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Nursing Student Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Nursing Student interview, here are 20 interview questions and answer examples.

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Question 1 of 20

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

How to Answer

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.

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20 Nursing Student Interview Questions & Answers

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "When I was training in my job, I had to move an overweight patient. I couldn't do it on my own, so I called my trainer and my nurses for help. We did well in completing the task and communicating with each other, but we could've improved in recruiting more help. Because the patient was overweight, it took 10 people to move him on the slider from one bed to another. If we called for help sooner, the task would've been completed more efficiently."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      Nice! This is a good example of a time you worked with your peers to accomplish a task that you would not have been able to complete on your own. You’ve done a nice job of explaining what the team did well together, as well as identifying how the team could have improved.

  • 2. 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?

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

  • 3. What was your favorite non-nursing related class?

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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!"

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My favorite non-nursing-related class was a survey on jazz. I am a musician and am always trying to expand my taste. I already know a lot about rock music, so I wanted to learn more about the history of jazz. I gained a greater appreciation for jazz and incorporate elements of it into my own music thanks to this course!"

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      Very interesting! This is fantastic information to share, as it gives the interviewer a sense of your personal interests and a glimpse at your creative side. Your interest in jazz is also something unique that will make your response more memorable to the interviewer.

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "A universal healthcare system is when all of a country's citizens have access to health services without financial trouble. Canada is an example of a country with universal healthcare, and more citizens have access to healthcare. This healthcare system may help to solve the problem of healthcare access, so we could develop a system for it."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      It is clear that you are informed on the benefits of universal healthcare, but your stance on whether or not you believe the system should be implemented is less apparent. There is no right answer to this question, but it is important to directly answer the interviewer’s question, and provide an explanation for your position on the topic. I have provided a slight revision below.

      "A universal healthcare system is when all of a country's citizens have access to health services without financial trouble. Canada is an example of a country with universal healthcare, and more citizens have access to healthcare. I do believe that our medical system would be improved by moving to a universal healthcare system, as it may help to solve the problem of healthcare access."

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "When I was at Ross med school, I was determined to pass my final exam for semester 2. Unfortunately, I did not pass it, and I missed the minimum passing score by 5 points. Rather than being sad about it, I thought about what I needed to do to change my study skills to succeed in a future program. I developed the strategy of building a model, which helped tremendously during my time at Barry, and will help me in the accelerated BSN program."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is an excellent approach toward failure, and the example you provide demonstrates your ability to learn from setbacks, rather than give up when things get difficult. To strengthen this response, discuss the model you developed to help you study in greater detail, focusing on the specific changes you made that led to your success at Barry.

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  • 6. 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?

      How to Answer

      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.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "A senior nurse should be a role model for new nurses. If I saw this, I would wonder why she did so. Maybe she will give it to a patient? To ensure the integrity of care, I would approach her and ask her why she did it. If she did it to give it to a patient, I will let her do it. But if she did it for another reason, I would report her to the nursing manager. I would also inform her that I would be there for her."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      You make it clear that this type of situation would need to be addressed, and do a good job of including your thought process, and the steps you would follow, in your answer. Based on your response to this hypothetical situation, the interviewer will be confident that you have strong ethics and are of high moral character.

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  • 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?

      How to Answer

      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.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "This is a tough question to answer because my aunt is concerned about a cousin with whom I am close. Family pressure can also play a factor in this scenario. Because patient charts should be kept confidential, I would inform the aunt that I cannot look into my cousin's chart out of respect for the patient's rights and ethicality. I would instead recommend that the aunt speaks to a doctor or nurse that the cousin is seeing."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      Excellent answer! You do well to keep in mind your obligations as a nurse, and your responsibility to maintain patient confidentiality.

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  • 8. How do you approach giving someone bad news?

      How to Answer

      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.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Bad news is unfortunate but necessary. If I were to deliver someone bad news, I would, first of all, think about how someone would feel if they heard it. I would then think about how I would deliver the news while displaying empathy. Once I finish formulating a plan, I would deliver the person the bad news, and then ask if they would like to talk or if they want to be left alone. People process bad news differently, so I would adhere to what they want to do while they are processing it."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      Considering the other person’s feelings while determining the best way to deliver the news in an empathetic way is an excellent approach. You demonstrate a high level of compassion and emotional intelligence by recognizing that people process bad news differently. Well done!

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Occasionally, some patients whom I discharge have their rides running late. When they do run late, I’m given the choice to drop them off at the outpatient waiting room or to stay with them. I stay with them as long as they need me to, even if it’s a long time."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a great example to share of a way you do more than is expected to benefit your patients. Nice job!

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

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know if you can stay professional under pressure. It is also a chance for the interviewer to evaluate how well you can problem-solve under stress. When answering this question, it is important to highlight how you overcame whatever difficulty occurred.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Recently, I had to discharge a patient who was impatient to leave the hospital. The patient would sound irritated and want to get off the wheelchair in the hallway. I could see that the patient didn't have the best experience, so I understood how the patient felt. I acknowledged that to the patient and assured him that I would have him discharged quickly. When the patient's ride came, the patient started being kind to me and thanked me for discharging him."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      The example you provide is great, and demonstrates your ability to remain professional when dealing with a difficult patient. However, your response would benefit from some additional details to make your story example more compelling. I recommend offering a detailed description of the steps you took to deal with the situation and calm the patient down. We have a guide that you may find helpful in organizing your response to this behavioral-based interview question - https://www.mockquestions.com/articles/5 Behavioral Based Interview Questions You Should Prepare For/

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  • 11. Why do you want to be a Nurse?

      How to Answer

      Many schools want students to see a career in nursing as a calling rather than just a paycheck. Describe your personal and authentic reasons for pursuing nursing school. Focus on your motivations for pursuing nursing and what makes it the best option for you.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My mother was an LPN, and I grew up in that environment where I saw how much she loved what she did every day. It was both inspiring and motivating for me to see the challenges she faced and how she had to think outside the box to come up with solutions. My grandmother had a very bad fall in 2012 during hurricane Sandy. We were in the hospital for days and seeing how well the nurses took care of my grandmother and my family really made an impact on me. But when I really knew it was my passion was on the first day of on-site clinicals where I felt the fulfillment of taking care of my first patient. And I'm so proud of the decision I have made because I'm truly going to make a difference in people's lives which makes it all worthwhile."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      Wow. What a sincere and heartfelt response! The interviewer will appreciate the explanations you have provided. It sounds like your personality is perfectly suited to the role of a nurse in that you feel such fulfillment in taking care of patients and helping others. Nice job on your answer!

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

      How to Answer

      Dealing with stress is a large part of nursing school and working as a nurse. This is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you can handle stress and describe the stress-management techniques that will help you in the future. The STAR method is an excellent approach to answering the question.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "The most stressful academic situation I was in was when I was stranded for a week in Dominica following Hurricane Maria. The water supply had fallen, homes were destroyed, and food was sparse. My school and I sheltered the citizens while keeping each other company. I volunteered to be among the last students to evacuate to spend more time with citizens. I formed a bond with One little boy in particular named Aiden. The fact that Aiden remained positive and sought me for support meant so much, and I did my best to ensure that he felt at home. While the citizens of Dominica didn’t evacuate with us, I am grateful for the opportunity to provide them with shelter."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      Wow! That sounds like a very stressful and difficult time, and you demonstrated a lot of bravery by volunteering to be among the last students to evacuate. If you were able to take anything away from the difficult situation you experienced following Hurricane Maria, be sure to highlight it in your response to demonstrate how the stress-management technique will help you in the future

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "As a musician, time management is a crucial skill for balancing work and self-care. When I make a schedule, I plan when I am going to work and when I am going to play music. Hobbies are important for relieving stress, and setting schedules for work and playing music helps me cope with stress."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      You are absolutely correct that it is important to balance work and self-care, and it sounds like you have developed an effective system to manage your schedule between your work time, and your personal time. Next, elaborate on the specific tools you use to help you maintain your schedule and the associated tasks you are responsible for. Perhaps you use a particular app or software, such as Google Calendar, or maybe you keep a day planner/journal handy to write down your schedule and to-do list. I suggest also discussing how you deal with any unexpected changes to your schedule, to demonstrate your adaptability and ability to prioritize.

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  • 14. Why did you apply to this nursing program?

      How to Answer

      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.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am a former student at USF, so I am very familiar with the school. Evidence-based clinical practice is one of my peak interests, and USF emphasizes this for patient care, as stated in its mission statement. Should I be accepted, I would study evidence-based practice further and incorporate it into my practice."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great! Your past experience as a student at the University of Southern Florida has undoubtedly informed your decision to apply to the nursing program. Consider letting the interviewer know a few things that you enjoyed about the institution, and are looking forward to experiencing again. Aligning your specific interests with the school’s mission statement is a smart approach, and demonstrates you have taken the time to research the program. Well done!

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

      How to Answer

      Nursing school is competitive, and there are lots of qualified candidates that the program could accept. Show them what makes you unique and how you can contribute to the program or to the other nursing school students. This question evaluates if you are a personality match for their program.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "If I were to attend your program, I would bring my leadership and mentorship skills. When I was in graduate school, students often sought my help, and I did my best to make sure that they understood the material, and they succeeded under my guidance! Student mentors are very important in any program, especially in healthcare-related programs."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      This answer is off to a great start! You come across as an exceptionally considerate classmate, and your experience mentoring your peers will help you stand out from other applicants. However, since nursing school is competitive, and there are a lot of qualified candidates applying for acceptance, I encourage you to elaborate on other exceptional qualities that would set you apart. If possible, include any academic accolades, volunteer work, or other accomplishments that will further demonstrate what you can contribute to the program.

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "The qualities that will help me succeed in nursing school are time management and persistence. My persistence is important because when I set a task, I don't stop until I complete it, and it will enable me to stay focused on my studies. However, I am human, and as such, I have limits and will need to take breaks every once in a while. Time management is vital here because I should have fun during my breaks, which will help me absorb the information that I study."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      You sound confident in your ability to succeed in nursing school, and highlighting your determination and time management ability is a smart approach. To increase the impact of your response, I recommend providing an example of a time when you have displayed these qualities in action.

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

      How to Answer

      Likely, you will not stay at your first nursing job for more than a few years. The admissions team wants to see if you have thought about your long-term career goals. This question tests your motivation for nursing school since you are likely to be more motivated to finish if you have a future goal in mind.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "In 5 years, I see myself earning a DNP degree and being a nurse practitioner. One field that piques my interest is emergency medicine due to its fast pace, which I enjoy working at. Nurses in the ER are required to think quickly to provide the best acute care possible."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good answer! You have established some clear and attainable goals to work towards, demonstrating long-term planning and ambition as it relates to the future direction of your nursing career. Consider concluding your response with a statement of confidence that you have the qualities you attribute to nurses in the ER. You may also want to include some of the smaller goals you would set for yourself over the 5 years to continue growing your skill set and reach your ultimate goal.

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  • 18. Can you describe a nursing industry trend that's caught your eye? Why does it interest you?

      How to Answer

      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.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "One nursing trend that catches my eye is telehealth. The services for telehealth increased dramatically during the pandemic, which helped many patients get medical treatment when they weren't leaving their homes. Telehealth has become a valuable tool in bringing healthcare to underserviced areas. With telehealth growing rapidly in a short period of time, security and privacy issues have to be addressed. Telehealth has its share of pros and cons, but moving forward, telehealth, with a combination of in-hospital visits, may be the optimal way to treat patients."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good! Your response demonstrates that you stay up to date on new developments in the nursing field. To strengthen this response, let the interviewer know what exactly interests you about telehealth services. Is this an area you aspire to work in during your career?

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have thought about this very deeply, and I think the most challenging aspect of nursing will be communicating with uncooperative patients. Not every patient will want to cooperate with me because they may expect an instant cure, which does not exist. My plan for this is to inform the patients that they would be in great care under me, and if they still refused to cooperate, I would apologize that I could not help them, and refer them to one of my colleagues."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good answer! It is evident that you considered the various difficulties associated with the profession before deciding to apply for nursing school, and you do well to include your plan to handle uncooperative patients. Nice work!

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Good nurses have Empathy, which is the ability to feel what another person is experiencing from their point of view. For nurses, it means putting themselves in their patient's shoes and trying to understand how they perceive what's going on around them. Another great quality is communication, which is therapeutic tool healthcare providers use to build interpersonal relationships with their clients."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      You're definitely right that good nurses need to be both empathetic and effective communicators. You might mention that they tend to be compassionate and patient as well, in addition to being critical thinkers who can problem solve on their feet. Finally, you might want to add a sentence or two connecting some of these qualities to yourself so the interviewer realizes your personality and skills fit the role.

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