Top Nursing Interview Questions with Example Answers [2020]

Prepare for your Nursing interview by going through these most asked Nursing interview questions. Additionally, get access to sample answers and interviewer's expectations.

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  • Question: To date, what has been your greatest achievement?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: You can discuss an achievement that is either linked to nursing or totally unrelated to nursing. Many nurses say that attaining their nursing degree has been their greatest achievement. Others state that forming a family has been their greatest achievement because it has given them a greater understanding of the human experience.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Describe how you maintain competence (stay current) in the nursing profession.
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: Nursing is not simply a job. It is also a journey filled with lifelong learning. You can discuss the ACLS course you took earlier this year, or the critical care conference you attended recently, or the mental health symposium you visited, or whatever it is you do to maintain or augment your nursing knowledge base.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Tell us about a previous mistake and the lessons you learned from it.
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: We’ve all made mistakes, so be honest. The mistake that you divulge may or may not be related to nursing. For example: “I used to delay charting until the very end of each shift, but realized I wasn’t making the most of my time. I’ve learned to chart during the shift to improve my time management.”

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: If we hire you, how long would you plan to work here?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: Facilities generally shy away from hiring candidates whom they perceive to be job hoppers, so it would be best to indicate that you plan on establishing a long-lasting relationship with the company.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Tell us about your leadership/management style.
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: Honesty is also the best policy when answering this question. It is perfectly acceptable to admit that you feel more comfortable following the lead as you gain more experience. If you are already a seasoned nurse, you can keep it general by saying that your leadership style depends on the situation at hand.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: What are your feelings on working nights, weekends, or occasional overtime?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: In this situation, honesty is the best policy. If you accept a 12-hour night shift position when you are truly a diurnal (daytime) person, your existence might be miserable for months, years, or however long it takes to transfer to day shift. You might also feel bad if you accept a weekend schedule that causes you to miss your children’s Saturday morning sporting events.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: What is critical thinking and give an example of a time you used critical thinking in relation to patient care.
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer:

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  • Question: Tell me about a time in your clinical experience where you didn't just do your job as a nurse but how you went above and beyond normal standards.
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    Sample Answer:

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  • Question: Do you have any questions for us?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: Ask the interviewer a question or two, whether it pertains to nurse/patient ratios, length of orientation, or educational opportunities. You might appear uninterested if you have no questions

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Tell us why we should hire you.
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: This is the last time to truly sell yourself to the interviewer. Emphasize your positive attributes, reaffirm that you are a team player, and tell them why you are the best candidate for the position that they need to fill.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Recall a difficult situation and describe how you handled it.
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: If you have healthcare experience, they want to know how you have dealt with angry doctors, emotionally upset families, or difficult patients. If you lack healthcare experience, you can discuss a difficult situation that occurred in school or a previous workplace.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: What motivates you to be a nurse?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: Companies prefer to hire healthcare workers who are motivated by intangible ideals, not concrete realities such as money. Even if cash is your ultimate motivation, do not elaborate on your need for money.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Are you a team player?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: Healthcare facilities prefer to hire people who work well with others, have good social skills, get along well with patients and visitors, and can pull together as a team for the sake of patient care.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Discuss your biggest strengths and weaknesses.
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: The interviewer wants to hear about strengths that would be assets in the workplace. Since we all have weaknesses, the person conducting the interview will know you're a boldfaced liar if you deny having any.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Describe to us how you perform under pressure.
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: The settings in which nurses work can quickly turn into pressure-cooker environments. To be blunt, the interviewer does not want to hire anyone who is so emotionally fragile that they'll shatter like plate glass when faced with the day-to-day pressures of the job.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Tell me why you want to work here.
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: Your reasons for wanting to work at this place of employment should be positive. Also, make a connection between your career goals and how they can be achieved at this company.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Tell us what your current/former boss would say about you.
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: The interviewer is basically looking for clues that will shed light on your work ethic and interpersonal skills. Direct quotes work well. "Jill always said I was dependable" is a direct quote that says a lot.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: How would you handle a patient who complains about everything?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: I would first ensure that the patient had no valid complaints, and then just be patient and reassuring that we were doing everything we could for them.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: How would you handle a family who is displeased with your patient's care?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: I would listen to all of their concerns and make sure that if any were well founded, that they were addressed immediately.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: What do you find most difficult about being a nurse?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: I think for me, the most difficult part of being a nurse, is when I have a patient that is very uncomfortable, or in a lot of pain, and I cannot comfort them.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Q: What would you do if your shift replacement did not arrive on time or at all?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: A: I would notify my shift supervisor and offer to stay until my replacement arrived.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Q: How would you handle a patient who constantly complains about pain?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: A: In this situation I would take the following course of action: A) I would bring this concern to the attending doctor and make sure that the patient's pain was being managed in the most effective way. B) I would reassure the patient that everything possible was being done to alleviate their discomfort and C) I would listen sympathetically to their complaint, reassure them that their concerns were being heard, and that we were doing everything possible to help them.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Q: How would you deal with a doctor who was rude?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: A: If the doctor was not happy with my care of a patient in some way, I would want to know how, so I could take corrective action to remedy the situation. If I needed to, I would even bring the question to my supervisor for help resolving the issue.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Have you ever been in a situation where you struggled or had a conflict with another employee?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: Conflict in some manner is usually always asked in some manner during an interview. Always remain positive when discussing former bosses or co-workers. Think about a time you had a conflict with a co-worker and describe how you negotiated and came to a mutually satisfactory resolution.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Give an example of an obstacle or major problem that you had to overcome?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: Again, this could pertain to any area of your life, maybe it was an obstacle with school and family or school and work, etc. Think of a major problem and how you solved it.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Can you give an example of your problem-solving ability?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: Whenever you are asked to give an example, please give an example. This question could pertain to anything in life where you had a problem, how you thought it through and came up with a solution. Want they want to know is if you have critical thinking skills.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Would you consider yourself more of a team player or an individual contributor?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: In almost every case, it is important to stress the ability to work with a team over individual contributions, but both are important. While you can certainly function fine on your own, emphasize that you are more of a team player than an individual contributor but can function independently.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Why did you want to become a nurse?
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: Please tell a story – what prompted you to enroll in nursing school and what happened in your life that made you say “I want to be a nurse, I think I will be a great nurse, I can do this”. Tell a succinct story from beginning to end, make it personal.

      What the interviewer is looking for:

  • Question: Tell me about yourself.
  • Question Overview: None

    Sample Answer: The interviewer is asking this open-ended ice-breaker question looking for some introductory information from you. Give a short and engaging response, ending on an interesting note so that the interviewer wants to hear more. At this point, it is more about your personality and ability to give a concise answer than the amount of information you expose. Always tell a story, start by telling them briefly of your past education, and then your past work history, ending with your graduating with your degree and starting your new career. Usually, you would leave out any personal information about yourself, never discuss your age, marital status, children, where you live, hobbies, etc. They are wanting to know about you professionally. Many of those personal questions are illegal to ask in an interview.

      What the interviewer is looking for: