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Nursing Interview Questions

34 Nursing Interview Questions
Question 1 of 34
Are you specialized in a particular area, i.e. neo-natal, pediatric, geriatric, or women's health?
How to Answer
On this particular question, the interviewer is looking to hear from you where your passions fall in the nursing field. They can tell where your experience comes from in your resume and now it is time to showcase your passion for the job that you are interviewing for.

If you are interviewing for a specialty area within nursing that you have worked in the past, talk about your interests in that area and why the job is important to you. If you are interviewing for a new specialty area of care, look to point out similarities of your past duties and experiences and how they will translate to this potential new job. New graduates to the nursing field should talk about their clinical experiences and why they see this job as the best fit for their career.

Answer Example
"Having worked in Family Practice as a nurse for my entire career, I've had the joy of working with mothers and their newborn children for their care when they were sick. I've provided care for newborns that have had a wide array of sicknesses and have always loved that aspect of that of my job. With my career goal always being working on an obstetrics unit, my experience working with newborns will translate well."
Entry Level Example
"As a new graduate not being specialized at this time, I want to gain as much nursing knowledge as I can in my first job out of school. During my clinical rotations, my opportunity working on a Med/Surg unit was great as I worked with patients from a very diverse background with a variety of illnesses and injuries. This rotation is what brings me here today for your open Med/Surg nursing position. I'm really looking forward to broadening my nursing skills on a unit like this and working with patients from all walks of life."
Experienced Example
"When I came out of nursing school, my dream was to work in a home health setting. After putting in my time to gain experience, I landed the job that I am currently working in a home health setting. Over the years, I have gained a great amount of experience working in that setting where I have received excellent patient satisfaction scores and have become very effective and efficient working away from an office on the road. Your opportunity highly interests me as it would enable me to utilize my skills in a much larger scope while still providing me the opportunity to continue learning and growing in my career."
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Question 2 of 34
What is your favorite type of patient?
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How to Answer
As a nurse, you work with patients from all walks of life with many different personalities and attitudes. Favorite patients will typically be those that are compliant to your requests or are very easy-going when it comes to walking them through a diagnosis. For this question, try to be specific with your example to a particular patient interaction that you had.

Answer Example
"As a nurse in an oncology unit, we are often the bearers of very bad news to patients diagnosed with a terminal illness. I get to the see the very emotional side of some of my patients and I thrive in that environment. My favorite patient in that environment is the selfless patient that breaks down knowing what pain their family will be going through in the coming days and month because of their diagnosis. I recently had a young gentleman with two young kids get diagnosed with lung cancer and he broke down in fear for his children's future. During these times, I provide a listening ear and consoling shoulder for them to cry on."
Entry Level Example
"During my clinical rotations while pursuing my nursing degree, I was fortunate to have worked in a pediatric unit and realized that my favorite type of patient is one that is grateful for the service that I provide. We had a young boy come in for his immunizations and was crying and scared the moment he entered the exam room. Using my training, I spoke softly and reassured the boy that the pain would be temporary and the shot was a good thing for him. Even at the time of the shot, he was still crying so I had him focus on his mother in the room with us. Upon delivering the vaccine, he winced slightly but quickly realized it wasn't as painful as he would've thought. Upon leaving the exam room, he ran up and gave me a hug and thanked me. This was a very bright spot in that day that I will remember for a long time."
Experienced Example
"Through my experiences as a nurse in urgent care, emergency and critical care, I have grown to love the elderly population of patients. In getting to know each individual patient, the elderly patients are most often the kindest and sweetest patients I have worked with. While being their nurse, they open up to me and exchange stories about life, love, happiness and family and I feel truly blessed to have chosen this career in those instances."
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Question 3 of 34
What was your least favorite patient? What was the situation.
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How to Answer
Any experienced nurse has had to deal with a patient that was unruly, untruthful or just downright mean. For this question, be sure to provide a specific time where you had to handle a patient like this, how you handled the situation and what the final outcome was. The interviewer is looking for you to stay calm, cool and collected despite wanting to fight back.

Answer Example
"I had an elderly patient who was struggling to maintain their independence, but suffering from dementia while recovering from a broken hip. They were resistant at times when they needed to take medicine, so I learned how to talk to them and involve their family member in order to encourage them to do the things they needed for care."
Entry Level Example
"While not experiencing this type of patient directly during my clinical experiences during nursing school, I did encounter a few angry customers during my time working as a waiter through college. One particular customer became upset that I had brought him a different soda than he ordered. Where most customers would have simply asked nicely, he loudly proclaimed to the entire establishment that I was a poor waiter that couldn't get an order right. Knowing that his anger obviously stemmed from much more than a wrong soda, I simply apologized and returned with the correct order for him. My boss said I handled the situation properly and made sure that I put his meal on the house's tab for the day."
Experienced Example
"During my time as a family practice nurse, I had seen several patients that were abusing prescription pain pills. One patient in particular became very upset with me when the physician would not prescribe more pain medication to the patient after I checked her medical record and realized that a pain specialist had just done so the week prior with a full month's prescription. Fearing that the patient may become violent, I brought another male nurse into the room and I calmly explained to her why more medication couldn't be prescribed. The conversation led to discussion on abuse of pain medications and the dangers of the abuse. The patient left our clinic that day with educational brochures in hand about pain medicine abuse."
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Question 4 of 34
How would your coworkers describe you?
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How to Answer
Interpersonal relationships are key in a career in nursing. Your resume outlines your clinical experience and what types of patients you work with and now is the time to describe how you work with others on your team. Selling your personal and professional traits to the interview are key in a nursing interview and this question is the chance to do that.

Answer Example
"My coworkers would say that I am a total team player that is willing to lend a hand when needed. Having spent many years in an understaffed nursing facility, I learned quickly to step up to the plate and do what I could to help the greater good. After moving on in my career, this trait has stuck with my in my most recent job and I know my coworkers appreciate it every step of the way."
Entry Level Example
"Working at our campus book store through my college years, my coworkers would say I was fun to work and very knowledgeable about our inventory. Even on a bad day at work, I try to lighten the mood to make people happy. As well, from the day I started on that job, I took it upon myself to familiarize myself with our inventory and all of the duties of working there. Many coworkers sought out my help if they every had questions."
Experienced Example
"If you went back through my nursing career and talked to my closest coworkers, they would say that I am a person that takes pride in the work that I do each and every shift I work. I take a lot of pride by paying attention to detail and tailoring my care to each individual that I provide care for and this came naturally to me since my first day on the job as a young nurse."
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Question 5 of 34
How do you stay current on the latest health research?
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How to Answer
The healthcare field is continually changing with new technology and research into care methods. Due to this, most healthcare organizations require nurses to attend continuing education courses. On top of required education, many nurses choose to stay up to speed in their field by attending training, reading publications or participating in workshops. Talk about one of your most recent training sessions you attended and expand on your particular interests in learning more in the nursing field and how you educate yourself.

Answer Example
"As part of my continuing education requirements, I recently attended a Child Maltreatment training. Working in a Family Practice clinic, this training was extremely useful as it educated me on how to spot potential child abuse on patients that I see. As well, I learned new changes in law about mandatory reporting if child abuse was suspected. On top of regular continuing education credits, my passion lies in the treatment of children that are diagnosed with cancer. I am a subscriber of the 'Journal of Pediatric Nursing' and enjoy reading and learning about new research in the field."
Entry Level Example
"As a new nurse, I have thrived in my learning environment through my nursing program in college. The faculty that I was educated by and the preceptors that I worked with on my clinical rotations were instrumental in helping me get up to speed on the current field of nursing. I know that the nursing field is a continually changing work environment and I look forward to attending training and seminars to learn as much as I can in becoming a successful nurse with your organization."
Experienced Example
"As a nurse that has worked most of her career in the Emergency Department, I have had to adapt to changes in procedures and technology throughout my career. As part of my continuing education requirements, I recently took a course on the geriatric patient in the emergency room. Even having been a career Emergency Nurse, I learned new research and methods to help treat elderly patients when they come in the Emergency Room. These continuing education courses I have attended throughout my career have helped me become a better nurse."
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Writers for Nursing Answers and Questions

Elisabeth Walter
Elisabeth Walter has over five years of experience in the corporate recruiting world. More recently, she has been freelance writing for the past two years. You can reach out to Elisabeth by visiting her LinkedIn profile, at https://www.linkedin.com/in/elisabethwalter/
Heather Douglass
Heather Douglass has over 20 years experience recruiting and hiring candidates. She has a knack for resume writing. You can find her on twitter at @heatherinidaho.
Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
Ryan Brunner
Ryan has over 10 years of experience recruiting in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries. Ryan has a long track record of recruiting, interviewing and hiring candidates at all levels of the organizations that he has recruited for. These include entry-level workers, professional workers, physicians and executive level leaders. Ryan has created and worked with many interviewing formats in the industries that he has recruited for and has reviewed resumes and cover letter's for all of the positions he has recruited for.
First written on: 07/25/2016
Last modified on: 08/30/2018

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About Nursing

August 26th, 2018

As a Nurse, you are a healthcare professional that serves on a multidisciplinary team to provide care and education to patients and their families. A few of your duties include performing physical exams and health histories, providing health promotion, counseling, and education. You may also administer medications, wound care, and numerous other personalized interventions. Daily, you interpret patient information and make critical decisions. If you have many years of experience, you may direct and supervise care delivered by other healthcare personnel like LPNs and nurse aides. Your work experience will be asked about during your interview. Choose a few situations and scenarios that will make you stand out during the interview.

Your patience and empathy will be a few of your characteristics tested on a daily basis. As a nurse, you may interview for a position in hospitals, nursing homes, medical offices, ambulatory care centers, community health centers, schools, and retail clinics. You may also have the opportunity to work in a camp, homeless shelter, prison, sporting events and tourist destinations. Education as a Nurse ranges from an Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Have a few details ready to share in regards to your education and specialties.

To prepare for your interview you'll want to highlight a few key things that will make you stand out from the rest of the candidates. Something unique about your education, internship or about your past work history. Because networking is so important, feel free to name drop your mentor or colleague that supports you during your job search. Having a letter of recommendation or someone willing to make a call on your behalf could help you get that job offer. Follow your interview with a thank you note or email. Be sure to thank the interviewer for their time and leave your contact information behind.