25 Nursing Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 4 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

During a nursing interview, your interviewer would likely ask you questions that allow you to demonstrate your abilities and knowledge related to interacting with and caring for others in a fast-paced environment. If you prepare responses that showcase your skills, training and experience, you may be better able to secure a position as a nurse. How you answer the hiring managers interview questions can also help them learn more about you as a candidate.

In this article, we share some questions you may encounter during a nursing interview and offer tips to help you prepare so you can fully demonstrate your qualifications for the job.

What Are Some Nursing Interview Questions I May Receive?

These are some nursing interview questions you may receive:

1. How well do you work with other nurses, doctors and staff?

When you answer this question, emphasise your interpersonal skills, such as teamwork, patience and active listening.

Example: “During my clinical training in the emergency response room, I learned how important it is to communicate well with other nurses. For example, I make sure to consult with a senior nurse or doctor whenever I administer a new treatment or medicine to patients. Often, doctors know the medical history of their patients in detail, so I find it best to consult with them rather than go by the demands of the patient.”

Related: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

2. How would you handle a difficult patient?

If you receive this question, consider giving an example of a time when you encountered a difficult patient and helped to improve the patient's outcome.

Example: “I spent a year in a geriatric care facility and had to work with Alzheimer's and dementia patients. Some of them could be considered difficult patients because they would actively try to put themselves in harm. It takes great patience to help such patients. Often they just want to be treated like adults and have some autonomy, but, it is important to ensure that they eat, sleep and take their medicines properly. As a nurse, I had to make them comfortable with my presence before tending to them.”

3. How do you handle workplace stress?

To answer this question, describe the techniques you have developed for stress relief. You can discuss hobbies, support groups, exercise regimens and other ways you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Example: “Work becomes hectic very often as a nurse. I wake up early to take my dog out on walks. I try out new cooking recipes in my spare time while listening to podcasts. I make sure that I take sufficient time out on weekends for recreational activities at home or with friends. When work becomes intense during peak hours, I perform simple breathing exercises to calm myself down.”

Related: Self Management Skills: Definition and Examples

4. How do you handle a situation where your replacement does not arrive on time?

When a replacement does not arrive on time, some solutions you can offer to this situation include contacting your replacement while you stay for a few minutes beyond your shift or finding someone else to cover the responsibilities before your coworker arrives.

Example: “I contact my replacement roughly an hour before my shift ends to ensure that they would arrive on time. If they communicate that there might be a delay or absence, I help them find a substitute to take their shift or inform the senior nurse or doctor when I cannot find a substitute. In either case, I make sure to not leave my post until my replacement arrives.”

Related: Nursing Communication Skills: Definition And Examples

5. How would you handle a disagreement with a doctor?

When you answer this question, emphasise your interpersonal skills such as active listening, teamwork and your ability to follow the chain of command when necessary. In your response, mention that you first work directly with the doctor to resolve the discrepancy.

Example: “Doctors may handle a lot more patients than nurses. Sometimes it becomes difficult for them to keep track of medical records and patient histories accurately. When there is a discrepancy between a doctor's instructions and a patient's medical records, I discuss the issue in detail with the doctor to get it resolved before we take any further action. When we cannot resolve it, we take a mutual decision to escalate it to a supervisor.”

6. Describe how you manage a busy workload.

When you respond to this question, highlight your dedication to attending to your patients during a variety of conditions. In your response, you can provide an example of a time that you managed more tasks without compromising protocols or procedures.

Example: “Whenever there are too many tasks ahead of me in a shift, I sit with the other nurses to split all our tasks into smaller components and handle them one at a time. Usually, we devise a workflow where a single person handles similar tasks. This way, we increase speed and efficiency by working in groups and delegating tasks effectively.”

Related: Nursing Roles and Responsibilities: A Complete Guide

7. Do you have any professional affiliations?

Your response to this question is an opportunity to emphasise that you seek opportunities to advance your skills. This is a good time to highlight any areas on your resume that list extra certifications you have gained through organisations, ways you are involved in the organisations and certain areas of nursing you are passionate about.

Example: “I am a volunteer for the Indian Red Cross Society chapter in my city. I assist them in blood donation drives and occasionally accompany other volunteers and program leads on disaster relief and rural health missions.”

8. How would you handle a crisis such as an outbreak?

Your response to this question can demonstrate your knowledge of how to address specific medical situations and skills like teamwork and adaptability. For a strong answer, discuss your ability to collaborate, your in-depth knowledge of nursing procedures and your attention to detail.

Example: "During monsoons, malaria and dengue outbreaks are common in my city and its peripheral areas. In these periods, we see a lot of patients with the same range of symptoms. I have participated in awareness drives with the assistance of the city health department, hospital associations and several NGOs. I have realised from my personal experience that it is easier to prevent such outbreaks than to handle them at their peaks."

Related: ER Nursing Skills (With Definition And Common Examples)

9. How would you handle a patient who struggles with pain management?

Empathy is a vital skill for nurses to use when interacting with patients who may have pain. Express that you take your patients' concerns seriously and provide an example that shows you can help them through empathy and problem-solving.

Example: “I have worked as a nurse in a gynaecology ward. Since many new mothers breastfeed their babies, we are advised to not put them on strong pain medication or anaesthesia. But, the pain can become difficult for patients to handle. I usually stay by their side during these times and help provide alternate pain relief measures like balms, oils, massages and breathing and stretching exercises.”

Related: Types Of Nurse Practitioner Courses (With How-To And FAQs)

10. How do you respond when people ask for your personal diagnosis outside a clinical setting?

To answer this question, briefly discuss how important it is to seek medical advice in a clinical setting from medical professionals who have access to information from tests.

Example: “I am often approached by friends and family about ailments and health issues that they may be experiencing. Although I may provide them with a speculative diagnosis, I always refer them to a doctor so that they can get it looked at professionally.”

Additional Nursing Interview Questions

Interviewers may also ask the following questions during an interview:

General interview questions

Interviewers may ask these questions to get to know you better:

  • How would your coworkers describe you?

  • What is your biggest strength and weakness?

  • Describe a time where you acted as a leader in a group.

  • What are your career goals in the next few years?

  • Why are you leaving your previous position?

  • Tell me about yourself.

Related: Nursing Assistant Skills For A Resume (With Examples)

Interview questions about nursing experience

Interviewers may ask the following questions to evaluate your personal experiences in nursing:

  • Why do you want to be a nurse?

  • What do you think is the most rewarding aspect of this line of work?

  • What do you think is the most difficult aspect of this line of work?

  • What particular skill have you mastered as a nurse?

  • What experience do you have in this speciality?

  • What do you do when you are in a situation you are unfamiliar with?

Related: List Of 16 Advantages Of Being A Nurse (And What They Do)

Interview questions relating to the organisation and the position

Interviewers may ask you the following questions to understand if you are a good fit for the job:

  • What makes you want to work for our organisation?

  • How would you uphold the mission and values of this organisation?

  • What makes you a good candidate for this position?

How Do I Prepare For A Nursing Interview?

Once you have prepared your answers to some interview questions, follow these tips to further prepare to speak to a hiring manager:

  • Familiarise yourself with the job role and description.

  • Research the company or institution that is hiring.

  • Prepare an effective resume and make multiple copies.

  • Perform mock interviews to develop confidence.

  • Arrive early for the interview.

  • Take time to relax before the interview starts.

  • Dress appropriately.

Related: How Much Does a Nurse Make? (With Job Roles and Career Scope)

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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