Tell Me About a Time You Failed Nursing Interview

Tell me about a time you failed nursing interview

When attending any type of nursing interview, there is one question you are likely to be asked no matter what: “Tell me about a time you failed”.

This question has lately been gaining more popularity, so it is important to know how to answer it.

When asked to tell me about a time you failed nursing interview question, the interviewer is trying to capture the following:

1. Your ability to admit when you are wrong:

Acceptance is always a key component of growth, and the interviewer wants to see that you can own your mistakes.

This question also allows the interviewer to gauge your level of resilience.

2. Your problem-solving skills:

The interviewer wants to know how you coped with a difficult situation and what steps you took to rectify the situation.

3. Your level of maturity:

Failures are a part of life, and how you handle them can say a lot about your character.

The interviewer wants to know if you can learn from your mistakes and grow from them.

4. Your professionalism:

Even if you have failed in the past, it is important to maintain a professional attitude.

The interviewer wants to know that you will be able to represent the company in a positive light, no matter what.

When answering this question, you should highlight a situation where you made a mistake but be able to learn from it and grow as a result.

It is wise to avoid any negative or embarrassing stories.

For instance, if you were late for a shift, you could explain how you learned from the experience and made sure to arrive on time for your next shift.

Or, if you made a mistake while caring for a patient, you could explain how you took steps to prevent the same mistake from happening again.

If you are unsure of how to answer this question, take a look at some examples below.

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Nursing interview tell me about a mistake

Tell Me About a Time You Failed Nursing Interview Answers

The key to answering this question is how you formulate your response.

Below are seven different ways to answer the question. Use the example to come up with a response that tells your own story.

Example 1

I remember one time when I was working as a nurse in the ER and I didn’t listen to my gut instinct.

I was handling a patient who I thought was just dehydrated, but it turns out they had a more serious condition.

If I had paid more attention to my intuition, I could have saved them from an unnecessary hospital stay.

This response shows that you are able to learn from your mistakes.

You took the time to reflect on what happened and learned from it so that you could make sure it didn’t happen again.

See also: ER Nurse Interview Questions

Example 2

I was once working as a nurse in a long-term care facility and I failed to follow up on a patient’s care.

A few weeks later, I found out that their condition had worsened and they eventually passed away.

After that experience, I made it a point to always follow up on my patients’ care.

This answer showcases your dedication to your patients.

You learned from your mistake and made sure that it didn’t happen again.

See also: What Is the Role of a Nurse Interview Question

Example 3

There was this one time when I was a new nurse and I was assigned to care for a patient with a severe case of sepsis.

I didn’t know what to do and I made a lot of mistakes.

But, I was able to learn from that experience and now I know how to handle a patient with sepsis.

I learned that consulting with my more experienced colleagues is always a good idea.

This answer portrays you as a learner.

You didn’t let your mistake get you down and you were willing to learn from it.

This shows that you are proactive and willing to take steps to improve your skills.

See also: Infection Control Nurse Interview Questions

Example 4

I was once a nurse in a small clinic and I was responsible for all of the clinical duties.

One day, I was running late for my shift and I forgot to order the medications that were needed.

As a result, the clinic ran out of medications and we had to close early.

After that experience, I made it a point to always double-check my work.

This answer shows that you are able to take responsibility for your actions.

You recognized your mistake and took steps to make sure it didn’t happen again.

See also: Responsibility of a Nurse

Example 5

I would say the time I failed is when I was a new nurse and I didn’t listen to my patient’s family.

They were telling me that their loved one wasn’t eating and I didn’t believe them.

As a result, the patient’s health started to decline and I had to call a code.

If I had listened to the family, I could have prevented the situation from getting worse.

This answer showcases your communication skills.

You should have been able to trust the family’s judgment, especially if they were telling you that their loved one wasn’t eating.

This shows that you should always take the time to listen to your patients and their families.

See also: How Do You Handle Stress Nursing Interview Question

Example 6

I would say the time I failed was when I was working as a nurse in the ICU.

I was assigned to care for a patient who had just had a liver transplant.

I didn’t know how to properly care for them and they ended up getting an infection.

If I had been more knowledgeable about liver transplants, I could have prevented the infection from happening.

This answer shows that you are always willing to learn.

You didn’t let your mistake get you down and you were willing to learn from it.

It also shows that you are knowledgeable about different types of medical procedures.

See also:

Example 7

In my first year of nursing, I was working in a hospital that specializes in pediatrics.

One day, I disagreed with the doctor’s orders for a patient.

I removed some of the medication from the patient’s chart without letting the doctor know.

As a result, the patient’s condition started to worsen and I had to call a code.

After that experience, I learned to always communicate with the doctor if I have any concerns.

This answer showcases your communication skills.

You should have been able to communicate your concerns with the doctor. This shows that you are willing to work collaboratively with your colleagues.

See also: Pediatric Nurse Interview Questions

How to Answer Nursing Interview Question Tell Me About a Mistake

When asked by an interviewer “Tell me about a mistake you made as a nurse” you should utilize the following tips:

1. Find a mistake that is relevant to the nursing position

Since this question is common in nursing interviews, it is important to have a mistake in mind that is relevant to the nursing position you are interviewing for.

For example, if you are interviewing for a pediatric nurse position, you may want to share the story of a time when you incorrectly administered medication to a child.

2. Share a mistake that you learned from

When discussing a mistake that you made, it is important to share a mistake that you learned from.

It is always wise to learn from your mistakes and this is a quality that interviewers value.

For instance, you may want to share the story of a time when you ran out of medications at work and had to refer patients to another clinic.

3. Communicate your mistake in a positive light

When discussing a mistake, it is important to remember to communicate it in a positive light.

For example, you may want to share the story of a time when you realized your mistake and took steps to make sure it didn’t happen again.

This will showcase your ability to take responsibility for your actions.

See also: Nursing Conflict Scenario Examples Interview

4. Communicate your mistake in a way that showcases your strengths

When describing a mistake, it is important to communicate it in a way that showcases your strengths.

For instance, you may want to share the story of a time when you quickly realized your mistake and took steps to correct it.

This will show the interviewer that you are capable of handling difficult situations.

5. Always be honest

When discussing any type of mistake, it is important to always be honest.

This will show the interviewer that you are someone who can be trusted.

Furthermore, it will help the interviewer to understand your thought process.

Remember, the interviewer is trying to get to know you as a nurse.

Therefore, it is important to share a mistake that you made as a nurse. Stick to the profession.

Moreover, avoid mentioning personal mistakes.

If you are unsure of what to share, you can always ask the interviewer for guidance.

See also: Greatest Accomplishment Nursing Interview

Conclusion: Tell Me About a Time You Failed

In any nursing interview, you will always encounter the “Tell me about a time you failed” question.

It is important to remember that interviewers are not looking for perfect nurses.

Rather, they are looking for nurses who are willing to learn from their mistakes.

By sharing a mistake that you made as a nurse, you will show the interviewer that you are capable of taking responsibility for your actions.

Furthermore, you will show the interviewer that you are someone who is willing to learn from your mistakes.

Good luck with your nursing interview!

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