7 Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

7 Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

Whether you are preparing to interview a candidate or applying for a job, review our list of top Nurse interview questions and answers.

 


 

1. Why did you decide to become a nurse?

This question is an attempt to get to know the candidate better as an individual. Everyone has a reason for going into their chosen profession and this should this should be viewed as an opportunity to explain what one’s motivations are and why they chose to nurse. It would be a good idea to provide a personal example if applicable, but the answer should be honest and sincere.

A good example of an answer would be “I decided to become a nurse because I genuinely love working with people and caring for others. When I was a child, I had an appendectomy and was really apprehensive about it. The doctors were great, but only spent a limited amount of time with me. It was the nurses who spent time, answered questions, and helped put me and my family at ease. They were fantastic during my recovery and that has always stuck with me. That is a big reason I decided to become a nurse.”

 

2.Give us an example of a situation where you had to deal with a difficult and demanding patient and what you did.

Nursing is a field in which you work with many different people during difficult and stressful times. There will always be difficult patients and this question seeks to gauge one’s reaction to a common issue.

“I remember one particular patient who was in a lot of pain and did not want to be touched, was verbally abusive and constantly complaining about their pain. I reviewed his chart and spoke with the attending physician to ensure that we were doing everything we could to manage his pain. After doing so, I let him know that we were doing everything possible to make him comfortable. While what I could do for him was limited, I made sure that he felt listened to and that we weren’t dismissive.”

 

3. Why do you want to work at this hospital, office, etc.?

This is a question to determine what the candidate knows about the facility and if they did their homework. Before interviewing, it is important to research the office, hospital, or facility beforehand and to be able to ask or answer related questions. If a job applicant does not know anything about the office, hospital, or practice it shows a basic lack of preparation and casts serious doubt on whether or not they actually want to work there.

“I would like to work at this hospital because of its excellent reputation for emergency medicine. I started as an EMT and had the opportunity to transport patients to various emergency rooms throughout the city and I was always impressed at the thoroughness, professionalism, and skill of the doctors and nurses that I encountered here. I know that this particular facility gets a good number of advanced trauma patients and I am looking forward to applying what I have already learned while still having the opportunity to learn from a seasoned and professional staff.”
 

4. Why did you choose the particular field of nursing that you are in?

This question is another way to get to know the candidate. Different specialties require different personality types and each has their own unique challenges. The best answer to give is one that provides some insight as to what drives the decision-making process.

“I have always loved aviation and was naturally drawn to emergency medicine. I spent time in the Army as a combat medic and as such spent a lot of time around helicopters both for transportation and for medical evacuations. After I left the Army, I knew that a flight nurse was the best way to build upon my previous interests and experiences in the civilian world.”
 

5. What kinds of personality traits are most effective for nurses to have?

This question is great for gauging a candidate's understanding of the complexity and human side of nursing. Nurses require a number of skills, especially interpersonal skills in order to successfully work with doctors, patients, family members, and other staff.

“In my opinion, the personality traits that make nurses most effective are patience, compassion, and attention to detail.”

6. What are the biggest challenges or issues that nurses face today?

This is a great way to gauge whether a candidate is staying up to date on trends and news in the industry.

“In my opinion, the biggest challenges and issues facing nurses today are mandatory overtime, safe staffing levels, and workplace safety. The current nursing shortage has led to potentially dangerous practices like mandatory overtime and unsafe staffing levels. This increases the stress on nurses, decreases the quality of patient care, and increases the likelihood of medical errors. ”

7.  Why Do you feel you are qualified for the job?

This is an opportunity for the candidates to sell themselves and talk about past education and experiences.

“I feel that I am qualified for the job because I have my Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), I am a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), and have 6 years of practical experience as a nurse anesthetist. I also stay on top of industry news, studies, and attend seminars or symposiums at least twice a year. I genuinely enjoy what I do and put in extra effort to be the best that I possibly can.”



Other Articles


 Finding a new job can be very tiring, and time-consuming. It can be difficult to schedule some time to your job-seeking activities. However, the end of the year is a period of time you don’t want to miss if you want to maximize your chances of landing that precious new job. Here are four reasons why: 

  1. Employers are getting ready for the New Year  

   

 Traditionally people wouldn’t advise you to hunt for a job at the end of the year, when employers have maxed their yearly budgets and are just closing the financial year with some wrap-up activities. 

 But growing evidence seems to suggest otherwise: as employers return from the holidays with a renewed vigor, new goals, and new KPIs, they are more inclined to act upon your application immediately. 

  2. Employers have plans for 2018  

   

 Whether its a big hospital, a small clinic, or a humble retirement home, everybody uses the last few weeks of the year to reflect back on their performance in order to stay afloat. It is normally during these periods of time that they make the decision to allocate budgets to hire new staff… 

 So get to applying! 

  3. You’re ready to apply for one  

   

 The best time to apply for a job is also whenever you feel you’re ready. 

 When you want new experiences, new training, different exposure, or an increase in salary… you know it’s time to go. 

 So update your resume, acquire new skills, and hunt for that job. 

  4. You’re starting to feel miserable at your job  
 
  
Find yourself feeling unnaturally tired? Even if you’ve been getting enough sleep? 

 If you’ve been exhibiting signs of stress due to your current job like fatigue, headaches, migraines and depression, it’s probably a sign that you should cut your losses and look for opportunities elsewhere. 

 Don’t think it’s your fault for not being able to fit in… sometimes the shoe just doesn’t fit.

4 Reasons You Should Apply For A New Job NOW

Finding a new job can be very tiring, and time-consuming. It can be difficult to schedule some time to your job-seeking activities. However, the end of the year is a period of time you don’t want to miss if you want to maximize your...

Read More

 A close relative of mine is a young nurse. Two years ago she started taking care of this nice lady who was partially paralysed; her breathing muscles would no longer function autonomously, hence a tracheostomy was done so she could breathe. The condition left her bed-ridden on bad days, and wheel-chair bound on good ones. 

 She cared for the lady to the best of her abilities, for about 18 months. One day the lady started feeling cold. She was sweating and shivering at the same time. She went unconscious, and had five cardiac arrests within 36 hours. 

 After unsuccessfully trying to stabilize her blood pressure, she died of heart failure. The young nurse was devastated. It wasn’t her own mother, but it might as well seemed like it. It was her first patient death while working as a nurse. It affected her so much she found it difficult to work for the next week. 

 This experience is shared by many nurses in the country. How nurses bond with their patients depends on circumstances and the length of time they provided care to them. A strong bond between patient and nurse is essential to effective nursing, but when death happens, it can deal a very significant blow. 

 The first death of your patient can massively impact you as a nurse. So will subsequent ones. 

 It is extremely important that this doesn’t mentally compromise your ability to do your work. 

 How can you, as a nurse, deal with it? 

 1. It’s okay to feel emotions. Embrace it fully. 

 You are human. You are in a compassionate profession: the very basis of nursing started on the principle to relieve pain, assuage suffering, and provide help to those of ailing health. 

 It is okay to feel overwhelmed at first, especially when you have cared for the patient for so long. 

 Empathy is good for your job, it makes you a better nurse, but it makes loss more painful. 

 Allow yourself some time to feel, and understand your emotions. 

 Your line of work is to care for people, the noblest of all human traits. Your grief on the death of your patient means that you have done your job. 

 2. Try to accept the death happened. 

 Some wards have it harder than others for this. 

 A geriatric ward would have the oldest, most needy patients. Conducting CPR on these patients can be cruel, especially if you or your team are not willing to “let go” of the patient. 

 However, death in these parts of the hospital would be a routine part of the day. It is wise to accept it, so you can continue giving out the best care to the other still-living patients without letting it affect the quality of your work. 

 Accept their deaths, and the fact that you have done all you could to alleviate their suffering. Know that you have done your best to keep them comfortable and retain their dignity. 

 3. Remain in control and neutral if breaking the news to the family. Don’t add to the problem. 

 It is okay to share your emotions with the patient’s loved ones. 

 Respect the family; if they do not wish you to partake in their grief, then kindly leave them alone. They have also gone through much, just like you. 

 Some relatives will blame the doctor/nurse for causing the death. Don’t take this to heart. The Kubler-Ross model of grief lays out five stages, and anger is one of them. 
Find your own ways to vent, either through support groups, family, or colleagues. 

 4. Talk about it. Don’t bottle it in. 

 One of the best things about being in the nursing workforce is that you’re surrounded by people who have gone through similar experiences too. 

 Death is prevalent amongst healthcare professions, and sometimes just talking to a senior can help a lot. 

 Find someone you’re comfortable with. It can be a senior nurse, a matron, or even your other colleagues in the ward. 

 Ask them how they managed to overcome such periods of distress. Pour out whatever you’re feeling to them; it is very likely that they have felt everything you are feeling right now. 

 Talking about it helps you make sense of what you’re feeling. By articulating it into words, you can pinpoint exactly what’s bothering you, and help you to come to terms. 

 5. Realize that these things happen. 

 Things happen. Death is part and parcel of the life in a hospital. Some areas will be more prone to dealing with death than others, like the ER, surgical ward, the ICU. 
You might find yourself poring over the moments that led up to the death in your mind, going over what you could have done better, what you could have done differently. 

 This leads to a general feeling of guilt. This can be very destructive to your well-being, and can affect the performance of your work to other patient who also need your care. This is not a good coping mechanism if it jeopardizes the health of your other patients. 

 6. Believe that you are making a difference. 

 The death of a patient does not equal to failure. 

 How you deal with the patient’s relatives is an extension of how you treated their late relative. 

 For all the grief that you may be feeling right now, the patient’s family has it harder. 

 Showing that you cared provides a monumental difference, and leads the family to a safer path of acceptance. 

 Conclusion 

 The trait that sets humans apart from other species is our ability to empathize for our fellow brethren. 

 Other fauna have demonstrated this to a certain degree, but only humans have been able to take it to their very core, make it into their reason to live, and deliver it back to their community. 

 Nursing is more than just facts or skills or the amount of certifications that you can obtain to move your career. It is founded on empathy; the ability to understand others’ suffering and pain. 

 During times when you feel overwhelmed or devastated by the loss of your patient, stand firm and be proud of who you are, because nurses do things that not many will have the capacity to accomplish. 

 You will find your way to deal with it as you become more experienced, and become better at learning what is the best way to help families cope with grief over time. 

 Steel your heart, adjust that uniform, and carry on providing the best that you can give to your other patients.

How to Cope with Death and Loss, as A Nurse

A close relative of mine is a young nurse. Two years ago she started taking care of this nice lady who was partially paralysed; her breathing muscles would no longer function autonomously, hence a tracheostomy was done so she could breathe. The...

Read More


  1. Start high  
 2. Look for an agreeable outcome  
 3. Be aware of supply in the area  
 4. Rates are not permanent  
 5. Negotiate other aspects of your rates  

 Locum Jobs 

 An advantage of taking up locum jobs to boost your income is that you have some flexibility to work. You choose the schedule that you are available to fit into. Also, it can  improve your CV  for future job applications at other institutions by showing that you have a diverse set of employers. 

 For new nurses, doing locum allows you extra time and exposure to choose how you want to plan out your nursing career. Like selecting a specialization. You can read more on the  advantages of doing locum to increase your income here . 

 People seem to be paralyzed into inaction when it comes to setting rates, simply accepting whatever the clinic offers to pay you. While this article focuses on nurses doing locum jobs at private practices, we hope that these points will still be able to help doctors, pharmacists, dentists, and other healthcare practitioners as well. 

 1. Start high 

   

  source: @dan_carl5on  

 Start out by always proposing a rate higher than you would. It doesn’t have to be a lot. 

 Say your desired rate is RM20 an hour. Just mention RM25 as your starting rate. You can slowly reduce it to the price that you sought out initially when discussing with the clinic or institution. 

 You don’t want to be working with people who feel like they have to squeeze the most out of their budget to accommodate you. Such scenarios do not lead to healthy long-term relationships. It’s better to make them feel like they’ve got a good deal. 

 2. Look for an agreeable outcome 

   

  source: pixabay  

 Remember, the owner of the clinic wants to fill some gaps in his workforce, and you want to get paid. Think of it as a bridge. Both of you are on either side. The best outcome is if you both meet in the middle. 

 Don’t rip people off. Good negotiation is about both parties walking away feeling like they both got a good deal. If you think that milking out money from people to the point where they are reluctantly agreeing to your prices, think again. That relationship isn’t going to last very long. 

 The best employer (whether they employ you full-time or otherwise) is one that continuously offers you work. They can’t do that if they don’t like you. 

 3. Be aware of supply in the area 

   

  source: pixabay  

 A lot of nurses doing locum jobs in the area? That might affect your locum fees. Try to look for clinics or institutions that have an under-supply of part-time nurses. The main reason why your locum employer is paying you below average is probably because a replacement for you is so easy to find. 

 Price is a reflection of the demand for the locum jobs and the supply of those capable of doing it in the area. This is commonly known as the law of supply and demand in economics. It applies here as well. 

 4. Rates are not permanent 

   

  source: here  

 Rates are not set in stone. Even if you’ve negotiated quite a while ago, you can still make some changes if you approach the employer tactfully. 

 Explain that you’ve been here for a while, and that you haven’t let him/her down. So you’d like an increase in your rates. 

 The worst thing that can happen is they say no. Don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world. At least you tried. 

 5. Negotiate other aspects of your rates 

   

  source: pixabay  

 While there is a fixed rate for your schedule, try to consider other aspects as well. Things like emergency calls, or last-minute requests to come in for locum. 

 Make it clear to the employer that these are out-of-the-norm occurrences, and that you would like to be compensated accordingly. 

 6. Losing locum jobs is not necessarily a bad thing 

   

  source: blupics  

 When increasing your rates, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Doubling your rates but losing half of locum opportunities is great. You get the same amount at the end, but work half as much, which frees up your time. 

 Plus, sometimes someone who charges RM40 per hour looks more professional and qualified than someone who charges RM20 per hour. 

 Conclusion 

 Don’t just look at financial rates; benefits are important as well. Is the job good for your reputation? Are they likely to recommend you to others? 

 Is the work consistent and secure? Do you trust the employer? 

 Remember these 6 steps when negotiating your fees.  If you don’t value your time, no one else will.  

 Browse through  MIMS Career  for an easy way to find locum or part-time jobs in your area.  MIMS Career  is a premier, healthcare-focused job portal site for Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. Our simple sign-up process allows you to easily apply for jobs you might be interested in with a single click. Job locations include hospitals, nursing homes, and private practices. It’s free, easy to use, and safe. 

 Can’t find what you’re looking for? Set up a job alert and we’ll notify you by email whenever positions that suit your preferences are available. All of our pages are mobile-responsive, so you can take your applications with you on the go. 
   

 Our Most Popular Articles 

  Think About These 5 Things Before You Decide On A Specialization  

  5 Things Nurses Need To Know To Be Paid More  

  10 Ways Malaysian Nurses Can Increase Their Income

The Complete Guide to Negotiating Locum Rates

1. Start high 2. Look for an agreeable outcome 3. Be aware of supply in the area 4. Rates are not permanent 5. Negotiate other aspects of your rates Locum Jobs An advantage of taking up locum jobs to boost your...

Read More