Nursing Interview Questions

48 Questions and Answers by

Kelly Burlison is an experienced healthcare and quality measurement professional with experience interviewing in the healthcare field focusing on IT.

Nursing was updated on March 17th, 2019. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 48

Tell me about a time that you had to deal with an unexpected emergency on the job. How did you handle that situation?

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Nursing Interview Questions & Answers

  1. 1.

    Tell me about a time that you had to deal with an unexpected emergency on the job. How did you handle that situation?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Kelly's Answer

      "In my current position, I am on the hospital's 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 my 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."

      Kelly's Answer

      "Becuase I have spent most of my career working as a nurse in an outpatient family practice clinic, many people think that I have never dealt with emergencies; however, this is not the case. Many times, patients who arrive at our clinic are very sick and are in need of emergency care. Just last week, I was on my way into the clinic, and I stopped at the public restroom in the building lobby before reporting to work. While I was at the sink washing my hands, one of our patients, called out from one of the stalls, told me she needed emergency assistance. I immediately used my cell phone to call the clinic and asked them to call a code blue, and I crawled under the stall, got the woman into the floor, and began administering care to her before our emergency team could reach her. The woman's vital signs were dangerously low, and she ended up leaving by ambulance, so my quick thinking likely saved her life."

      Ryan's Answer

      "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 lifesaver 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."

      Ryan's Answer

      "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."

      1 Community Answer

      Anonymous Answer

      "During an ICU rotation, I was charting at the nurse's station when another nurse's patient coded. I ran to help; I took the blood sugar of the patient as the nurse administered CPR compressions. I was also able to use my BLS skills and give one round of compressions."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This is a strong example of jumping into action during an unexpected moment of urgency; however, it could benefit from more context and detail, especially around the result of your actions. If you follow the STAR framework when forming your answer to 'tell me about a time...' questions, you will draw out more detail, which will help make your answer even more engaging. Here is a guide to using STAR if you'd like to learn more: Behavioral-Based Interviews Using The Star Method/

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