Nursing Interview Questions & How To Answer

How to prepare yourself for those pesky interview questions.

5/28/20234 min read

nursing interview questions
nursing interview questions

Mastering Behavioral Interview Questions for Nurses: A Comprehensive Guide

As a nurse, nailing a job interview involves not only showcasing your clinical skills and knowledge but also demonstrating your interpersonal skills and problem-solving abilities. Behavioral interview questions are a popular tool hiring managers use to evaluate these competencies. This guide will help you prepare and excel in answering such questions. Follow this link for more information on how long nursing school is.

Behavioral Interview Questions: Uncovering Your Skills

Behavioral interview questions are designed to reveal how you handle various work situations. They are based on the premise that past behavior is an excellent predictor of future performance. These questions typically ask you to provide specific examples of instances when you demonstrated particular skills or behaviors.

Common Themes: What Interviewers Want to Know

When answering behavioral questions, you'll need to provide examples highlighting a range of skills, including teamwork, problem-solving, communication, adaptability, and patient care.

Preparing for Behavioral Interview Questions: The STAR Method

The STAR method is a proven strategy for responding to behavioral interview questions. It stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result and provides a structured way of organizing your responses.

Situation: Setting the Scene

Begin by describing the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. Be specific and provide enough detail for the interviewer to understand the context.

Task: Defining Your Role

Explain your responsibility in that particular situation. This should convey what was expected of you and what you needed to achieve.

Action: Detailing Your Response

Discuss the specific actions you took to address the situation or task. Be precise and focus on what you did, not what your team or supervisor did.

Result: Highlighting the Outcome

Conclude by describing the outcome of your actions. Did you meet your objective? What did you learn from this experience? How have you applied this knowledge since?

Common Behavioral Interview Questions for Nurses: And How to Answer Them

There are several common behavioral interview questions that nurses may encounter during job interviews. The key to answering them effectively lies in preparation and practice. Below are a few examples and tips on how to tackle them:

  1. Describe a situation where you had to collaborate with a difficult colleague.

    Focus on your ability to maintain professional relationships and work effectively as a team, even when faced with challenges.

  2. Tell me about a time you handled a crisis.

    Highlight your problem-solving skills, ability to stay calm under pressure, and dedication to patient safety.

  3. Describe a situation where you went above and beyond for a patient.

    Showcase your commitment to patient care and empathy.

Conclusion: Excelling in Behavioral Interviews as a Nurse

Mastering behavioral interview questions requires preparation, practice, and a patient-focused mindset. By using the STAR method and focusing on the core competencies sought by hiring managers, you can successfully illustrate your suitability for the role.

Behavioral interview questions offer a unique opportunity to showcase your soft skills, critical thinking abilities, and patient-centered approach to care. Remember, every question is a chance to illustrate why you are the best candidate for the position. Embrace these questions, and let your experience speak for itself.

Nursing Behavioral Interview: Practice Questions and Answers

Here's a list of 20 example behavioral interview questions that a nurse may encounter, with suggested answers at the end.

  1. Can you describe a situation when you had to handle a difficult patient?

  2. Tell me about a time when you made a mistake in your nursing duties. How did you handle it?

  3. Can you share an instance when you had to adapt quickly to a change in patient status?

  4. Describe a situation where you disagreed with a doctor's decision. How did you handle it?

  5. Can you share an example of how you handle stress during your shifts?

  6. Describe a time when you had to handle a medical emergency. What actions did you take?

  7. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for a patient.

  8. Can you recall a situation where you had to use your communication skills to explain a complicated medical issue to a patient or their family?

  9. How do you handle disagreements or conflicts with colleagues?

  10. Tell me about a time when you had to advocate for a patient.

  11. Describe a time when you had to use critical thinking skills to solve a patient issue.

  12. Tell me about a situation when you had to work as part of a multidisciplinary team.

  13. Can you describe a time when you helped a patient deal with pain?

  14. Tell me about a time when you made a significant contribution to improving patient care in your unit.

  15. Can you recall a challenging ethical dilemma you faced at work? How did you resolve it?

  16. How do you manage your tasks during a busy shift?

  17. Tell me about a time when you had to use your leadership skills.

  18. Can you describe a situation when you had to handle a death case?

  19. How have you handled a situation in which you were given an unfamiliar task or responsibility?

  20. Can you share an instance where you had to provide emotional support to a patient’s family?

Suggested Answers:

Remember, these answers should serve as a guide and should be tailored to fit your own experiences and professional journey.

  1. A situation with a difficult patient involved an individual who was non-compliant with their treatment plan. I listened to their concerns, offered empathy, and worked with them to develop a more agreeable plan.

  2. Once, I accidentally overlooked a patient's allergy information. After realizing the mistake, I immediately informed the doctor, who adjusted the treatment plan. I apologized to the patient and learned to double-check allergy info.

  3. During a routine check, a patient's vitals suddenly dropped. I immediately called for assistance, administered the necessary emergency care, and followed the rapid response protocol.

  4. In one case, a doctor suggested a treatment plan that I believed wasn't the best for the patient. I respectfully shared my concerns and proposed an alternative, which was eventually accepted.

  5. I manage stress by taking short breaks, practicing deep-breathing exercises, and prioritizing tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

  6. During a cardiac arrest case, I immediately started CPR, called the code, and ensured all lifesaving interventions were correctly performed.

  7. I once stayed after my shift to support a patient who was nervous about a surgery. I reassured them and helped them understand the procedure.

  8. I had a patient who didn't understand the seriousness of their diabetes. I used simple language and visual aids to explain the disease process and the importance of management.

  9. When disagreements arise, I ensure open and respectful communication, try to understand their perspective and find a compromise.

  10. I advocated for a patient who I felt wasn't receiving sufficient pain management. I discussed this with the doctor and got the pain management plan