What Are Common Nursing Interview Questions?

Most job interviews include questions about work ethic and past employment, as well as about practical skills.
Nurse recruiters look for qualified individuals with a history of being compassionate with patients.
Many nursing positions require demonstrated compassion and empathy.
Nursing interviews often involve the candidate being asked to describe himself or herself.
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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 09 December 2014
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To become a nurse, an individual must be able to point out her unique skills and qualifications, and many experts believe that this can be done most effectively at an interview. Although every interview is different, there are a number of very customary nursing interview questions that many employers ask. Many of these questions require the applicant to tell the interviewer about herself and why she chose her career path. Giving the proper answers to nursing interview questions is important, so preparing for a job interview is essential.

One of the most common job interview questions involves the interviewer asking the applicant to describe herself. Although this may seem like an easy question, most applicants find that it is one of the most difficult, especially if they aren't prepared for it. An employer is usually trying to get a feel not only for what type of person an applicant is, but what type of employee she will make. When asked this at an interview, an applicant should point out pertinent skills and qualifications, as well as strengths.


Another routine nursing interview question is "why are you interested in a nursing position with this company?" When answering this question, an applicant can point out she is interested in caring for people and helping them get better. She can also show that she has researched the company by providing a knowledgeable answer. For example, she could point out that she is looking forward to a challenging career, and that she admires the types of nurses who work for the company. These answers show that she realizes that the work will be challenging, and she is up to the task.

Usually, sometime during the course of a nursing interview, the applicant will get the chance to discuss her accomplishments or achievements. Personal achievements are usually not what the employer is looking for when he asks these types of nursing interview questions. Instead, answers should reflect accomplishments or achievements that directly relate to the position. For example, an applicant who is interviewing with a nursing home can discuss how she overcame obstacles while taking care of her elderly grandmother while she finished nursing school.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, many employers will ask applicants to discuss their greatest weakness as one of the nursing interview questions. While this may seem like an unfair question, most employers are looking for applicants who are able to recognize both their strengths and weaknesses. It is important to be honest, but when answering, it is important for an applicant to explain how they have either begun to overcome it, or made it a strength instead.

It is common for an interviewer to ask about an applicant's future plans, but it is an especially common nursing interview question. If at all possible, an applicant should avoid trying to portray herself on a different career path, unless she is interested in furthering her education in the field of medicine. An ideal answer would show that she is committed to her career, and possibly even that company. Describing that she would like to work hard and eventually be promoted would show the interviewer that she is dedicated to advancing her career and isn't afraid to work for it.

Probably one of the most common questions in any medical interview involves the applicant telling the interviewer how she reacts under pressure or in an emergency situation. The answer to these types of nursing interview questions should also relate to the open position. For example, an applicant who is interviewing with a pediatric clinic can explain her actions when her little brother broke his leg on the merry-go-round the previous summer. She can explain how she handled the situation, along with any medical knowledge that she used or gained because of the experience.


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