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.
"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."
"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."
"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."
This is a question where you can open up and be honest with your past experiences and what you feel comfortable working with. Each facility/unit/department has different patients with different acuity levels, so the exact number of patients can vary from department to department. This is a good time to emphasize how you keep yourself organized in your work and let the interviewer know that you can take on any workload that comes your way.
"During my career as a nurse, I have found out that the number of patients that I'm comfortable handling is relative to the unit that I'm working on. In a highly acute ICU, I've worked with as a high as 8 patients on a shift and felt this was overwhelming. On a Med/Surg unit, 8 patients on a unit that I'm responsible for is low. No matter the unit that I work on, I have a great method in place for prioritizing the needs of my patients and make sure that all of my patients needs are met in a timely manner."
"Going into my first job, I have put a lot of thought into this question without having direct experience. Through my clinical rotations during nursing school, I never had a unit with patients to myself as I was always working with a preceptor. In a Family Practice clinic, seeing around three patients per hour, or between 20-25 per day, seemed very manageable in the way I watched her manage the day. For myself, handling a large patient load for a day will come down to my organizational skills and ability to prioritize needs in a timely manner."
"As an emergency nurse for many years, I was able to successfully manage the shifts where we were bombarded with patients. On these days, we often saw over 60 patients on a 10 hour shift and I was comfortable on those days due to my ability to stay organized and prioritize what needed to be done first. "
Working in any patient unit or clinic comes with times where the patient load is crazy. During these times, nurses are often the glue that holds everything together in the department to ensure that things run smoothly. Try to talk about a particular situation where you had to prioritize multiple patients at one time, how you handled the situation and what the outcome was.
"As a nurse in the emergency department, there are times when the action is crazy with patients coming in. During these times, I always remember that the needs of the patient come first so my triage skills come into use to prioritize which patients are the highest priority and which ones can wait. During these particular times, communication is extremely important for the patients. If they are going to have a time period to wait, I communicate that to them and check in with them when I am able to. As well during these busy times, it is equally important for our team of nurses and physicians to stay in communication. From there, I stay calm and handle patients with quality care one at a time."
"During my clinical rotation in an Urgent Care clinic, we had a very busy day where many patients were coming in due to a nasty flu bug that was being spread around. In working with my preceptor, I learned from him how to communicate to patients what their wait times would be and how to best triage patients based on their symptoms. His calmness in handling the situation was inspiring. Personally, during my final year of coursework in college, I was taking 18 credits each semester. During these semesters, I had to learn to prioritize my classwork by due dates and order of importance. By utilizing checklists and working through each thing one at a time, I learned invaluable skills that I can bring to my nursing career."
"One day on my shift as a nurse in the surgery center, we were booked full of cases throughout the day. As the day progressed, we had a couple of other trauma cases that were a high priority come in due to an auto accident. When this happened, we had to work as a team to communicate to current patients and family members in waiting that we had to push their times back in the day due to an emergent situation. An on-call surgeon came in later in the day to help cover the regularly scheduled cases and I had to communicate with the three surgeons on duty as to where I was needed and when I needed to be there. In the end, being able to prioritize the patients and my duties was crucial in helping the day in the surgery center run smoothly."
This question gives you the opportunity to point out how you customize your approach to each patient on an individual basis. Nurses see patients with levels of sickness and poor health that span a wide degree of severity. It is important to talk about how you communicate with your patients and using specific examples from your past can be beneficial here as well.
"Any time I see a new patient, I take my time to get to know them both personally and what their health history looks like. Oftentimes, this can lead me to understand just how poor their health conditions are and I am able to customize my care to them."
"During my schooling as a nurse, we were required to take a communications class. Here, I learned excellent question and answer techniques to get to know a patients health history better. As I enter the workforce as a new nurse, I know that I will be able to put these skills to use with each and every new patient that I encounter to help me give them the best care possible."
"Getting to know each patient and their history through what I call a fact finding process is very important in how I care for each patient individually. Recently, we had a gentleman come into our Emergency Room with what appeared to be chest pains. With him visiting family in our area, we didn't have immediate access to his medical records. While in the room, I was asking him about his health history and we learned that he was a severe diabetic. Knowing this, we were able to customize his care and avoid procedures that could potentially be harmful to him."
As a nurse, you have a working relationship with several physicians. This question will enable you to showcase your relationship with the physicians that you have worked with and what your communication style is. As a nurse, building trust with physicians is important as well so some examples of how you've built that trust can be beneficial.
"During my career, I've taken great pride in being able to communicate and relate to the physicians that I have worked with. Together, we ultimately work as a team to provide the best care that we can for each patient and our working relationship is key in accomplishing this goal."
"During my clinical rotations, I had the chance to work with and relate to many different physicians. By getting to work with and learn from so many different physicians, I obtained a much greater understanding for what they are looking for in a great nurse and how I can better work with them to treat our patients. At first I was intimidated by the fact I'd be working directly with a doctor, but after communicating and working with them, I look forward to building more of these relationships with my first employer as a nurse."
"In my time as a dialysis nurse, I have worked with many Nephrologists in direct patient care. As the first contact with the patient, it was my duty to communicate any changes in patient conditions to the Nephrologist and I never hesitated to so. Over my career, I took great pride to get to know how each physician prefers my communication and working style to be with them and I was able to tailor my approach for specific physicians that had particular preferences."
As a nurse, you deal with patients, family members and co-workers during very stressful times. These stressful times can lead to emotional outbursts like rage or sadness. In dealing with someone who was angry, it is important to demonstrate your listening skills, problem solving skills and your ability to remain calm and collected to not escalate the situation.
"As a nurse in the pain clinic, we had a patient in one day that was demanding more narcotics for her pain. She had walked in to the clinic without an appointment to demand another prescription. As the only nurse in a small clinic that day, I sat the patient down to talk to them. I used a calm voice and listened to what they were asking for. After listening, I explained that I would need to check their records for their last prescription and speak with the attending physician in the clinic that day. After seeing that their last prescription was written many months ago and the patient had missed their last appointment, I was able to talk to the physician to get another prescription written. Once prescribed, I explained to the patient how it was important for them to keep their regularly scheduled appointments and she walked away happy."
"During my time in nursing school, there were several group projects that we had to work on. In one particular group, we had a team member that was continuously missing our agreed upon meetings and wasn't responding to our requests to help with the project. The lady who took the lead for our group became very frustrated when the group was meeting at this particular person. I let the lead know that I would reach out to the person missing the meetings as I had a previous relationship with her in a class before. This put the group leader at ease and after speaking about the concern directly to the person in-person, she attended all of our regular meetings the rest of the way and pitched in to help along the way as well. By calmly addressing this face to face, the person not pitching in was able to hear the concern in my voice and stepped up to help."
"During my time as nurse in the critical care unit, we had a patient who was brought in with a punctured lung from an accident. After being put on a ventilator, the physician was going to monitor the injury for a 24 hour period to see if surgery would be required. When the family arrived, the patients mother was extremely irate that her son wasn't rushed into surgery immediately. She was demanding that her son be rushed to surgery to anyone that would listen. I took it upon myself to sit down with her and the other families that were there to explain the injury that was sustained and to explain that the monitoring period for the injury was standard and that he was in stable condition at the time. By explaining why the doctor was taking the steps he was for her son, the mother had a better understanding of the situation and was able to finally process what was happening in a calm and relaxed way."
Describe some of the aspects of a job and a facility that you enjoy most and why. Are you motivated by the positive attitudes of others? Do you thrive when your boss empowers you by giving you autonomy over decisions? It's important to know what you need and what you want out of a work situation. Share some qualities and attributes of the people and environment that you thrive in. Sometimes it's hard to know if the past places you've been employed were not the best for you. Think about an environment where you feel you will learn and grow best and describe that to the interviewer.
"My ideal work environment is one that inspires and motivates their employees."
"My ideal work environment is one that emphasizes the want and desire to educate their employees on the newest and best techniques and technologies. Healthcare is a constantly changing field and those that lag behind advancements most often lag behind their competition in the marketplace."
"Throughout my career, I've worked with many different team dynamics and leadership styles. Where I find myself being the best nurse is in a team based environment and with an organization that promotes the team-based environment. Having the ability to bounce ideas off of each other makes us all better in the end and makes the work day much more fun to be a part of."
In the fast paced nursing world, you won't always agree with the decisions that are made by your co-workers or physicians that you work with on a daily basis. When a disagreement happens, you have to make a decision whether it is something to bite your tongue about or if you need to step up and intervene due to a patient safety issue. Showing your interviewer that you trusted your final decision and the outcome of the situation was acceptable is important for this particular question.
"During my time working at a skilled nursing facility, we were short staffed one evening during medication passing. Our standard operating procedure was to pass medications to patients in teams of two to ensure that proper medications were being given to each resident. My co-worker told me to do two of the wings alone to save time and I immediately told her that I was uncomfortable going against policy for the safety of the patients. Another co-worker and I teamed up to complete the pass in the entire facility in a timely fashion with no incidents."
"During my clinical rotations, I was training in a PACU and there was a particular patient that I noticed wasn't coming out of anesthesia very well. After the standard waiting time for their surgery, the patient was still very drowsy and incoherent but the operating physician gave them the clearance to be released to their family members and leave the hospital. I was against that decision as the patient still couldn't walk very well or talk very well but I wasn't in a position to question the physicians decision. The unit was busy that day and in stressing my concern with my preceptor, she followed up with me weeks later when she had seen the patient was in great shape to come in for a follow up procedure."
"In my current position working on an OB unit, a young, single mother came in to our unit in full blown labor. She came alone and in talking to her, she didn't have any family or friends near to be with her in time for her first child's birth. As the labor progressed, the physician was noting obvious signs of stress in the baby but was still holding off on performing a c-section. At this point, I began to think that the patient should be put into surgery to get the baby out before any complications. But, the physicians experience held true a while later when a healthy, happy daughter was born to the first time mother. While I didn't agree with the decision to hold off on c-section at the time, trusting the physician's judgement was the best thing that I did and seeing the gratification on the mother was well worth it."
In almost any nursing setting, handing off a unit at shift change time in a smooth fashion is extremely important. The interviewer is looking to see how you handle the hand offs to and from your colleagues during the shift changes. Here, it is important for you to showcase your communication and listening skills and how you take information and put it to work. Walking step by step through your previous employers hand offs can be beneficial as well because it will reassure the interviewer that you are familiar with step by step processes in these situations.
"At my current position, we have a process for transitioning at shift change. To start, the nurses coming off shift and those coming on have a huddle that is led by the unit supervisor at each shift change. Here, any significant issues with patients are discussed. Next, if any work remains to be done with a patient, we communicate to each other one on one to ensure that the needs of our patients are met."
"During my clinical rotation on a Med/Surg unit, I had the chance to sit in the shift change huddles that occurred each day at the end of my shift. Witnessing how important the communication was between the nurses coming on and off shift was very vital in my learning how to be a great nurse. They took the time to talk about any patient issues and problem solved on any issues that required problem solving. These are great learning experiences I will be able to bring to this job."
"Throughout my career, I have taken it upon myself to be an effective communicator during shift changes. In the nursing field, issues arise on each and every shift and to ensure that our patients are taken care of the best as possible, communication is key."
Any nurse knows that one of the downsides to the career is the need for coverage on most units 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. There may be times when you are asked to alter your schedule or pick up additional shifts to fill for vacancies in the work schedule. Due to being shorthanded, you may also be asked to stay for longer hours on your current shift. Working as a cohesive team is important among fellow nurses in a department and they need to be willing to help each other out when needed. As well, it is important for you to be open and honest about your availability and for you to ensure that the job you are interviewing for fits your schedule.
"I know that working as an obstetrics nurse on 12 hour shifts that teamwork and helping cover for each other is important. In my current position, we have policies on notification for paid time off, shift swapping and calling in sick. I have been open to help cover extra shifts when needed and staying over for some extra time on shifts as long as I have some notice because I need to make childcare arrangements for our little one."
"As a new nurse entering the workforce, I will be more than willing to pick up extra shifts and work extra hours when needed. I am very eager to work with and learn from as many experienced nurses as I can and this would enable me to do that. Through college, I worked in the student center book store and I picked up any extra shifts that my school schedule allowed me to. There, covering the schedule was a team effort and we had to be in constant communication due to us all being full-time students."
"Through my career as a nurse, all units that I worked on functioned as a cohesive team and this was very important when it came to covering shifts. Just recently, I was working day shifts on my unit when we were notified that two of the evening shift nurses came down with the flu. Being down a couple of nurses due to turnover, my supervisor made calls to those on night shift to see if two people could split the shifts and work 12 hours. I volunteered to stay over four extra hours without hesitation and when two night shift nurses stepped up as well, we had the unit covered for the evening."
This is another very popular interview question for almost any position, including nursing. The interviewer can word this question in a few different forms. Here, it is important to have a prepared but not scripted answer that caters to the specific position that you are looking to land. Successful nurses are knowledgeable, decisive and observant on their jobs and pointing out these traits during this answer can be beneficial.
"During my nursing career, I have always prided myself on paying attention to the small details of each patient that many nurses overlook. By doing this, I have been able to better take care of my patients and even catch some mistakes that may have occurred had I not been paying so close of attention."
"As a new nurse entering the field, you'll find that my greatest strength is my passion to learn and become successful in this field. This passion will drive me to ask questions and learn from the experienced nurses on the unit. As well, my strong passion for success in my career gives me a desire to help out and pick up extra shifts when needed as well. Thi will be a great asset to your organization!"
"The two main strengths that I will bring to your organization are my technical skills and my communication skills. As a career Emergency Nurse, I have experienced every type of trauma and worked with patients suffering from almost every illness possible. Couple that with the fact that I've attended yearly trauma training events and I bring a great deal of technical skills to your Emergency Room. As well, as a career Emergency Nurse, communication has always been something that I prioritize. I have dealt with a couple of mass traumas in my career as well as many time having a packed department with a full waiting room. During these times, remaining in constant communication in the department is vital to ensure that proper care is administered to each and every patient in a timely manner."
While the focus of most of a nursing career is focused on patient care, administrative duties are a necessary evil on the job. There are many nurses who are great in working with patients on a daily basis that completely struggle with the administrative duties that their employer requires and this can lead to disciplinary action from the employer. The legalities surrounding patient record keeping are that important. Here, focus on your ability to complete the administrative duties of your current/past positions and make sure to discuss any electronic medical records systems you have familiarity in working on. Here's a sample answer: "Throughout my time working as a nurse, I have experience working on Allscripts and EPIC. During the transition from working on Allscripts to EPIC, I was able to train effectively on the new system and help others on my team become proficient. I know that patient documentation is extremely important and I always complete it in a timely fashion. If we do have a busy day in clinic, I take the time needed to document effectively at the end of my shift."
"Throughout my time working as a nurse, I have experience working on Allscripts and EPIC. During the transition from working on Allscripts to EPIC, I was able to train effectively on the new system and help others on my team become proficient. I know that patient documentation is extremely important and I always complete it in a timely fashion. If we do have a busy day in clinic, I take the time needed to document effectively at the end of my shift."
"Through my education so far in high school and college, I have developed proficient computer and typing skills. Once in clinical rotations, I had the opportunity to work on the EPIC EMR and was able to pick up the system very quickly. With my great typing skills, I am able to keep up on the documentation of each patient in a quick and efficient manner."
"During my career as a nurse, I have witnessed a change in how administrative duties are performed as a nurse. When I first started, patient documentation and records were kept by pen and paper and I had to work quickly and efficiently. When the move was made to an electronic health record, I was able to pick up the program quickly as I have great computer and typing skills. In my career as a nurse, I have worked efficiently on many systems that include EPIC, Allscripts, Cerner and Praxis. While each system has its nuances, I am able to work both quickly and effectively on these duties to focus on patient care."
Most people who go into the nursing profession are naturally attracted to helping people when they are most in need of help. They thrive on walking patients in a clinic, hospital or nursing facility setting through a very tough time for them. It is good to point this out in your answer, but your internal motivation is also important to stress to the interviewer. Are you motivated by saving lives? Are you looking to work towards a leadership role in nursing someday? Depending on the unit and setting the position you are interviewing for is in, burnout is a major factor for many nurses because of the long hours, weekends, nights and holidays that need to be staffed. Showing motivation to love the career you have chosen is important.
"When I began my pursuit of a nursing career in college, I knew that I was born to help people when they are at their most vulnerable and nursing was my calling. In my time in the field, making a positive difference in the day of each of my patients makes coming to work every day a positive experience for me."
"During high school, I knew that nursing was my true calling in life when my grandmother was ill in the hospital and I watched the great care she received while there. During my clinical rotations through nursing school, I had the awesome opportunity to work in several specialty areas and in each one, I found myself in a great place internally just being able to help patients. Your opportunity on your Med/Surg unit has me very excited to be able to help patients and family members when they are at their most vulnerable."
"As I've progressed through my career as nurse, I've had the opportunity to work on a Med/Surg unit, Home Health and in a Family Practice clinic. While each job was very unique in the patients that I worked with on a day to day basis, seeing the joy in their eyes and hearing the thanks in their voices for me being their nurse gave me all of the motivation I needed each and every day on the job. I have worked my entire career to be able to finish it working in a women's health clinic setting and the needs of the patients there will be my motivating factor moving forward."
This question is a time for you to be up front and honest with the person that is interviewing you, but to a point. Under no circumstance should you talk negatively about your current employer as that is a major red flag for interviewers. If you are truly leaving your former position because the organization has done bad things, make sure to find reasons that the organization you are interviewing with is better for your long term well being and career. Don't make money or benefits the sole focus of this interview question either as that will be a red flag that you may jump ship later on for more money. Focus on how the new position would better you as a nurse and a person.
"While I've enjoyed my time working in my current role, your position for a nurse in your women's health clinic will help me expand my horizons as a nurse and put me where I have always dreamed of being a nurse. I came into the profession to help work with women with specific health issues and this would be my dream job in doing so."
"After spending six years as an entry level nurse on a Med/Surg unit, I have realized that I have gained as much experience as I can there and am looking to expand my horizons and get into Hospice nursing. My job search has been very meticulous and thorough in looking for an employer that can meet my needs both personally and professionally and your organization can provide that."
Your path to becoming a nurse has included a great deal of education and certification. Your resume will obviously show the school(s) that you attended, what level your degree was and what dates you attended. Now is your chance to expand upon what is on your resume by talking about your experiences through nursing school, your clinical rotations or your master's program that led you to this point in your career and how specific pieces of your education led you to this job you are interviewing for.
"As you can see, I obtained my bachelor's degree in nursing back in 1991. Since then, I have attended many continuing education courses that have helped me grow significantly as a nurse. Last year, knowing that I wanted to eventually become a nurse in a substance abuse treatment facility, I attended a conference on the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the country right now. In the conference, I learned so much about spotting the signs of addiction, how it is effectively treated and how families are impacted negatively."
"As a new nursing graduate, you can see that I attended Southeast Technical College for my associate's degree in nursing. After passing my state licensure exam, I am very eager to begin my nursing career with the great education that I received from SETC. During my semester of clinical rotations, I gained great knowledge of the nursing profession and obtain many skills while working in urgent care, dialysis, emergency and critical care settings. Down the road, I want to pursue both my bachelor's and master's degrees to pursue a leadership position later on in my career."
"As a nurse who has worked most of her career with an associate's degree in nursing from back in 1988, I recently graduated from my bachelor's degree program that I worked hard for on top of holding my full-time job. Going back to school as a non-traditional student in nursing really refreshed my mind as an experienced nurse to learn about new treatments and techniques. In looking to make the move from a career med/surg nurse to an emergency nurse, my final year elective class on treating trauma patients will benefit me well on my new nursing career path."
This is one of the most common interview questions for any nurse walking into an interview. This is an easy question to think about and rehearse ahead of time without sounding like you are reading from a script. When talking about a weakness, it is important to talk about how you are currently working to improve yourself in this area and any tools or people that have helped you become better at this weakness. Technical on-the-job skills are a great piece to point out for this question.
"I've noticed that I could really improve upon the time it takes for me to complete patient assessments and fill out patient information. I am a perfectionist so sometimes I take too much time on details. While I know the details are important, I am practicing moving more quickly through these routines."
"Through my clinical rotations and schooling, I haven't had a lot of experience in working directly on an EHR system. Most of my experience was watching fellow nurses work through systems like EPIC and Cerner. I have very strong computer skills and typing skills and have no doubt that I would be a very quick learner when it comes time for me to train on a new system."
"As a nurse who has spent the last 10 years working on a critical care unit, I haven't been able to keep up to speed on caring for patients in a family practice setting. Knowing that I'd be looking to make this transition down the road, I've picked up extra shifts at my current employer in the Family Medicine clinic and have worked the outpatient side of things when I could to get back up to speed. At this point in my career, I'm ready to make my way back to the outpatient setting for the remainder of my career and re-hone my skills there to be the best nurse that I can be."
No matter the career or profession, mistakes happen in the workplace. Here, your interviewer is looking to see how you handled the situation after you realized that you made a mistake. In terms of your answer, explain the situation that occurred, how you realized that a mistake was made, what action you took to resolve the mistake and what the final result of your action(s) was. Demonstrating what you learned from the situation is very important to show that you won't make the mistake again.
"In my last position, I was responsible for making the schedule for all of our RN's and LPN's. Managing a schedule for 30 providers can be a bit of a task in order to work everyone appropriately and take into account people's requests, leave and labor laws. I had accidentally shorted our night shift an LPN and they had an influx of patients that night. Our healthcare didn't waiver but I put undue stress on the staff that night. After this situation, I decided to run the schedule by one other RN for their second set of eyes to ensure it didn't happen again."
"During my clinical rotation on a critical care unit, I was working my first shift at a facility that I wasn't familiar with. After a quick break, I was making my way back to the unit when I was stopped by some visitors to the unit. They asked me how to find the visitor waiting room and, assuming I knew, I pointed them to walk down the hall to a room on the left. Walking back into the unit and unsure of my direction, I talked to my preceptor about where the waiting room was and it turns out it was in the opposite direction. I went right back out and found the family searching for the waiting room and I apologized and took them to the correct place. They were very glad that I came back and showed them where to go. Looking back, I learned that I should be 100% sure if I'm guiding visitors to a place in the hospital knowing that the place is foreign to them. Taking it back, I would've had them sit tight while I asked my preceptor for the correct place."
"Back in my time working on a Med/Surg unit, I was on an evening shift where we were short staffed one evening due to a couple of people calling in sick. We had a fairly full unit that evening and I wasn't able to keep up with my charting throughout my shift due to being short staffed. As shift change came, I had to work to catch up on my charting notes and as I began working, I realized that I had a hard time recollecting all of my patient notes for the evening between medication passing, dressing changes and other duties. I had to utilize the assistance of my other coworkers on duty that night to help me. As a nurse, I definitely encountered this situation again a few times later in my career and I learned to jot notes down on paper quickly if I wasn't able to chart on the computer right away. This has enabled me to be more efficient on those hectic shifts."
This is a great question to highlight one of your leaders giving you feedback from a past conversation or performance review. If relevant, using the name of your leader can pay off big time the way that the healthcare leaders are connected in our world. It is important here to think of traits that would be vital for the job that you are interviewing for and having a letter of recommendation or reference from this person makes it more credible.
"My current boss would say that I am a natural leader within my unit. Without being given the specific assignment throughout my career, I have taken it upon myself and found great joy in taking new employees under my wing in showing them around their new workplace."
"Through nursing school, I worked at a local grocery store and my boss there would say that I was a very reliable employee. I was very motivated to leave school without any debt so I picked up any shifts that I was able to as long as my school schedule allowed. When it came time for clinical rotations, I was very proactive in swapping scheduled shifts with co-workers that conflicted with my clinical schedule."
"If you were to speak to any of the leaders that I have had through my nursing career, all would say that my bedside manner with patients is top-notch. Whether it was during my stint as an Urgent Care nurse or working with Hospice patients, I have been able to tailor my care to each individual patient and handle them with both skill and compassion. As provided in references, my past leaders would be more than happy to confirm this with you."
This question is where you should showcase that you have done some research on the organization and that it appeals to your core values in one way or another. Employers are looking for the job to be a long-term fit and by the job appealing to your core values, the chances of you staying there are greater. During this question, stay away from talking about pay or benefits. Employers know that people that are motivated by pay will likely jump at the chance for another job down the road. This question should never be a chance for you to talk bad about a current or past employer either. This is a major red flag for most interviewers.
"One of my closest friends is current a nurse in the Critical Care Unit here. In talking to her, she can't stress enough how the needs of the patient are a top priority with your organization and that is a value that I hold highly. I entered the nursing field to care for patients and it will be refreshing to work for an organization that holds that value highly."
"Having the great fortune of working here during my clinical rotations, I got to witness just how well the teams and units work together on a first hand basis. As a new nurse, this sense of teamwork and togetherness is important to me as I look to develop my skills as a nurse."
"As I've both read and heard about first hand, your organization is a physical led organization and I think that is important in the healthcare field. Physicians are the first line in patient care and knowing that the decisions made at the highest level have the patients needs in mind makes your organization very desirable to me."
The basis of this question is difficult because a wrong answer in the eye of the interviewer can disqualify you as a candidate. It is best to be open and honest if you do have specific requests, but leaving it open to a range is also very acceptable. Nursing positions can vary depending on shifts, hours and duties so a little market research on your end as the applicant goes a long way in you knowing what is fair for t
"Currently, I am earning a base salary of $68K plus an annual bonus and the opportunity to work overtime. Last year my earnings were $73K and I'm hoping to get close to the same mark in my next position."
"As a new graduate coming out of nursing school, I am hoping to earn a fair market value for a new nurse with no direct work experience. My main focus is the job itself and my work will prove my value as you get to know me as an employee more."
"In coming to interview for this position, I am hoping to be compensated fairly compared to other nurses with the same level of experience that I bring to the table. My main motivation in seeking new employment is not motivated by money, but rather by on the job factors."
As a nurse, the need to communicate effectively to a patient is vital and this is no more evident than when delivering bad news. The interviewer will be looking to see how you handled yourself in a particular instance by showing empathy and composure where most individuals wouldn't be able to. Think of a time when you had to do this and talk about an instance that had a great outcome.
"As a pediatric nurse early in may career, my physician received lab results from a young patient found to have a brain tumor. When the patient and family were called in for their consult, the physician and I were both in the room when the news was delivered. In that situation, it is hard not to break down with the family in tears but I knew that they were looking at me to be the person with strength and have answers to their questions. The physician and I were able to walk them through their next steps and options moving forward with their child's diagnosis and they truly appreciated that."
"During my time in clinical rotations on a Med/Surg unit, I had been working with a patient throughout the day that was planning to be released back home by 4:00 pm that afternoon. As my day shift was ending, the physician notified us that due to the fact the patients blood pressure hadn't dropped to an acceptable level, he would have to stay another night for observation. When I was in the room with my preceptor, she gave the news to the patient calmly and explained the reason why it was necessary. While certainly excited to be sent home, he fully understood the reasoning why and took the news well due to her simple delivery of the message."
"As an urgent care nurse, I saw patients with varying degrees of sicknesses and illnesses. One weekend, a young boy came in with a foot injury from playing in a hockey tournament earlier that day. After the doctor examined him, he was sent to the lab for X-rays. In talking with the boy and his father, they were in town for a hockey tournament and his team had just reached the championship game which was to be played the next day. The boy was so excited and hopeful that he would have just a bruised foot and be able to play. Once the tests came back, it was revealed that he had fractured the outer metatarsal on his foot. I delivered the news to the boy that he had fractured his foot and that he would need to leave our clinic in a walking boot and not play the next day. He was devastated. I explained to him that playing further could damage his foot further down the road and by taking the time to explain why he had to take the course of action he did, bot the boy and his father were grateful. "
Nurses can find themselves in very stressful working conditions from time to time due to a variety of reasons. Here, the interviewer is looking to see how you personally manage those stressful situations. Think of a specific time you had to manage a stressful situation, how you handled it, what tools or resources you used and what the outcome was of the situation.
"As an emergency nurse, I was working a night shift during the winter where a bus accident brought in 10 critically injured patients on top of the standard winter visits to an ER. When we received the call that the ambulances would be showing up, I went into immediate triage mode with our current patients. This mode continued when the accident victims arrived as well and I prioritized those with the most traumatic injuries first and worked down the line. I great piece of advice I got early in my career was that I am only one person who can only focus on one thing at a time. In these situations, this sage advice keeps me focused on the patient in front of me and not letting my mind wander to the other patients."
"Working my way through nursing school, I worked a near full-time job and was attending classes. To try and finish a semester early, I packed 19 credits in my final two semesters and this was a stressful time for me. While not having a lot of time for family and friends, I made sure to take care of myself by eating healthy when tempted not to and still get a good amount of sleep each night. By taking care of myself, my daily stress was lessened and much more manageable when it could've been easy to live off of fast food and caffeine with many sleepless nights."
"In my time working as a home health nurse, I spent a lot of time on the road. Winters were particularly tough with high numbers of illnesses coupled with bad driving weather. One Sunday, we had a large dumping of snow and I had a full patient load the next day. As I hit the road on Monday morning, I received several emergent calls for visits that day as I was realizing the driving conditions would be bad. Knowing I would have a large patient load that day and driving conditions were poor, I contacted my supervisor to let them know of the situation. He approved me to work the hours that I needed to that day safely and responsibly. In that situation, I took my time on the roads and made a plan for patient visits that would be efficient. By communicating and making a plan, the daywas very manageable."
Heading into the interview, you should have a pretty good availability of the work expectations of the position through the job posting that you read or the advertisement you saw. In truthfulness to yourself and potential future employer, you should be as honest as possible in what your availability is in regards to evening, night, weekend and holiday shifts.
"I am open to working any shift on any day as long as the schedule for particular shifts is out at least two weeks ahead of time. With my husband having a full-time job, I need to be able to plan ahead for childcare should the need arise."
"As a new nurse entering the workforce, I am ready to work any shifts on any days that I can. I want to let you know that I do have my son every other weekend and would like the chance to not be on the schedule on those particular weekends or be given the opportunity to trade shifts if I were scheduled on those weekends."
"After working years of swing shifts on a Med/Surg unit, I am at a point in may career where I would like to work solely day and evening shifts. Upon reading the job posting, I understood that this was primarily a day shift position with every other weekend coverage and occasional evening shifts to help pick up for vacation days."
Years of nursing school and clinical experience give nurses a lot of medical knowledge. But to most patients and family members on a clinical visit or hospital stay, medical terminology is like a foreign language. Because of this, nurses need to have conversations with patients in a manner that the patient and/or family will understand and be able to make informed decisions if needed.
"As an emergency nurse, we had a young patient come in one day that had been a passenger in a bad car accident. Due to the injuries that he sustained, he was left with a leg that was badly broken and bleeding badly as well. Upon initial triage, the doctor thought there would be a chance the young patient would lose his leg to amputation to save his life if surgery didn't go as planned. The boy's father was in the accident as well and was being treated and the mother showed up to the ER shortly after they arrived to our facility and she was obviously in a panicked state. Knowing that we would be rushing her son to surgery, I calmly sat with her in the waiting room to explain the injuries to his leg and that the bleeding was very bad. Rather than using medical terms, I simplified the conversation to her level of knowledge so that she understood the importance of the surgery and what could happen if the surgeon wasn't able to stop the bleeding. By having an understanding of the situation, the mother was able to calm down and think clearly."
"During my clinical rotations as a pediatric nurse, we had a young girl come in with sever pain in her ear and head. After my initial check on her, I noticed she had some sever congestion in her ear and nasal cavities likely causing the pain. Prior to the doctor coming in and noticing she was very nervous, I used the metaphor that her ears and nose were like a cave and bad monsters had gotten into the cave. I explained to her that the doctor needed to look at the monsters to be able to give her the right medicine to get rid of the monsters in the cave and clear the way again. With that said, she was in a giggling mood and sat nicely for the doctor to fully check her out."
"In my time as a rehabilitation nurse, I worked with patients that spanned a wide array of physical ailments. When it came to working with patients with joint issues, my team obviously knew the medical terminology for the femur, tibia, ulna, radius and so forth. When talking about specific bones, joints and muscles with patients, I always made sure to point out where each was on their body and talked about how each part functions. Using this method, patients were better able to understand how their body worked and why their rehab processes were important to their overall health."
This interview opportunity is a chance for you to talk about how a team that you were a part of collaborated to help a great outcome for a patient. The interviewer is looking to hear your thoughts on working together as a team and the role that you played in that process. In the medical field, working as an interdisciplinary team is vital in the care of each and every patient.
"On my Med/Surg unit, we had a patient that was admitted because of a mild heart attack suffered while working in his yard. Upon admission after his bypass surgery, the patient was very upset to be hospitalized and wanted to return home immediately. In this case, I gathered our team on staff for his first evenings stay and rallied them to think of their jobs with him that night as hosts/hostesses. I stressed that we needed to make him feel both comfortable and welcomed in our unit and that we needed to show him that this place was better than home. From the start, our team treated him like a king. When he was released to go home a few days later, his daughter thanked us for the hospitality and the man was very grateful to our entire team."
"In nursing school, I was part of a group of eight students that were rotating on the largest birthing centers in the city for four weeks. For us as a group, this was a very intimidating clinical rotations because we knew of the volume of the workload there and the reputation for it being the best of the best in the city. Our preceptors were very welcoming but demanding at the same time and we all worked our tails off and learned a lot on that rotation. After the rotation, our program director reached out to us to let us know that the unit director at the hospital had said that we were best group of rotating nursing students that she had worked with in her time at the hospital. We were all very proud of work."
"In my career as a nurse, I have always felt pride when a team that I worked with came together to support a colleague in a time of need. Working a 24/7/365 career is hard on a nurse as an individual and their family and picking up for a team member in need is important. Last year, we had a fellow nurse that miscarried during her pregnancy. Being that the unit was short staffed at the time, she tried to return to work immediately to not let us down. Upon return to work, we all noticed how distraught she truly was and we convinced her that more time off was needed for her. That day, a group of nurses sat down with our leadership to work out a schedule to cover her shifts. Upon returning to work, the nurse was extremely grateful to us as her teammates and I couldn't have been prouder of our team for working together in that situation."
The healthcare industry is always in a constant state of change. Organizations merge, laws change and new technology and process are always emerging to better care for a patient. To succeed as a nurse, you need to be able to demonstrate that you can navigate change with ease in the workplace and this is your chance to give a specific change you have dealt with in the workplace with a positive outcome.
"In my last job, my organization went through a buyout to become the current organization that it is. Upon the buyout, just about everything about my job changed. We were working on a new EMR, our pay structure changed, our benefits changed, our leadership structure changed and some our work processes did too. Knowing about the buyout ahead of time, I was able to prepare myself under the notion that I only can control what I can control. In this instance of a total buyout, my attitude was under my control. As I saw other coworkers complain, cry and even look for new jobs, I took this as an opportunity to embrace change and become a better organization. Learning a new EMR and learning new work processes did end up making me a better nurse in the end and for that I am grateful of that opportunity."
"As an inexperienced nurse starting my clinical rotations, every rotation was a significant change. With each rotation, I had to familiarize myself with a new facility, a new staff, a new EMR and new work processes. I feel like these changes from rotation to rotation helped round me out as a new nurse entering the workforce and helped me gain a lot of great knowledge on how to be the best nurse that I can be."
"During my 10 years working as an emergency nurse, my department saw several leadership changes. With each leadership change came a change in philosophy on how the work schedule would be made and worked. In those 10 years, I've worked standard eight, 10 and 12 hour shifts. I've worked straight day shifts, straight evening shifts, straight night shifts and swing shifts from week to week. Each change in work schedule had an effect on my life at home due to childcare and being available for my children's school and recreational events. With planning and communication, I was able to embrace each change in schedule and I learned over time that being flexible to these changes was extremely vital to both my personal and professional well-being."
Often one of the final questions during the interview, this is your final chance to sell yourself to the interviewer on why you are the best candidate for the job. This is a good question for you to have a prepared, but not rehearsed answer where you can talk about the skills you bring to the table and how they will benefit the organization and the patients. As well, you can discuss your personal traits that you feel put you above the competition for the position.
"Throughout my career as a nurse, I have demonstrated that patient care is a top priority in any job that I have held. It has always been my dream to work on an obstetrics unit and I know that everything that I have worked for in my career has brought me here, speaking with you. My compassion and drive to succeed in this position make me the top person for this job and you'll find quickly that I will be a top contributing member of your obstetrics nursing team."
"Pursuing a nursing career has been a passion of mine since I was a young girl. As I made my way through nursing school, my dream of becoming a nurse developed into a passion for helping those patients that are in need of psychiatric help. I know that your psychiatric inpatient unit requires a nurse that is both compassionate and able to handle a large patient load on any given day. You'll find that my past work experience and references will point out that I am a go-getter who can handle a large workload while providing excellent care to my patients."
"As a nurse who has worked over 20 years in the field, I have developed many skills in my time working in family practice, urgent care and general surgery. These skills will translate well into your emergency setting. You'll find that I'm a very patient centered nurse who is driven to be the best that I can be each and every day that I report for duty. Being a successful nurse requires this drive to succeed along with a passion for the craft and without those traits, I wouldn't be the nurse that I am today."
This will be the question that ends each and every interview and it is very important to come prepared with questions. More often than not, some of your questions will be answered throughout the dialogue of the interview. This is to be expected. While the questions you ask can vary to many degrees, having well thought out questions shows that you have interest in the position and in some of the minute details of the job. It is okay to have questions written down or typed out and for you to be taking notes during the interview.
"You've done a great job of answering some of my questions that I've had prepared throughout the interview. Thank you for that. Long-term fit is ideally what I'm looking for in my next job so I'm wondering what it is about this organization that keeps you working here and what do you love the most about working here?"
"As a new graduate, the time frame for me to be up and running on my own is important for me to have some sort of expectation on. What does the orientation and training program look like in your department and what is an expected time frame for a new nurse to be working on their own in the unit?"
"Through my career as a nurse, some organizations have been great about promoting teamwork within the workplace and other places haven't. Can you tell me how this organization promotes teamwork within the workplace and how is teamwork generally promoted within the department?"
On this question, the interviewer will be looking to learn how you deal with the unexpected things that arise when on a shift. For your answer, make sure to talk about how you are able to prioritize things in order of importance/need and you are able to pick up the pieces where you left off prior to the emergent situation.
"In my current position, I am on the hospitals trauma team. If a trauma emergency is called, I am pulled from my regular duties on my Med/Surg unit to attend to the emergency trauma. This happened a few weeks ago during a medication pass and I didn't have help to back me up. Upon hearing the call over the PA system, I let me leader know that I needed to be present when the trauma arrived at the hospital. I made a quick note to myself on where I left off with the patients on my unit. Upon returning to the unit an hour and a half later, I was able to pick up the medication pass where I had left off because I had taken a quick minute to jot some notes down to myself."
"During my clinical rotation in an urgent care setting, a patient that I was seeing with my preceptor collapsed with an apparent cardiac arrest. At that point, instinct kicked in with my basic life saver training and I began to administer CPR while my preceptor went to grab the defibrillator. Upon return, the shocked the patient back to stable condition and he was admitted to the hospital that evening. Staying calm and relying on my training was key in that situation to help save a life that day."
"During my time working as a nurse in a residential treatment facility, we worked with many patients who were detoxing and rehabbing from extreme alcohol and drug dependency issues. Late one night, a patient in the detox unit was threatening to harm either himself or staff and the unit was put on lock-down. As the nurse in charge of that unit, I used my de-escalation training to calm the patient down to a relaxed state through simple conversation. Had I not had that training, I wouldn't have known the proper things to say and attitude to have with him to calm him down. After the incident, it was back to business as usual on my unit."
The nursing profession can be physically demanding. Standing and walking for long stretches, assisting in lifting patients and staying awake for odd hours and long periods of time are some of the physical demands of the job. For the position that you are interviewing for, make sure to research what the physical demands are for the job and point out how you are able to handle those tasks. It can also be beneficial to discuss your self-care methods because being a nurse often requires being in great
"Through my nursing career, I have spent many long hours on my feet and working shifts at non-traditional times. To be able to do this with ease, I have worked hard to be in the best physical shape that I can be by jogging on a regular basis, eating healthy and getting ample amounts of sleep each and every night."
"I know that as I enter a nursing career, I will be asked to do some pretty extreme physical activity. Lifting patients and standing for long hours at a time comes easy to me as I've participate in sports all the way through high school and continued this through college. Being in great shape and eating healthy is a lifestyle choice that I have made and it will definitely help me in my nursing career moving forward."
"In my nursing career, I have always handled the physical requirements of the job with ease. Before lift systems were standard in inpatient rooms, we physically lifted patients into and out of their beds when needed. The long hours and standing for long periods of time come easy to me as well. I realized early in my career that I needed to care for myself and my physical well-being outside of work and I continue to do this to this day."
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.