- Tell me about yourself
Tip: You may discuss nursing experiences, volunteer work, etc. You may discuss skills that may be applicable to nursing/healthcare profession/position. You may discuss your background and how certain experiences stimulated your interest in nursing. Be brief.
- Why do you want to work for us?
Tip: Discuss your interest in the company or hospital. You may discuss the level of quality of a division (e.g. the ranking and reputation of the department; its long time commitment to patient care, etc) and how the division interests you. You may consider doing some research on this question to give the best answer. Identify the hospital’s mission, goals, or causes and explain how these fit with your goals and ideas.
- What do you know about our company/hospital?
Tip: You may look at how it was founded, and some history, its mission statement/goals, etc. Know if there is any new medical breakthrough. Know what it ranks relative to other hospitals.
- What made you decide to become a Registered Nurse?
Tip: Be genuine. Express your interest in nursing. You may describe certain life experiences that triggered or motivated your interest in nursing e.g. “When my father was sick…….the nurse was very encouraging and made a difference in my father’s life…..this inspired me and I saw myself being a nurse” Make sure you express your desire to help or make a difference in people’s lives.
- Tell me some of your nursing experiences including your most challenging clinical experiences.
Tip: This is a behavioral question. You may use the STAR technique. Describe the Situation in detail, describe the Tasks you underwent, describe the Actions you took to tackle this situation, describe your end Results or response (i.e. what you learnt, accomplishments, what you might do differently in the future? etc).
- How has your training and experience prepared you for this job?
Tip: Discuss your past nursing or nursing-related experiences such as internships, clinical training, coursework, etc. Relate these to how they have equipped you for this job. For example “As a student nurse, I did an internship at a hospital….. This enabled me to learn how to communicate effectively with patients and patient families”
- How would you describe your skills as a team player? How have you assisted co-workers in the past?
Tip: The second question is a behavioral question. You may use the STAR technique. Describe the Situation in detail, describe the Tasks you underwent, describe the Actions you took to tackle this situation, describe your end Results or response (i.e. what you learnt, accomplishments, what you might do differently in the future? etc).
- Why did you choose nursing and not medicine or another career? Would you consider being a medical doctor?
Tip: It may be safe to say that you would not consider being a medical doctor, but express why you chose to become a nurse e.g. nursing allows you to be more hands-on in taking care of patients and getting to know your patients more.
- What is your nursing specialty and why did you choose to do this?
Tip: Be very specific about why you chose this specialization. Discuss how you evaluated your options, what influenced you and how you came about your decision. Discuss how your skills and interests fit with this specialization
- What do you think are the most important skills a nurse should have?
Tip: Be able to explain why you consider a specific skill important. Skills you may consider may be time-management, ability to work under pressure, great communication and listening skills, adaptability, critical thinking, etc. This is open-ended so describe skills you believe are pertinent and be able to describe why also.
- Have you ever had conflicts with other nurses, medical/nursing assistants, medical doctors or any healthcare professional? How did you solve this?
Tip: It may not be advisable to say that you never had a conflict, instead focus on how you resolved the conflict to make the outcome positive. Don’t discuss personal feuds between co-workers. You may also consider how you discussed this with your supervisor if you couldn’t handle the conflict alone. Interviewers or employers want employees who are professional and mature and can resolve issues on their own.
- How do you handle an upset patient?
Tip: Show that you are a good listener and willing to take responsibility in solving issues and making patients feel more comfortable. Know your chain of command in getting issues resolved such as your manager or nursing administrator.
- How would you handle the family of a patient who is displeased with your care?
Tip: It is important that you listen to their concerns and communicate effectively with the family. You may also consider reinforcing the fact that you and the medical staff are doing the best for the patient. If family member is still displeased, use your chain of command and resources such as your manager or nursing administrator.
- Describe a decision you had to take quickly regarding a patient.
Tip: This question assesses how you make decisions and judgments. Describe the situation and the criteria’s you used in making the decision. Display strategic and quick thinking. For example, for a patient that developed acute sepsis, how did you handle this situation? What was your first response? How did you make decisions and come to conclusions to provide the best care?
- What would you do if your work shift ended and your replacement didn’t arrive?
Tip: This assesses your ability to take initiative. Make sure you emphasize the fact that you are willing to take responsibility and carry on additional shifts if necessary. Show that you are a team player and willing to assist the medical staff. Do not say that you would just leave instead you may state that you would wait until the next nurse arrives.
- What do you find most rewarding and most difficult about being a nurse?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Tip: It would be better to discuss strengths that would be applicable for the nursing job. For example, good time management and organization, great communication and listening skills, bilingual, ability to learn and carry out new tasks, etc. Don’t say you have no weaknesses. State weaknesses and explain how you have taken certain measures to address the weaknesses.
- What do you think is the biggest contribution to your patients?
Tip: Discuss how you would provide your patients the best service or care. You may also expand on this by stating how your service or contribution and the overall work of other health care providers in the hospital would enhance the hospitals missions and goals.
- How do you keep yourself current on new nursing practices and technology?
Tip: This question tries to determine your level of interest and commitment to the profession. Describe how you stay current on news and information related to nursing and healthcare. These may include conferences, seminars, online news and research, nursing meetings, journals, trainings, member of a nursing organization/association, certification etc.
- What do you think are the current issues or challenges facing nursing today?
Tip: Make sure you do some research on current issues or news concerning nursing and the healthcare profession. There are many issues you may consider. This is an open ended question, allowing you to express your opinion on many issues.
- How would you apply research findings to your practice?
- Where do you see yourself 10 years from now? In other words, what are your future goals?
Tip: Make sure the goals you describe are relevant for nursing. Be realistic in your goals. It is better to show your commitment to the hospital or company you are applying or interviewing for. You may consider stating that through hard work and commitment you hope to be promoted above the level you are currently interviewing for.
- Are you interested in advancing your career someday?
Tip: This may come in the form of certifications, advanced degrees, joining associations e.g. American Nursing Association, etc.
- Why should we hire you over someone else?
Tip: Sell yourself. Discuss how your nursing education, qualifications, achievements, experiences, skills and competencies have equipped you in being the most suitable for the job position. Talk about how these would ultimately foster care for the patients.
- Why do you want to leave your present job?
Tip: Avoid negative responses such as “…..I am tired of my current job”, “I hate my job”, “I dislike my current boss and my co-workers”. Instead, focus on the positives. You may consider stating that you want a specific or advanced job position that provides you more responsibility in using your nursing skills. Focus on positives that show your drive and motivation in advancing your nursing career. Don’t mention conflicts you had at your current or previous jobs.
- How would you handle stress on the job?
Tip: You may discuss your coping mechanism such as mediation, etc. Discuss the way you handle stress. You may discuss your support system also and how they help you handle stress.
- What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun?
- Any questions?
Tip: It is important to ask intelligent question(s). Don’t ask questions that can be easily answered by the hospital website or job description sheet or page. A decent question maybe “How often is performance reviews conducted and what is the process?”
NOTE: These are very relevant questions that may help in the interview. Questions may be asked in a random fashion. Questions not included on this page may be asked during the interview.