Nursing Interview Questions: How to Prep for a Successful Job Interview

Prepare for a successful job interview with sample nursing interview questions and tips from our nursing career coach.

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First Step: Research & Prepare with Sample Interview Questions

Interviewing for a nursing job is a three-step process. The first step is to do your research. Prepare how you will answer interview questions, which may include:

  1. Tell me about yourself. Why did you decide to become a nurse?
  2. What is it about a nursing career that interests you?
  3. Do you have future career plans?
  4. How would your peers describe you?
  5. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  6. How do you handle stress/work under pressure?
  7. Have you encountered conflict with co-workers? How did you handle the situation?
  8. Can you give an example for how you prioritized care for a group of clients?
  9. Tell me about the accomplishment you are most proud of and why? (This question can give an employer insight into your personal values)
  10. Tell me about yourself. Why did you decide to become a nurse?
  11. Give an example of a situation where you are to deal with a difficult person/patient and how did
    you handle it?
  12. How would you deal with a patient who is not satisfied with your care?
  13. What kinds of personality traits are most effective for nurses to have?
  14. What are some of the biggest challenges nurses face today?
  15. Teamwork is essential to nursing. Can you give me an example of where you were part of a
    team?
  16. Why do you want to work on this unit/hospital? What is your interest in this position?

To help answer these questions, think about yourself and the information, skills, and values you want to share with the interviewer. What are your career plans one year out, or even five years? Think specifically about situations in classes or at work that may help you answer these questions.

You should also research the unit/area you are interviewing for. Find out more about the patient population. What types of clients do they care for? What type of nursing care they provide? Get to know the unit and see if it would be a good fit for you. The more you know about the unit, the more the manager will be convinced of your interest their unit (and read their website!).

Before an interview, have a mock interview with an instructor or someone who can give you constructive feedback. Use these questions to guide you.  

Step 2: The Interview & Questions You Should Ask

Be sure to dress professionally. If you are shadowing, it is OK to wear scrubs (make sure they are ironed).

Come with your own questions. They will demonstrate your interest in the job and help you determine whether this job is a good fit for you. These might include:

  1. How would you describe a typical day in this position?
  2. Can you describe the orientation process? Working with one specific preceptor or multiple?
  3. What are some professional development opportunities you offer? What other support do you provide new nurses?
  4. What do you see as a strength of the unit? What is the environment like?
  5. Can you tell me what you love most about working here and why?
  6. What is the nurse-patient ratio?

You may also ask if they have a time frame for hiring. This will give you an idea if you need to contact them in the follow up. Remember to think about how to close the interview. Summarize your interest in the position and leave a positive impression.

Step Three: The Follow-Up

Evaluate the interview. Were there question you were not prepared to answer? Were you satisfied with your answers? How can you improve for next time?

Send the interviewer a short thank you letter. It shows you appreciate their time and and chance to reiterate you interest and qualifications. Also it will help them remember you.

If you have not heard back within the hiring time frame, it is OK to contact them to see if a decision has been made.