Interview questions & answers for nurses

Written by tamara runzel
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Interview questions & answers for nurses
Prepare to interview for a nurse position. (Nurse in Scrubs image by Mary Beth Granger from

You've finished your training as a nurse and now your goal is to get an interview to secure a job. According to the University of California at San Francisco, interviews can be as quick as 30 minutes or as long as two hours. You will probably face one to three interviewers, except at a larger hospital where you might see as many as 10. Interview questions will focus on three areas: agenda-setting or opener questions, skills that are key to the position, and fears or curiosity.

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Opener Questions

Almost any interview starts off with some opener questions. Your answers to these questions should focus on your training, skills and experience. Try to keep your answer to two minutes or less so the interviewer can ask follow up questions. Possible questions include, "Tell me about yourself," and "Why do you want to be a nurse?" Your answer to the first question is not as important as the way you respond. Your interviewer wants to see that you can think clearly, are a good communicator and that you conduct yourself well. You should tie any personal experiences into your answer to the second question as well as experiences from your training and classes.

Skills Questions

An interviewer will focus his next set of questions on whether you have the skills for the job. The interview will probably have you describe a situation when you had to handle a difficult patient. You should give a brief summary of the situation before explaining how you used both verbal persuasiveness and listening to deal with the patient as well as their family. In this section. the interviewer may also ask you to explain or walk them through your typical day. They are looking for evidence of organisation and energy in your daily approach. You should also mention any challenges or pressures you face daily so they know what you can handle.

Fear/Curiosity Questions

The final portion of your interview will centre around further investigation of why you are interested in the job and any barriers that might prevent you from doing the job well. A likely question is, "What is your most significant weakness?" Don't say that you don't have any weaknesses. Instead talk about a few weaknesses and tell the interviewer that you are working on improving them. Give specific examples of how you have improved in these areas or show how you turned a weakness into strength. If you are currently employed, the interviewers may ask why you are leaving your current job. Explain to them that the job you are interviewing for offers a new opportunity. You can also highlight any positive possibilities you see coming from this new job. Do not talk negatively about your current or former employers.

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