MockQuestions

PICU Nurse Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your PICU Nurse interview, here are 35 interview questions and answer examples.

PICU Nurse was written by and published on May 11th, 2022. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 35

How do you reflect after dealing with a difficult and challenging patient situation?

Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

One fact that you need to come to terms with prior to applying for a position as a PICU nurse is that you will face some very difficult and challenging patient situations. As a nursing professional, reflecting, learning, and growing from these challenging situations is vital to future patient care success. Your interviewer poses this question to ensure that you will take the time to reflect and learn after you have handled a difficult situation in their Pediatric ICU.

Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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35 PICU Nurse Interview Questions & Answers

  • Behavioral

    1. How do you reflect after dealing with a difficult and challenging patient situation?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      One fact that you need to come to terms with prior to applying for a position as a PICU nurse is that you will face some very difficult and challenging patient situations. As a nursing professional, reflecting, learning, and growing from these challenging situations is vital to future patient care success. Your interviewer poses this question to ensure that you will take the time to reflect and learn after you have handled a difficult situation in their Pediatric ICU.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      During your future career as a PICU nurse, you will no doubt be put in situations where young patients receive life-threatening diagnoses, go into cardiac arrest, or even die. It's human nature to rationalize or justify and not face the difficult feelings or emotions of a situation gone bad, but this reflection is extremely important so that you know you are doing all that you can do to help in the situation. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to reflect on a situation and learn from it moving forward. If you have an example of a time you have done this during your career, don't hesitate to talk openly and honestly about the situation and what you learned.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I really like to go back and review with myself and the team what happened and ways to be better in any situation that doesn't go as planned. I think it's important to distance myself a little bit from the emotions and try to review the situation logically. I think that when emotions run high, intelligence can run low, and we need to talk about situations and responses without blame. Blame isn't helpful and impedes learning. As a PICU nurse on your unit, I know that I will be facing some of the most difficult situations that any nurse can handle and I'm ready for that challenge. I want you to be assured that I would take any difficult situation and learn from it moving forward."

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

  • Behavioral

    2. Have you ever had an issue or disagreement with a physician or colleague's decision? How did you handle it?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      In the fast-paced world that a PICU nurse works in, you won't always agree with the decisions that are made by your co-workers or the physicians that you work with. In asking a question like this, your interviewer asks about a time when you had a disagreement on the job to get the sense that you would be professional, respectful, and diplomatic in coming up with solutions as a member of their team.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      When a disagreement eventually happens as a PICU nurse, you first have to make a decision whether it is something to take issue with or leave alone. In the example that you discuss, show your interviewer that you trusted your final decision and the outcome of the situation was acceptable. Try to highlight your ability to communicate effectively while being respectful in making your professional opinion heard.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "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 the policy as it wasn't safe for the patients. Another co-worker and I teamed up to complete the pass in the entire facility in a timely fashion with no incidents."

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

  • Behavioral

    3. Describe your typical relationship with the physicians you work with. What would your ideal physician relationships look like for you in our PICU?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      As a PICU nurse, you will have the opportunity to work closely with Pediatric Critical Care specialists and other pediatric subspecialists like cardiologists, neurologists and oncologists. This question will enable you to showcase your relationship with the physicians that you have worked with and what your ideal communication style is with the physicians you will work with in this role.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      As a nurse, building trust with physicians is important, so some examples of how you've built that trust can be beneficial. To really seal this answer for your interviewer, describe what an ideal relationship with a physician would look like if you were hired at their organization if you were fortunate enough to be offered this position as a PICU nurse.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "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 to accomplishing this goal. In my current role, I work closely with hospitalists and other subspecialists. I build trust with each by walking the walk and talking the talk. If I commit to a task, I see it through and communicate the results back to a physician. I also never hesitate to give my professional opinion to them. As a part of your PICU, my ideal relationship with the physicians I would be working closely with would involve open communication, friendliness, and mutual respect for the care we each provide to patients here at your organization."

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

  • Behavioral

    4. As you may be aware, staff in the pediatric critical care setting have been historically known to experience "burn out" on the job. Why do you feel you will be able to handle the mental, physical, and emotional stress this job can bring?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Because of the great responsibility that comes with caring for pediatric patients in the intensive care setting, many nurses do report experiencing the need to take a break from work due to high amounts of stress and eventual burnout. At some point during your time with them, your interviewer wants to know that you are capable of handling the high amount of stress that will come with this role as a PICU nurse and that you are cognizant of this danger of the job.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Your interviewer is fully aware that the increased stress levels of working as a PICU nurse can cause exhaustion, fatigue, increased levels of absenteeism, and low staff morale as they've likely seen this throughout their time as a PICU leader. As you answer this question, you'll first want to acknowledge that you are aware that you will be stepping into a highly stressful environment. As you do this, you can then talk about the ways that you will join this team that will help prevent you from becoming stressed and burnt out. In the end, stress to your interviewer that you won't let the common stressors in the PICU cause you to perform poorly on the job.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    5. What drew you to apply to our organization as a PICU nurse?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      While you will discuss your passion for pediatric intensive care nursing throughout your interview, your interviewer also needs to hear that you are attracted to their organization and its values. This will help prove that you will be dedicated to your work as a PICU nurse and that you'll be able to carry out the mission and values of the organization.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      This question is allowing you to be direct in your approach in talking about what draws you to this organization. Prior to your interview, be sure to research the mission, values, and goals of the organization and make sure that you put some serious thought into what you feel hits close to home for you in working for them. As you answer, talk about the values of the organization that you hold near and dear to your heart to prove your long-term dedication when hired.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    6. How much supervision do you feel you would need in your initial months on the job as a PICU nurse at our institution?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Prior to your interview to join a reputable pediatric intensive care unit as a registered nurse, it's important to know that a typical orientation period for new staff is around 12 weeks. This is due to the high level of acute specialized care that is required with pediatric patients. In asking a question like this, your interviewers want to hear your thoughts on the orientation process and when you would ideally feel comfortable working solo on the patient floor after you are hired.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      This is a tricky question, so think it through ahead of your interview and be prepared to give an answer that illustrates that you are "coachable" without being too dependent or needy. You also want to project that you are confident and competent without being arrogant or trouble for the PICU leadership team. Your interviewer wants the best of both worlds in looking for a new PICU nurse to join their team, so be prepared to describe your competency, initiative, and willingness to both ask for and receive supervision and direction.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    7. What makes you the ideal candidate to become our next PICU nurse?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      This is often one of the final questions during your interview and your chance to sell yourself to the interviewer on why you are the best candidate to join their pediatric intensive care unit as a registered nurse. They've been asking a lot of great questions to get to know your skills, your personality, and how you will fit with their neonatal care team and they're now allowing you the chance to give your best sales pitch to them.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      This is a great question to have a prepared (but not rehearsed) answer for. Talk in a way that highlights your skills and how they will benefit the PICU patients you will be working with. You can also discuss your personal traits that you feel put you above the competition for the position.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    8. How do you feel you've handled significant changes in your work as a nurse throughout your career?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Innovation in pediatric intensive care continues to improve outcomes for patients on an almost day-to-day basis. Your interviewers need to be assured that you would join their team as a PICU nurse who can handle changes in patient care and do so with an open mind and a willingness to learn and grow.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Coming into this PICU nurse interview, you need to be able to demonstrate that you can navigate change with ease in the workplace. This question is your chance to talk in detail about a specific change you have dealt with in the workplace that had a positive outcome. In your answer, be sure to reiterate your ability to be flexible and open to change if you were to join this organization as a PICU nurse. To take your answer to the next level, discuss why innovation is vital to providing the best care possible to pediatric intensive care patients.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    9. What is your overall availability to work varying shifts as a new nurse in our PICU unit?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Heading into your interview for this PICU nurse role, you should have a pretty good idea of the scheduling expectations of the position through the job posting that you read or the advertisement you saw. Similar to other critical care and inpatient settings, shift nurses will staff the unit every hour of every day, and your interviewer will be looking to hear that you have the availability required for the position. They also want to know if their top candidate has any time commitments that they should work with.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      In truthfulness to yourself and the potential future employer, you should be as honest as possible regarding what your availability is when it comes to nights, weekends, and holidays. While reiterating that you are open and flexible, make sure that your interviewer knows of any personal commitments that you have because it is important that these things are discussed during the interview process. Based on your research into the hours requirements for the position, make sure to reiterate that you can handle potential 12-hour shifts and even required overtime. If needed, you can always ask clarification questions to your interviewer.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    10. How have you gone about prioritizing your work in your current role when multiple patients and/or procedures demand your attention at once?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Working in any patient unit or clinic can be overwhelming at times for registered nurses due to high patient volumes. During these times, nurses are often the glue that holds everything together in the department to ensure that medical support runs smoothly. In the pediatric intensive care setting, there will be times when you are managing a full unit of patients that all require very acute care. Your interviewer is asking this question to ultimately determine how you will manage situations like this as a PICU nurse at their institution.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      To successfully answer this question, be able to talk about a particular situation where you had to prioritize multiple patients at once and describe how you handled the situation with a great outcome. Some things you ideally want to highlight that lead to success as a busy PICU nurse are your abilities to prioritize, stay organized, and communicate with the entire care team.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    11. What has driven you throughout your career to be the best nurse you can be? How will this help our PICU patients if we were to hire you?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      No matter how many years of experience you have as a registered nurse, you must stay motivated in order to provide top-quality care to pediatric patients in the intensive care setting. In the PICU, days can be exhausting and emotionally draining and it is important for nurses to be able to stay motivated and on their toes at all times. Your interviewer is posing this question to determine what motivates and drives you internally and to determine if their environment would be a good fit for you.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      To successfully answer this question, you should describe what motivates you to be the best that you can be each day on the job. If possible, really try to hammer home why working with the unique patient base in the PICU really appeals to you and the type of nurse that you are to seal your answer for your interviewer. As you answer, don't hesitate to take a historical approach and discuss your motivations to go into the nursing field and how your motivations may have adapted over time.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    12. What is your preferred role in working as part of a larger team as a registered nurse?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      During your interview for this role as a PICU nurse, your interviewer will surely be looking to hear that you can be the ultimate team player if you were to be hired on their team. You know that RNs don't work alone and that the success of the greater good relies on a true team effort. In the PICU setting, you will be working closely with a team of pediatric intensivists, advanced practice providers, pharmacists, nutritionists, and nurse colleagues and your interviewer needs to be assured that you can both take direction and take the lead when needed.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      While being open and honest about the type of role that you are most comfortable playing as part of a larger team, discuss how flexibility and cohesiveness are important in a true team effort. Also, don't hesitate to reiterate that you can function well in both a team setting and working alone. If you can, give an example of a time you took the lead on your team to prove your ability to do this as a PICU nurse.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    13. Talk about the proudest moment you have experienced as part of a larger healthcare team. What role did you play in that effort?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      In the PICU setting, accomplishments can come in both the smallest and grandest of forms. A simple blood transfusion that is less than two teaspoons can make a life-changing difference for a toddler in your care, and a patient that's been hospitalized for months can finally say that they are able to walk again. By asking this question, your interviewer is ideally looking to hear that you would join their PICU nursing team with a sense of pride in the work done by both you and the team you are a part of.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Prior to your interview, think of a situation when you felt a sense of pride and accomplishment in a team effort during your time as a registered nurse. Try to paint a clear picture for your interviewer of what the situation was, who was involved in making it a great team effort, and what the ultimate outcome was. If you can relate your answer to a direct patient care situation, that is even better. In the end, make sure that your interviewer walks away knowing that you would take pride in what you do on the job as a PICU nurse on their team.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    14. What appeals to you in working as a PICU nurse and do you see this as a long-term career fit for you?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Pediatric intensive care nurses are a rare breed of RNs looking to take on both the difficult worlds of ICU care and pediatric care. Your interviewer knows that an entry-level job in a PICU is often a difficult ask, so you have likely built up your experience over the years for this dream job. They want to ensure that any candidate that they hire has the passion and drive to succeed in this role for the long term and this question gives them insight into your passion for PICU nursing.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      First and foremost, you want to make your passion for PICU nursing come to life for your interviewers with your answer. To do this, discuss why working with critically ill/injured pediatric patients is your calling. Then, be sure to talk about how your career path to this point has fully prepared you for success in this role from the start and for the rest of your career.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    15. What do you feel is the biggest challenge you would face in joining our team as a PICU nurse?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Every new nursing job has challenges, no matter where your prior experience and education come from. With your interviewer fully aware that coming to their team as a PICU nurse will provide challenges for any new hire, they're asking this question to allow you to talk about what you feel would be your biggest challenge from the start in this role and to hear what your plan would be for facing this challenge.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Prior to your PICU nurse interview, be sure to carefully read the job description and really reflect on what you foresee as a potential challenge from the day you would start on the unit. Answer openly and honestly, but be sure to talk about what you would see for a plan of attack in handling that challenge. Make sure your interviewer walks away knowing that you would still thrive, despite the initial challenge.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    16. What would you say is the greatest strength you would bring to our team as a PICU nurse?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Understanding one's own strengths and weaknesses is critical as a pediatric nurse in the intensive care setting. If a question like this gets asked during your interview, consider yourself lucky as your interviewer is allowing you the opportunity to give your sales pitch for why you are the best candidate to join their team as their next PICU Nurse.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      When you answer a question like this, you ideally want to try to compare your strengths to the required skills listed in the job overview when answering this question. If you feel that your strength is a little too common or generic, don't hesitate to think about a very unique strength that you can bring to this PICU team as long as it would greatly help you and your team in the role.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    17. What personality traits do you have that you feel would make you a great PICU nurse?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Warm personalities and a strong sense of character are extremely important for PICU nursing staff and for the families of the patients they care for to see. Your interviewer is looking for cues as to what character traits you may bring to the table as part of their PICU nursing team, and this question allows you to personally reflect on your positive personality traits.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Prior to your PICU nurse interview, take some time to reflect on what you feel are your top personality traits that will lead to success in this role. Try to really think about the patients and families that you will be interacting with on a daily basis. PICU nurses really need to have perfected their soft skills like empathy and emotional stability, so discussing traits that outline your soft skills will prove to be beneficial when you answer this question.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    18. Talk about your experience working among a diverse team. How did you thrive in that environment?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of the minds of all healthcare institutions, both large and small. If asked this question during your interview, you will likely be joining a very culturally diverse team and caring for a diverse patient base. Your interviewer wants to know that you are open to meeting and learning about new people and becoming an integral part of this team as a PICU nurse. They'll also be looking to hear about any diverse environments you have worked and thrived in during your career up to this point.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      In an industry as large as healthcare, diversity among peers is inevitable. To be successful, it is crucial to learn how to work with a diverse group of people. Some people are intimidated when faced with learning new cultures and beliefs, but in the healthcare industry, doing so is crucial to provide effective care. Be positive with your response as you discuss culturally diverse environments you have been a part of. If you have been a part of any formal DE&I training or helped lead any efforts in this area, now is a great time to talk about those experiences.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Education

    19. What patient education skills would you bring to our team as a registered nurse?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Nurses in any setting have to be confident and skilled in their ability to provide patient education regarding their diagnosis and treatment. The PICU setting provides many unique challenges that the best nurses master and embrace, specifically in educating both patients and immediate family members. Your interviewer is asking this question to assess your overall ability and skill level in providing education to the families of the patients that you will be caring for in their pediatric ICU.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Providing education and/or discharge instructions in the PICU cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach, as patients' families have varying capacities for comprehending information. To effectively answer this question, you should specifically explain how you have delivered instructions to patients. A stronger answer to this question would include a specific example of how you adjusted the delivery of educational information or discharge instructions to ensure the family of the patient understood what was being communicated.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Education

    20. What professional nursing organizations do you belong to, and are there any you would look to join as a PICU nurse?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Prioritizing professional development and learning opportunities as a registered nurse is a quality that any nurse manager will look for in a candidate to join their team. This is particularly true for working in the pediatric ICU, where staying up-to-date and educated on the latest and greatest procedures is vital to providing the best care possible. With this question, your interviewers will be looking to hear about the organizations you're a part of currently and that you've done your homework on the organizations that represent the pediatric nursing field.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      To start, simply talk about the organizations that you do belong to and discuss any benefits that you've received from your membership over the years. This can and should include any educational or training opportunities you have received. Then, make sure to do your homework on organizations like the Pediatric Critical Care Medicine organization and the Society of Pediatric Nurses, and be sure to let your interviewers know that you are ready and willing to take advantage of being a member of those organizations.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Operational

    21. Are you able to handle the physical requirements of working in our pediatric ICU?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Being a successful PICU nurse has a unique blend of competing physical requirements. On one end of the spectrum, this includes being on your feet for typical 12-hour shifts with little time to sit because of the need to do rounds on patients and lifting requirements to be able to lift/transfer patients. At the opposite end comes the need to have gentle hands for the pediatric patients that you will be working with on a daily basis. Your interviewers need to know that you will be able to handle all of the physical demands of the job if they are going to seriously consider you for the role.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Speak honestly and to the point about your ability to handle the long hours on your feet and the quick action of the PICU environment. If you have experience working in a similar environment, be sure to reiterate that to your interviewer. Then, talk about your ability to work carefully with pediatric patients and how you will prioritize being a gentle and caring nurse if hired for this role. It can also be beneficial to discuss your self-care methods; being a PICU nurse is certainly helped by being in great physical shape.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Operational

    22. How do you approach the documentation of patient records? Do you have specific strategies that you use?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Documentation of clinical encounters in patient records is extremely important as a PICU nurse. If clinical encounters, medications, procedures, vital signs, and other information are not documented properly, poor, or even fatal, patient outcomes could occur. Your interviewer is asking this question to determine how seriously you take accurate and timely documentation and to see if you use any methods to improve efficiencies for documentation.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      To effectively answer this question, be prepared to talk about how you approach documentation from beginning to end in your current role and give examples of any strategies that you use to improve efficiency. If possible prior to your interview, do some research on common errors that occur in PICU patient documentation so you can assure your interviewer that you are aware of the importance of accurate documentation and assure them that you will take the necessary time, every time, to document patient notes.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Scenario

    23. You just finished preparing IV medications for a patient, and you thoroughly washed your hands before doing so. As you enter the patient's room with the medication, describe the first thing you do to prevent patient infection.

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Due to their lack of immunity and the nature of their conditions, pediatric ICU patients are at significant risk of picking up an infection as a consequence of the care they are receiving. Although infection prevention measures in the healthcare industry have greatly improved over the years, the risk still exists and healthcare professionals must be vigilant in order to prevent healthcare-acquired infections. Your interview asks a simple question like this to ensure that you would always take the easy safety procedures seriously in your work as a PICU nurse with their organization.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Although it may seem obvious, the simple task of handwashing is the first step in infection prevention. To effectively answer this question, you should explain that the first step you would take to prevent infection would be to wash your hands thoroughly again. A more successful answer to this question would include an example of how you have helped train colleagues on handwashing in such situations and/or assisted in the development and implementation of handwashing policies for your nursing unit. You should also remind your interviewer that you would remain compliant with any gowning requirements with certain patients.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Scenario

    24. Talk about a time when you had to handle an irate patient or their family member on the job as an RN. How did you handle that situation and what were the results?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      In the pediatric intensive care unit, nurses often deal with the family members of patients during some of the most stressful times of their lives. These stressful times can lead to emotional outbursts, like rage or sadness, directed at staff on the unit. Your interviewer needs to be assured that you would join their team as a PICU nurse who will be able to handle the range of emotions that the families you work with will show.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Prior to your interview, think of a situation you have been in where you can clearly demonstrate your ability to diffuse a high-conflict situation. 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 so as not to escalate the situation.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Scenario

    25. You are nearing the end of your 12-hour shift in our PICU and you are exhausted from caring for eight, high-acuity patients. As your colleague arrives to relieve you, tell me how you proceed.

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Even after a grueling 12-hour shift in the pediatric ICU, a successful handoff to your colleagues is vital to the proper care of your patients. Your interviewer is asking this question to determine if you understand the importance of completing thorough shift handovers to your colleagues.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      First and foremost, you want to reiterate to your interviewer that you will prioritize a proper shift handoff with all patient information because your PICU patients' health and safety depend on it. If you have an example of a time you successfully handed off at a shift's end to your colleagues when circumstances were difficult, talk about how you walked through that handoff. Now can also be a great time to confirm what process the unit you are interviewing with uses at shift change time.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Scenario

    26. If you were talking with a patient's parents during rounds and they told you they didn't understand the treatment plan that the physician told them, how would you respond in that situation?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Unfortunately, these types of situations are very common in the pediatric critical care setting for PICU nurses, as the families of patients are often confused or misinformed about their child's health. The interviewer is asking this question to determine if you would take initiative to help the family. They'll ideally be looking to hear that you would explain the medical situation to the family in layman's terms and follow up with the physician if any more information should be provided.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      In this situation as a PICU nurse, you should describe how you would take time to help the family understand what is going on with their child's health and condition. A more successful answer to this question would include a specific example from your career where you helped clarify a diagnosis, procedure, or other medical-related situation when a patient or their family was confused. Make sure to reiterate that you would handle any follow-up necessary in a quick manner to ensure that the family's questions are answered.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Scenario

    27. As a PICU nurse with our organization, how would you handle a situation where a colleague calls you to ask you to document some patient notes that they had forgotten during their shift?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      While it may sound like the right thing to do because you don't want anything to happen that could potentially jeopardize the patient, you should never do this because it is forging the medical record. It's very unethical and risks your nursing license. While there are many scenarios that your interviewer can propose to get at your desire to be ethical when it comes to patient records, this question gives your the opportunity to prove that you would do the right thing in this situation.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      In this real-life "what if" scenario, the correct thing to do is to write down the information that should be formally documented in the EHR and attach a sticky note to the unit in the patient's room so that there is a visual reminder for all staff on duty. This information should be reported to the shift nurse manager for additional guidance on how to manage the situation. Under no circumstances should you sign off on any patient notes that you did not directly handle.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Situational

    28. How have you typically responded to an emergency situations during your career as a registered nurse?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Emergency conditions ranging from respiratory distress to a quick onset of sepsis in patients that can occur in pediatric critical care units mean that PICU nurses often need to react swiftly to them on the job. Your interview asks this question to hear about emergency procedures you have been trained in and have handled throughout your career to get a better sense of how you will work in emergency settings as a part of their unit.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      If possible, the best answer to this question will highlight how you've had to act quickly during your nursing career in emergency situations. To assure success in this role as a PICU nurse, you'll want to highlight your ability to respond quickly and make yourself available to assist provider staff in any way you can. Talking about how you were resourceful, quick thinking, and not hesitant in a high-pressure situation will also prove your ability to handle any situation you may face as their next PICU nurse.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Situational

    29. Tell me about a time you had to communicate bad news to a patient or family member. How did you effectively communicate that news?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      As a registered nurse in the pediatric ICU setting, the need to communicate effectively with the parents of your patients is vital. There may be times when you have to help deliver horrifying and life-altering news to the families of your patients, and your interviewer will be looking to see how you handled yourself in similar situations by showing empathy and composure.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Prior to your interview, think back to a time when you had to have a difficult conversation. Talk openly about what made the communication difficult and how you prepared and ultimately delivered the communication. To really sell yourself in your ability to handle delivering bad news to the families of PICU patients, talk about your ability to understand their perspective and that you are open and available for questions from the family.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Situational

    30. Talk about the most stressful situation you've had to deal with in the workplace. What did you learn from that situation that you can bring to our team as a PICU nurse?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Registered nurses in the PICU setting can find themselves in very stressful working conditions from time to time due to a variety of reasons. Given the highly specialized nature of pediatric intensive care and the patient situations they deal with, the stress can be both physical and psychological. With this question, your interviewer is looking to see how you personally manage stressful situations in the workplace to get a feel for how you will handle these times as a part of their unit.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Think of a specific time you had to manage a stressful situation on the job as a registered nurse, describe how you handled it, talk about what tools or resources you used, and explain what the outcome was. If possible, talk about specific coping techniques you used to help you through that particular situation to prove your ability to handle the mental and physical toll that working as a PICU nurse will no doubt involve.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Situational

    31. What are some action steps you could take to alleviate stress for a patient's family in our PICU?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Families coping with a child in critical care are often scared, stressed, and experiencing feelings they've never felt before. The PICU nursing team is often relied upon to help turn a very sad situation into a potentially positive one for both the patient and their family. In posing a question like this during your interview, your interviewer seeks to be assured that you are aware that some of your duties as a PICU nurse on their team include consoling and making the families of patients feel at home and at ease.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      One of your main goals as you answer this question is to show how you can humanize the experience for families by letting them know that they are seen and valued. You want to reiterate that you would check in with them every so often and do little things like remind them where the cafeteria is. There really is nothing you can do to lessen their internal stress and grief, but you can encourage them to stick to a daily routine and take a walk away from the PICU while assuring them that their child is in the best care possible. For families that are on an extended stay, you can help encourage parents that going back to work is healthy.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Situational

    32. Talk about a time you had to deal with an upset or sad patient or family member as an RN. How did you handle the situation?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Navigating a wide range of emotions in the pediatric intensive care setting requires not only working hands-on with children in need of intensive care, but also with the family members who are responsible for the child. Your interviewer wants to know that you are capable of addressing the needs of the family members and patients in their PICU when bad news is delivered or when people are struggling emotionally with a diagnosis.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Being able to identify stressors that may affect a family member of a PICU patient is important in this role. You ideally want to highlight to your interviewer that you will always have an empathetic and understanding approach while you educate the family members on all the steps of their loved ones' care. Be sure to stress that your caring approach will help ease the minds of both patients and their family members because that sense of ease helps the healing process in young patients.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Situational

    33. What do you do to help keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed on the job when you have multiple patients or competing priorities?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      The rapidly changing circumstances for patients in pediatric intensive care make the ability to prioritize and multitask as a PICU nurse essential. In asking this question, your interviewer seeks to be reassured that you would come to their team with the ability to be very detail-oriented in the care you provide to each patient while also having the ability to change pace at a moment's notice when needed. They'll also be looking to hear that you can do this with ease.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Managing patient care requires the ability to multitask and ensure all details are checked and double-checked. As you answer this question, you'll want to discuss your understanding of the importance of maintaining detailed records, caregiver education, performing multiple assessments, and handling medications and procedures efficiently and accurately because success as a PICU nurse requires all of these skills.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Technical

    34. Do you have any hands-on experience in hemodynamic monitoring that you would bring to our pediatric ICU?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Pediatric intensive care patients most often require having things like their blood pressure, heart function, and other blood flow measures watched closely. Your interviewer asks this question to hopefully hear that you have hands-on experience in some of the different types of hemodynamic monitoring.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Openly and honestly discuss your experience using ECG monitoring, kidney functioning, pulse oximetry, arterial pressure monitoring, or any other techniques for monitoring how blood flows through a patient's body. If you feel like your experience falls a bit short of what will be required in this role as a PICU nurse, make sure to reiterate to your interviewer that you would join their team with an open mind and the ability to train on any new equipment required for the job.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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  • Technical

    35. Talk about the IV skills that you would you bring to our PICU nursing team. Will you be comfortable working on pediatric patients with this skill?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      One of the skills that PICU nurses will be expected to have is starting intravenous lines (IVs) in the pediatric patients they will be working with. Starting an IV can be very traumatizing and painful for young children, particularly infants, and your interviewers need to be assured that any PICU nurse they hire will be comfortable and skilled in working with their patients.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

      How to Answer

      To successfully answer this question, you should elaborate on your ability and experience in starting and managing IVs throughout your career. A more successful answer would include an example of when you successfully handled a difficult circumstance while starting and/or managing an IV. To cap your answer, highlight any experiences you have working IV lines into pediatric patients and emphasize that you are ready to learn and master any additional skills needed on the patients you will be working with in this role.

      Written by Ryan Brunner on May 11th, 2022

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