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Nursing Interview

48 Nursing Questions and Answers by Heather Douglass
| Heather has over 20 years experience recruiting and hiring candidates,
specifically in the health care industry.

Question 1 of 48

Describe a recent issue you had with a doctor or co-worker's decision. How did you handle it?

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Nursing Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Describe a recent issue you had with a doctor or co-worker's decision. How did you handle it?

      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.

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

      Kelly's Answer

      "I actually recently dealt with this type of situation during one of my clinical shifts in the emergency department. We had a patient who presented with extreme muscle spasms and joint pain. The patient's joint pain was so bad that she could not move her joints, particularly her jaw. After the physician I was working with examined her, she diagnosed her with pain from an arthritis flare; however, I did not agree with the diagnosis because of the patient's symptoms. Using a professional approach, I urged the doctor to do exploratory testing, giving her clinical rationale of what I thought was wrong with the patient, and once we received the test results back we learned that the patient had a life-threatening infection that needed immediate medical attention."

      Ryan's Answer

      "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 the decision, as the patient still couldn't walk very well or talk very well but I wasn't in a position to question the physician's 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."

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my current position working on an OB unit, a young, single mother came into our unit in full blown labor. She came alone and in talking to her, I learned 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 physician's 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 judgment was the best thing that I did and seeing the gratification on the mother was well worth it."

      Anonymous Answer

      "In my current position working on an ED, communicating with co-workers and physicians is very important. One pt came to ED with very sleepy; I thought he's addicted to alcohol. While I didn't agree with the decision to check brain CT scan "stat," as a priority, at the time, trusting the physician's judgment was the best thing that I did, Seeing the gratification on the patient was well worth it."

      Kristine's Answer

      With any example you share, you want to share the outcome. In this particular example, the interviewer will wonder if the physician made the right decision in ordering a CT scan “stat.” If it turns out the CT scan was needed stat, then it will support your decision to trust the physician’s judgment. I suggest you incorporate these details into your story.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "Currently, I don't have any co-workers because I am a nanny, but at my previous job, I did disagree with my boss. It was the holiday season, and we were getting ready to shut down for the week to prepare the 800 pies that had been ordered. The week before prep week, she decided to stop taking orders because I hadn't baked for a holiday pick up by myself and was worried the both of us wouldn't be able to handle the load. I initially took this negatively. I was willing to pull extra hours and knew the shop needed the money from the orders we were missing out on. I discussed it with my boss, and she cleared it up that she didn't think that we couldn't do it but that she wanted us to enjoy the process as well. We still ended up accepting a few extra orders from our regulars, and the holiday season went off without a hitch."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It's great that you approached the situation and were willing to work extra hours to make sure the shop was profitable. This is a clear example of teamwork and good communication.

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