or frustrated?

      How to Answer

      Feelings of anger or frustration are bound to occur when working in a healthcare environment where situations can become hectic or high-pressure. Yet, not everyone has the skill set to handle those feelings well. As a skilled nurse, what differentiates you is the emotional intelligence you possess, allowing you to react to feelings of anger appropriately.

      Everyone feels angry from time to time. When you respond, be honest and show that you are an authentic person rather than stating that you never feel angry. The interviewer is looking for evidence that can deal with conflict in a healthy way. If you have experienced a relatable situation, consider telling a brief story highlighting your ability to react to feelings of anger or frustration appropriately.

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  • Empathy

    11. How do you approach delivering sensitive or discouraging news?

      How to Answer

      Nursing is front-line, demanding work, and you often deal with families and patients in crisis. Typically, it is not the nurse's responsibility to deliver sensitive or discouraging news about lab work or a diagnosis, for instance. However, you may face situations like telling someone their loved one was unexpectedly taken to surgery.

      Talk to the interviewer about your approach to delivering news that may be sensitive or discouraging. Show that you are professional and empathetic when communicating sensitive information to others. If you have experienced a situation like this, consider including a story that showcases your approach.

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  • Empathy

    12. How do you respond when a patient asks for your help with a delicate situation?

      How to Answer

      Helping a patient with a delicate or sensitive situation requires good problem-solving skills paired with empathy. As a nurse, it is easy to react to most patient's clinical problems; however, with this question, the interviewer wants insight into how you approach problem-solving when an empathetic approach is required.

      Express that you would offer genuine help rather than give generic comfort to a patient who truly needs you. Show that you can handle potentially uncomfortable situations with poise and professionalism. If you have experienced a similar scenario, consider telling a brief story that highlights your ability to be empathetic when needed.

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  • Initiative

    13. What do you know about our facility and team culture?

      How to Answer

      If you didn't do your homework on the facility before your interview, it would become evident with a question like this! This question deserves a specific response tailored to each organization with which you are interviewing. Before the meeting, take some time to look at the facility or system you are applying to work in. Know their mission statement, who they serve, if they are public or private, and more. You can discover helpful information on Healthgrades.com.

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  • Initiative

    14. If hired to join our nursing team, what will you accomplish in the first 30 days?

      How to Answer

      Just like you must prepare information about the hiring company, you must attend your interview prepared to discuss what you will achieve if hired. Your first 30 days goals should align with the mission of the organization and your accountabilities in this nursing role.

      Include personal and professional goals at work such as getting to know your peers, possibly joining a work-based social group to meet people, take advantage of Continuing Education Units (CEU) or even enroll in a course. Show the interviewer that you are prepared to invest in their organization, your new team, and in yourself.

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  • Initiative

    15. How do you approach taking responsibility for your mistakes?

      How to Answer

      Everyone makes mistakes, and the focus of your response is not to show perfection. The interviewer wants to know how you handle it when you have made an error.

      Mistakes can be embarrassing; however, there are healthy ways to admit you've done something wrong and repair the situation. Show the interviewer that you deal with mistakes in a way that leads to a resolution vs. ignoring the error or making it worse.

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  • Work Ethic

    16. What does having a strong work ethic mean to you?

      How to Answer

      Work ethic is 'the principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward.' When you value the concept of having a solid work ethic, you are showing that you place value in delivering high-quality work.

      Having a solid work ethic is essential in any job and extremely important in healthcare. People's lives depend on your dedication as a nurse to going above and beyond for the best possible outcome. The interviewer wants to see that you have a strong inner compass that guides you to deliver work considered 'virtuous' and 'worthy of reward.' Provide evidence that you are committed to doing a terrific job every day.

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  • Work Ethic

    17. What is your approach to teamwork?

      How to Answer

      Working on a team is not the most suitable environment for everyone; however, as a nurse, you must collaborate with your healthcare team at all times. The interviewer wants to know that you value teamwork and how you operate in a team setting. Talk about how you support your team and describe how you communicate with others, ensuring your team moves as one cohesive group.

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  • Work Ethic

    18. Describe how your work ethic extends to your everyday life.

      How to Answer

      Many psychologists and writers have expressed, 'the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.' This adage can also go for how closely a person's actions align inside and outside of work.

      The interviewer is looking for patterns in your behavior and actions. For instance, if you are always late in your personal life, it is unlikely you are always on time for work. Talk about your work ethic and discuss how your ethics are in alignment personally and professionally.

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