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15 Essential Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

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Nurse interview questions that explore certain key areas including :

  • Your nursing background
  • your suitability for the specific nursing job opportunity and why they should hire you
  • your strengths and weaknesses as a nursing professional
  • your motivation and your understanding of the nursing role in today’s healthcare environment

Be prepared for your nursing interview, use the sample interview answers
to develop your own winning responses to these typical nursing job
interview questions.

Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

Expect interview questions that assess your training, qualifications and work experience as they relate to the nursing job opportunity.

1. Where did you get your training and what qualifications do you have?

  • explain why you have chosen a specific area of practice 
  • be prepared to discuss your theoretical training as well as the practical component
  • remember to take copies of your certifications with you

2. Describe your relevant nursing experience

You will be asked nurse interview questions around your work experience based on the resume you have submitted.

  • prepare by carefully going through your resume beforehand
  • be completely familiar with your tasks and responsibilities and the skills, abilities and knowledge you have gained

Anticipate the following type of questions:

This nursing job requires training and experience in ……… Tell me how your training and experience fulfill this requirement.

Your resume shows that you have knowledge of …….. Please tell me more about your experience in this area.

What is your experience in ….. Tell me in some detail how you went about performing this task?

In answering these nurse interview questions:

  • highlight special achievements and the acquisition of specific skills and abilities
  • use the opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to nursing
  • speak positively about your experiences and previous employers
  • keep your answer relevant to the requirements of the nursing opportunity

Prepare for these common nurse interview questions and you will be able to give effective and convincing answers that set you apart as an excellent candidate for the nursing job.

3. Why are you the right person for this nursing job and why should we hire you?

Highlight why your training and experience qualify you for this specific nurse job.

  • prepare for this beforehand by closely reviewing the key job requirements and matching the relevant skills and abilities you have gained to these
  • provide specific examples of these skills when answering this question
  • use your background research to show your understanding of the key challenges faced by this organization
  • detail how you can help meet these challenges and be part of the solution

4. Why are you interested in this particular nursing job?

Again prepare for this by finding out as much as possible about the job and the facility.

Demonstrate why this job is the one you particularly want using this background research. For example:

“I am specifically looking for a position in a facility like this because of it’s excellent emergency care …..”

5. What have been your most significant accomplishments to date?

Describe achievements that relate to this nursing job. Take specific examples and describe how your approach benefited the patient and/or facility.

6. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a nursing professional?

Be honest about your weaknesses, show you have the maturity and insight to recognize your areas for improvement. This list of common workplace weaknesses will help you identify these areas for improvement.

State a weakness and then discuss how you are managing it and the improvements you have made so far.

How to find out what are your strengths?

7. What are three strengths that you bring to this nursing position?

Make sure the professional strengths you identify are relevant to the specific nursing job opportunity. This complete list of workplace strengths will help you answer this common nurse interview question

8. What are your future goals?

Your
answer should show your commitment to this job and facility. You can
explain how this nursing job meets your long term objectives by
providing an opportunity to grow and develop your nursing skills.

Be realistic and select reasonable, achievable goals otherwise you will come across as a bit of a dreamer.

Sample interview answers

9. Why are you leaving your present job?

  • explain
    how this opening provides a new challenge and opportunity
  • avoid
    criticizing your former employer or colleagues and giving a negative
    reason for leaving
  • focus on the positive possibilities that will come
    with a move to a new nursing job

Good reasons for leaving a job

10. What do you consider the most important qualities for this nursing job?

Make
your answer relevant to the specific nursing job. For example, common
qualities required for successful performance as an ER Nurse include :

  • adaptability
  • resilience
  • critical thinking
  • organization and planning
  • emotional stability
  • high stress tolerance.

11. What did you like and dislike about your previous position?

The
interviewer is evaluating your suitability and compatibility with this
nursing opportunity. General likes that are applicable to most nursing
jobs include:

  • learning opportunities
  • professional growth
  • job diversity
  • directly contributing to improving patient care

The dislikes
should not refer to characteristics of the nurse job you are
interviewing for.

  • stay away from reasons that involve common working
    conditions such as overtime
  • avoid criticisms of your previous employer
    but refer to the absence of something that you want in your new job such
    as the opportunity to use your initiative more or learn new skills

Expect nurse interview questions that explore your motivation for the nursing job and a nursing career.

12. Why did you choose your specialty area of nursing?

Whether
the area of specialization is ER, Occupational Health, Community
Health, ICU or any other, the key to answering interview questions about
your nursing career choice is to be very specific about why you chose
it.

  • what influenced you in your choice?
  • how did you explore your options?

Highlight how your strengths are best utilized in this area and how it suits your personal competencies.

13. Why do you want to work in our hospital and/or community?

Use your background research to support your answer. Look at aspects such as:

  • the commitment to health care provision
  • innovations in patient care
  • the community it serves

14. How do you stay current with the nursing profession?

Nurse
interview questions about your motivation to learn and stay updated are
important indicators of your commitment to nursing as a career.

Examples include:

  • attending conferences
  • subscribing to professional nursing journals
  • joining relevant forums and groups
  • conducting online research

15. What are the biggest challenges facing nursing today?

Healthcare
systems globally are struggling to meet the demands of the populations
they serve. One of the major problems is the current shortage of trained
nurses.

Use your interview answer to demonstrate that you have
thought about this issue and offer up some reasons as to why there is
such a shortage of skilled nurses.

Possible reasons include:

  • low nursing school enrollment due to poor perceptions of nursing as a fairly rewarded career
  • nurses leaving the profession before retirement age due to job dissatisfaction

You
need to be able to show your interest in nursing as a career by
demonstrating that you have thought about the current and future issues
facing nurses.

Behavioral nurse interview questions and answers

A number of nurse interview questions will be competency-based or behavioral interview questions. Go to this section to view behavioral nursing interview questions with answer guidelines.

What questions should I ask in my nursing job interview?

The interview is a two way street and it is important to engage with the interviewer by asking good questions throughout the job interview.  Prepare a list of good interview questions to ask in your nursing interview.

How do I prepare for a nursing interview?

These pages provide everything you need to succeed in your nurse job interview.

Practice
answering these sample nurse interview questions in mock sessions with a
colleague, friend or relation until you feel comfortable about handling
your nursing job interview.

You can also expect a number of common job interview questions in your nursing interview.

How to submit a winning nurse job application

How to follow up properly after your nursing interview. 

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