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Nursing

34 Interview Questions & Answers

Q&As WRITTEN BY
Heather Douglass
Heather has over 20 years experience recruiting and hiring candidates, specifically in the health care industry.
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How do you prioritize when multiple patients and procedures demand your attention at once?
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Example #1
"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 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."
Example #2
"Working in the pediatric outpatient environment, I often am faced with competing priorities and situations where I have multiple patients who need my attention at once. Managing my patient load and these priorities are something I have struggled with since I began working as a nurse two years ago. At first, I would get extremely overwhelmed and because I was unsure of how to handle the situation, I would end up getting extremely behind in clinic. However, I have worked with my manager and my doctor to come up with new strategies to help me save time and improve efficiencies, which have helped me improve my practice. I also have been practicing strategies for being mindful and not getting overwhelmed, which has helped me focus on each task at hand, rather than getting overwhelmed by the whole."
Example #3
"During my clinical rotation in an Urgent Care clinic, we had a very busy day where many patients were coming in due to a flu virus 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."
Example #4
"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."
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