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Nursing Student Interview
Questions

20 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brown

Question 1 of 20

Why did you apply to this nursing program?

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Nursing Student Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Why did you apply to this nursing program?

      The purpose of this question is to evaluate how well you have researched this nursing program. Schools want to know that you aren't applying blindly and have taken the time to understand how the program operates. Be sure to read the program's mission statement and reference it in your response. It is also good to talk to current students of the program and mention the things they said that you liked about the school as well.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I was attracted to this program because of the school's commitment to integrity. A lot of what you do as a nurse is based upon acting with integrity. Another factor that drove me to apply to this program over others is the feedback I received when speaking with current students. They all seemed to enjoy the learning experience and their interactions with professors."

  2. 2.

    Do you believe that our medical system would be improved or harmed by moving to a universal healthcare system?

      Opinions about medicine and healthcare are always changing. The purpose of this question is to see if you are engaged with societal discussions about healthcare. There is no right answer to this question. It is only important that you can explain your position on the topic.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I think that our medical system would be improved if we moved to a universal healthcare system. Access to healthcare is a big problem in our country, and a universal system could alleviate some of those problems. It would definitely be a big undertaking, but looking at countries like the United Kingdom and Canada, I believe we could create a system that helps people more than it harms."

  3. 3.

    How do you approach giving someone bad news?

      This question asks you to evaluate two things: your communication skills and your ability to be compassionate. Give an example where you could deliver bad news while still considering the other person's feelings. Illustrate to the interviewer that you would give bad news to a patient but still express care for them.

      Ryan's Answer

      "As a mom, one difficult conversation that I have had with my kids is telling them that a pet has died. To deliver the bad news, I go to my kids and ask them to sit down with me. Once we are at the same level, I tell them the bad news that their pet has died. I give them the opportunity to talk about any emotions that they may be feeling or if they do not want to speak; we sometimes just sit together while they are processing the news."

  4. 4.

    Can you describe a nursing industry trend that’s caught your eye? Why does it interest you?

      Healthcare is a very dynamic field, and nursing is no different. Nurses work in a lot of different areas, not just at the bedside. The interviewer wants to see if you have thought about long-term career goals and stay updated on what is happening in the field.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I am very interested in technology and how it integrates with health for more positive patient outcomes. As a result, one area of nursing that has caught my eye is nursing informatics. There are many different things you can do in nursing informatics, like engineering or brain mapping. Though I would wait a few years after graduating, I would be very interested in pursuing coursework in this area."

  5. 5.

    Describe a time that you worked on a team. What went well, and what didn’t?

      From working with doctors to relying on the other nurses on your unit, nursing is a team sport. Explain the qualities that lead to a good team with a good outcome and address the qualities that teams should avoid. The goal is to illustrate to the interviewer that you can contribute to a team environment and contribute to improving team outcomes.

      Ryan's Answer

      "When I was in college, I participated in a pitching competition as a requirement for my business class. The professor assigned our teams, and I worked with four other students to create a proposal for an anti-bullying campaign. The thing we did well as a team is delegate tasks so that no one person carried more responsibilities than the other. An area that I think we could have improved upon is group communication. We showed up and presented successfully, but I felt that it was four parts that were not well connected. If we had spent more time talking to each other and brainstorming together, the project would have been more cohesive, and we would have placed better with other groups who had better-developed ideas."

  6. 6.

    What aspect of nursing do you think will be the most challenging, and why?

      There are aspects of nursing that are grueling. The interviewer evaluates whether or not you are knowledgeable about what nurses actually do and have considered the hard parts of the job before deciding to apply to nursing school. You could talk about the long shifts, heavy patient loads, or extensive charting. Just be thoughtful in your response.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I have thought a lot about this, and for me, working long hours will be an adjustment. It can be hard to maintain the required focus and concentration over so many hours. To prepare me for this challenge, I have started meditating before my job as a Tech at the rehabilitation facility. I have noticed a significant improvement in my focus that lasts the length of my work shift. "

  7. 7.

    A cousin you are close to is admitted to the hospital at which you work. Your aunt asks you to look into her chart because she does not think that the doctors are honest about her test results. What do you do?

      Besides questions about your personality, many nursing school programs will ask you an ethical question to see how you make moral decisions. Be sure to discuss all sides of the decision, but keep in mind your obligations as a nurse and your responsibility to maintain patient confidentiality.

      Ryan's Answer

      "This scenario shows the difficult positions that I may encounter as a nurse. I empathize with the aunt in this situation. She's concerned about her child and wants to make sure that she is receiving the best care possible. It is also difficult for the nurse because family pressure can be intense. However, as a nurse, your first responsibility to your patients and their rights when receiving care. I would tell the aunt that I cannot look at the cousin's chart because it violates the patient's rights and wrong for me to do ethically. Instead, I would suggest that she speak with the cousin's nurse or ask for a family meeting with the doctor. "

  8. 8.

    What qualities do you think make a good nurse, and why?

      Nursing is a demanding profession; the interviewer wants to see if you know what skills you will need to succeed as a nurse. Stick to 2-3 important qualities and give examples as to why nurses need these qualities. It is also good to reference these qualities in later questions when talking about yourself.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Good nurses have compassion and good communication skills. As a nurse, you never know who you are going to encounter that needs care. A good nurse is compassionate because they see a variety of people and circumstances. The diversity of patients is tied to the need for good communication skills. Every patient is different, and you cannot approach every patient in the same way. Good nurses can tailor their communications with the patient to that patient's needs."

  9. 9.

    What qualities do you have that will help you succeed in nursing school?

      The goal of a nursing program is for students to graduate. When answering this question, be sincere. Recognize that there will be difficult periods during nursing school, but emphasize the abilities you have to rely on to push you through when things get tough.

      Ryan's Answer

      "One ability that will help me in nursing school is my positive attitude. It has helped me in the past. It can be easy to look at the negative side of things, especially when you get a bad grade or you do not get a job that you really wanted. However, I always try to remember the positive of any situation and appreciate the unpleasant outcome as a lesson learned rather than a failure."

  10. 10.

    Time management is an essential skill for nurses. Tell me how you practice good time management skills.

      Much of a nurse's workday is spent multitasking and prioritizing tasks. The interviewer wants to know if you can manage your time to prepare you for your future patient load and to see if you will be able to manage your obligations while you are in nursing school.

      Ryan's Answer

      "As a single mom, time management has become an important skill set for me while balancing work, family, and taking care of myself. I love using schedules to track my time and remember all of my obligations. In my schedule, I outline all of the day's tasks, and I can set up reminders that go to my phone. It has really helped me not miss any family events and stay ahead of work deadlines."

  11. 11.

    Tell me about a time you failed to reach your goal. What happened, and what did you learn from the experience?

      The interviewer is looking to see how you handle failure. In nursing school, there will be moments of failure, personally or academically. Show the interviewer how you are willing to learn from your failures rather than give up when things get difficult.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I set a goal for myself to pass my CNA exam on the first try. Unfortunately, I made a mistake during the skills portion and did not pass. I was devastated when I found out that I did not pass. However, I tried not to dwell on my failure and instead used it to motivate me to work harder. I practiced all the skills with friends and family and created a flashcard study routine to remember all of the information. These actions allowed me to pass the exam on my second try."

  12. 12.

    What was your favorite non-nursing related class?

      Sometimes people get nervous when interviewers ask questions that do not appear directly related to nursing school. Don't be nervous! There is no correct answer here either. Use it as an opportunity to leave an impression with the interviewer and showcase other interests that were not addressed in your application.

      Ryan's Answer

      "My favorite class that was not nursing-related was culinary arts. My high school offered it as an elective class. I learned a lot about food, and I was able to specialize in making pastries. The knowledge that I gained I still use today when I bake desserts for my family and friends. I have even been asked to bake a wedding cake!"

  13. 13.

    Medical practice is always evolving. As a result of people needing to quarantine, the availability of telehealth services has increased dramatically. Do you think high standards of care can be achieved without physically seeing patients?

      It can be easy to memorize methods of answering general questions. Interviewers will ask topical questions like this to see if you can form an opinion and provide reasoning to support it based upon your own beliefs. There is no wrong answer as long as you answer the question entirely.

      Ryan's Answer

      "It has been interesting to see the rise of telehealth. I have used telehealth services during the pandemic and have enjoyed my experience. I would say that telehealth services are a tool that should remain available after the pandemic is over. In cases where patients have follow-up appointments to monitor conditions like diabetes and discuss medications, it would be possible to maintain care standards. However, telehealth medicine cannot completely replace in-person visits when problems are more acute."

  14. 14.

    You are a new nurse working in a busy ER department. You go into the medicine room and notice the senior nurse slip medication into her pocket. How do you respond?

      Ethical questions that schools may ask can also involve peer relationships at work. They want to test your ethics in situations that have different power dynamics. Discuss your thought process when answering this question so they can see how you came to your conclusion.

      Ryan's Answer

      "As a new nurse, this would be a tough situation to encounter. I would expect more experienced staff to be a role model of what I should do as a nurse. I do not know why the nurse took the medication or what the drug was, and it could be something like Tylenol or a more controlled substance. In this case, I think it is important to talk to the nurse that day alone and tell her that you saw her take the medication and that you will have to report her to the nursing manager. I would also use that conversation to say to her that I am here for her personally if she needs support through whatever caused her to take the medication in the first place."

  15. 15.

    Can you tell me about a time you went above and beyond for a patient?

      A nursing school does not want to accept students that are only going to do the bare minimum. Show the interviewer that you can do more than expected, even if your work is not recognized. It is an excellent opportunity to show how you can take the initiative and be selfless as a nurse.

      Ryan's Answer

      "There was one patient who was homeless and did not have many possessions. They were going to be discharged soon, but social services were not going to supply them with clothes before their departure. I got together with some of my co-workers, and we put in money to get him some outfits and some shoes before his transfer to the new facility. It was gratifying to see how much joy and relief this simple act brought him, even if it was not directly medical services. "

  16. 16.

    Tell me about a time you dealt with a difficult patient experience and how you resolved it?

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  17. 17.

    Why do you want to be a Nurse?

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  18. 18.

    Describe the most stressful work or academic situation you have been in, and tell us how you dealt with it?

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  19. 19.

    What do you have to offer if you attend our nursing program?

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  20. 20.

    What do you see yourself doing as a nurse in 5 years?

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