35 Best Nursing Interview Questions and Answers

Nursing interview questions

Nursing is a profession that requires a lot of patience, love, care, and compassion. Nurses are trained professionals who look after the health and well-being of a sick individual.

Nurses go through intensive training before they are qualified to be a part of this profession.

Therefore, if you are looking to become a nurse, you must go through a thorough interviewing process.

Understanding Interview Questions for Nurses:

Nursing interview questions are tailored for the specific type of nursing you are applying to. There are several types of nurses and each one of them has a different job description.

Some of them include:

When each of the above types of nurses attends an interview, they must be ready to answer some unique nursing interview questions meant for the particular type of nurse.

These queries are meant to understand the candidate’s skills and abilities in helping them judge how well they can perform according to the company’s expectations.

Scope of Nursing Interview Questions:

Generally, interview questions for nurses cover various areas.

The interview questions will always cover:

  • the experience,
  • educational background,
  • skills,
  • and personal traits of an individual.

There are also some questions that ask some specific information about the hospital and the department where you will be working.

Experience Questions

In an interview room, the interviewer will always ask questions related to your experience in the field of nursing.

These questions are very important because they give an insight into how well you have been able to perform to date.

These questions will include details about your past, current, and future projects.

Educational Background Questions

To become a nurse, you must have gone through extensive education.

Therefore, all employers are very keen to know about your educational background.

You will be asked questions like:

  • How long have you been a part of this industry?
  • Which college did you go to?
  • What were your grades like in the courses you studied?, etc.

See also: Do Nurses Have to Do Continuing Education?

Skills Based Questions

To be a part of any medical profession, you must have some unique skills.

Therefore, most employers will ask questions related to your skills.

These questions will be based on the projects you have worked upon, the types of courses you have completed and any awards or recognition received for your efforts.

Personal Trait Based Questions

When an interviewer is looking to hire someone, they will always look for some unique and special personality traits.

A nurse must be able to demonstrate love and care towards the patients.

Therefore, most employers might ask questions related to your patience levels and passion for this profession.

Hospital Specific Questions

If you are applying to a hospital that is well known and reputed, then it will expect you to answer some questions on the history of the institution as well as some information about the department you will be working in.

For example, there might be questions related to the specialties of doctors and researchers at the hospital or about the types of services offered.

The above makes up interview questions for nurses. It is important to be prepared for any kind of question so that you can put your best foot forward.

This will help in impressing the interviewer and earning yourself a place in the company.

However, you must understand that, even though most nursing interview questions will be tailored to the specific type of nursing that you are applying for, some questions are common to all the types of nurses.

What are these questions? Those are coming up next.

If you’d rather prefer video content here is a great one about the 10 nursing interview questions and answers that you should definitely watch.

Video made by: RegisteredNurseRN

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Interview questions for nurses and answers

Common Nursing Interview Questions and Answers

Some questions are asked in almost every type of nursing interview. They are meant to determine the sincerity of the candidate for this profession.

You must be aware of these questions before attending an interview.

1. Tell us about yourself.

This is one question you will never miss in any interview room.

The main purpose of this question is for the interviewer to understand the candidate’s personality.

You will be expected to talk about your educational background, work experience, and motivation towards this profession.

Example answer:

I am Emilia Smith and I’m a mother of two and I have always been interested in healthcare.

I have been a part of the nursing field for over 10 years now.

During this time, I have gained experience in maternity care, pediatric care, psychiatric care and general nursing.

Currently, I am working at XYZ Hospital as a registerd nurse and I am involved in taking care of patients suffering from different types of mental health issues.

See also: Mental Health Nurse Interview Questions

2. What do you know about our hospital?

This is a direct question and your answer to this will determine if you will be given the job.

It is expected that applicants find out as much as they can about the company before their interview.

Therefore, you should be ready to answer questions related to the history of the organization, its location, and its reputation in the market.

Example answer:

Honestly, this has been my dream employer.

I know that your hospital is known for providing the best services in the state.

It has an excellent record when it comes to maternity care and pediatric services.

The hospital has a great staff that is always willing to help out patients in need.

3. What are your strengths?

This is also one of the common nursing interview questions asked to determine if you are suitable for the job.

You must mention qualities that will make an employer hire you.

For example, you might be knowledgeable of several procedures or you might possess people skills that are needed for this job.

Example answer:

I think my greatest strength is to be able to relate with other people.

I have always been patient with patients and this makes me a great caregiver.

I am also knowledgeable on several procedures and this makes it easy for me to help out doctors during emergencies.

I am very familiar with the latest technology and this helps me to provide care in a faster and efficient way.

4. What are your weaknesses?

It is very important, to be honest when answering this question.

You don’t want to lie and make up a weakness that you think the employer might like to hear.

This can backfire on you and you might end up looking insincere.

See also: How Often Do Nurses Cheat?

Instead, state a weakness that is not going to affect your work performance.

Example answer:

I would say my biggest weakness is that I can sometimes be overly enthusiastic.

This makes it difficult for me to concentrate on a particular task and I get distracted easily.

However, I am very hard working and this helps me to learn from my mistakes.

5. What are your salary expectations?

This is another common nursing interview question and you should be ready to answer it.

Your salary expectations should be reasonable and based on the industry standards and geographical location.

You should not demand a salary that is beyond what you can get in the area and industry.

When answering the question, it is wise to avoid stating a specific figure.

Instead, you can say that you are open to negotiating the salary if your offer is reasonable.

Example answer:

I am looking for an employer that will value my work.

I am willing to negotiate the salary depending on my qualifications and experience.

If you think my track record deserves a competitive salary, then I am open to negotiating.

6. What are your career goals?

This question is related to your motivation for the job.

The interviewer wants to know how long you will stay with the company and if you are prepared to take on any responsibilities that might come your way.

Example answer:

I would like to take on more responsibilities and I am willing to take any position that can help me achieve my goals.

I am looking for a company that will give me the chance to learn and grow.

I believe this position can be an excellent career growth opportunity.

See also: SMART Goals for Nursing With Examples

7. What qualities do you look for in an employer?

The interviewer is trying to determine if you are interested in the company and if you are prepared to adapt.

You should choose qualities that you think will suit your personality and you can also include some qualities that the company has.

Example answer:

I would say my ideal employer is a company that has a great management team, a good work environment, and values its staff.

I believe you meet all these criteria and this is why I am interested in working for you.

8. Why should we hire you?

The interviewer is trying to determine if you are confident about yourself and your skills.

You should be able to sell yourself in this question because your answer will determine if you are hired or not.

You can choose to talk about some of your skills, qualifications, and experiences or you can also mention why the company needs someone like you.

Example answer:

I believe I am the right person for this position because I have the experience and skills needed to do this job well.

I am also confident that I will be able to adapt quickly and learn anything new in a short amount of time.

I believe you need someone like me who can bring fresh ideas and new perspectives to the table.

9. How do you handle stress?

This question is related to how you will act in the company when something stressful happens.

You should choose an answer that shows you remain calm and can control your emotions in a stressful situation.

Example answer:

I think stress is part of everyday life and the key is to remain calm and not let it impact your work.

It is easy for me to handle stress because I am a positive person and can always put a positive spin on things.

I am also very good at prioritizing and this helps me to work without getting stressed.

See also: How Do You Handle Stress Nursing Interview Question

10. What is your philosophy towards work?

This question is aimed at determining whether you have a positive attitude towards work.

You should choose an answer that will demonstrate you are a hard worker and you are passionate about work.

Your answer can also include some of your interests that will show the interviewer that you are not just looking for a job but you are looking for a career.

Example answer:

I believe that work is more than just a paycheck.

I think it is important to enjoy your work because you spend most of your life at work.

I love what I do and I am passionate about my career.

It is important to me that I am happy because this is what will make me perform at my best.

11. How would your former employer describe you?

This question is aimed at determining whether your former employer would rehire you and your work ethic.

You should choose an answer that demonstrates you are hard-working and that you always meet your deadlines.

You can also mention any awards or accomplishments that you received while working with the company.

Example answer:

I think my former employer would say that I am a very hard-working individual who meets all of her deadlines.

I also like to think that I was an asset to the company because I took on additional responsibilities whenever they needed.

I like to think that my company would rehire me because I brought new skills and knowledge to the table.

12. What is your ideal working environment?

When answering this question you should think about the qualities of the company and include some of these qualities in your answer.

You can also choose to talk about what you need to be happy and what you want in your next job.

Example answer:

I believe that the ideal working environment is one where you are surrounded by people who work well together, are smart, and can teach you things.

I enjoy working in a team environment because there is always someone around you who will be able to help.

I also think that a good work-life balance is important because you can’t always put 100 % into your work.

13. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This question is aimed at determining your goals and ambitions.

You should choose an answer that demonstrates that you want to advance professionally and that you will be a good addition to the company.

You can also mention some of your plans and how they fit into this career path.

Example answer:

In five years I see myself as a key player in the company and my goal is to be promoted within the next few years.

I am happy to start at the bottom but my ultimate goal is to become a part of upper management.

See also: Nurse Leadership Interview Questions

I think I will be a good addition to the company because I am a hard worker and I always meet my deadlines.

14. What has been your biggest failure?

This question is aimed at determining how you handle failure and rejection.

You should choose an answer that demonstrates you have learned from your mistakes, that you are willing to learn and that you are not afraid of failure.

You can also choose to talk about how you have failed in the past but succeeded recently.

Example answer:

My biggest failure was when I first started my career.

I didn’t know how to do anything and nobody would train me.

I was very nervous but I knew that this was my chance to prove myself.

I asked one of the employees to help me learn how everything worked and within one year I was able to perform all of my duties.

15. How would you handle a situation where your manager disagreed with the approach that you took on a project?

This is aimed at determining how you deal with conflict.

You should choose an answer that shows that you are a team player and that you will not take things personally.

You can also mention that you would like to find a solution together with your manager.

Example answer:

Ideally I would love to sit down with my manager and discuss the situation together.

My goal is to always find a middle ground that we both agree on and then execute this solution.

I am a team player and I understand that sometimes two people can see things differently.

If we could find a solution together then this would be the best outcome because in the end, we will both be happy with the result.

See also: What to Bring to a Nursing Interview?

35 Common Interview Questions for Nurses

Nursing interview questions and answers

1. Tell me about yourself.

2. What are your strengths?

3. What are your weaknesses?

4. Where do you see yourself in five years?

5. What has been your biggest failure?

6. How do you handle rejection or pressure?

7. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult person.

8. What has been your biggest professional mistake?

9. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond your role to help a patient or colleague.

10. What is the most difficult situation you have faced?

11. What are you looking for in a new role?

12. What attracted you to our company?

13. Why did you leave your last job?

14. Why do you want to work in this industry?

15. How would your manager describe you?

16. What are your salary expectations?

17. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

18. Tell me about a time when you didn’t get along with a co-worker.

19. What are your career aspirations?

20. What do you know about this institution?

21. What is your ideal working environment?

22. Why should we hire you over other candidates?

23. What motivated you to take up a nursing career?

24. What are the qualities of a good nurse?

25. What is your philosophy on patient care?

26. How would you handle a situation where your manager disagreed with the approach that you took on a project?

27. What is the most challenging aspect of nursing?

28. How would you define success?

29. How do you balance your professional and personal life?

30. How would you handle a coworker who has personal hygiene issues?

31. How would you describe your work style?

32. Tell me about a time that you prioritized your tasks.

33. What are three positive character traits that you don’t have?

34. Do you work well within a team?

35. What type of personality do you have?

How to Answer Interview Questions for Nurses?

Now that you understand the common nursing interview questions, it is time to go over the best way to answer questions.

When answering the various interview questions for nurses, use the following tips:

1. Stay positive

No matter what question you are asked, be sure to stay positive.

If a question contains a negative word such as “Not”, turn it into a positive.

Never bad-mouth your former employer during the interview, no matter how bad you had it.

2. Be confident

You must exude confidence during the interview.

If you do not think that you are a confident person, start to work on it. Fake it till you make it.

You can also use your answers to show your confidence.

For example, if you are asked to describe your biggest weakness and instead of saying that you do not have one you can say that your biggest weakness is that you want to be the best nurse out there and sometimes this pushes you too hard.

3. Focus on the job description

Every question you are asked during the interview should be answered about what is listed in the job description.

By focusing on the job description, you will be able to answer all of the questions in an effective manner that also shows your commitment to being a nurse.

4. Be honest

Never lie during the interview.

You need to remember that they will likely do a background check on you and there is also the likelihood that they will ask your former supervisor about you.

If you lie and they find out, it will be the end of your job prospects at that company.

See also: What Not to Say in a Nursing Interview

What Questions to Ask in a Nursing Interview?

After the interviewer is done asking the various nursing interview questions, they will always give the candidate the chance to ask questions.

This is your opportunity to find out if this is the right nursing job for you and whether or not you would like to work for this company.

When asked if you have any questions, never say that you do not at the moment.

You should always have some questions ready.

Some questions that you can ask include:

1. What are the most challenging aspects of this position?

2. What would make an employee successful in this position?

3. What is the biggest misconception people have about this company?

4. How would you describe a typical day for someone in this position?

5. Is there room for advancement within the company?

6. What are the biggest challenges facing the company right now?

7. What are some of the current projects that you are working on at this moment?

8. Would I be working with any other professionals?

9. Can you describe a typical career path within the company?

10. Will I be working on a specific project or will I be assigned tasks as needed?

Take note that you do not have to ask all of these questions.

Use this list as a guide to help you come up with your questions.

Some of these questions are appropriate for most interviews, while others will be specific to the company.

See also: Nursing Scenario Interview Questions

Conclusion: Interview Questions for Nurses and Answers

Unarguably, nursing is a rewarding profession, but there are numerous challenges as well.

When interviewing for a nursing job, it is important to look good and have the right attitude.

When you are asked various questions during the interview, be sure to answer them with confidence and remain positive.

Keeping the best interests of the nursing profession at heart, always be honest during your interview.

Use the most common nursing interview questions as a guide as you prepare for the interview.

Good luck with your upcoming nursing interview questions!

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About Ida Koivisto, BSN, RN, PHN

Ida is both a registered nurse and public health nurse. Her passion is to provide as much valuable information about nursing to the world as possible. In her spare time from work and blogging, Ida loves to work out at the gym and spend time with relatives.