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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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Tell me about a time in which you had to handle an irate physician, co-worker, or patient. How did you handle it and what were the results?
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Example #1
"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 into 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."
Example #2
"Over the years that I have spent working as a nurse, I have dealt with many upset patients, family members, and physicians; however, the example that comes to mind most is when an attending physician became extremely angry with one of the floor nurses one day while I was working as charge nurse at the hospital. The charge nurse had made a minor mistake in documentation, and rather than handling it professionally when the physician brought it to her attention, she snapped back at him, which caused him to become extremely angry and start raising his voice. When I intervened, the physician directed his anger at me and was raising his voice at me in the hallway, where staff, patients, and family members could hear. Rather than becoming angry, I stayed calm and used various tactics to de-escalate the situation, and soon, the physician and I were able to have a reasonable conversation with one another. I knew that the physician was overreacting, but I also knew that it would not help the situation if I did not handle it professionally, so I chose to take the high road."
Example #3
"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."
Example #4
"During my time as a 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 patient's 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."
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