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Tips on job interview questions & answers for nurses

Updated April 17, 2017

The key to doing well in a job interview is preparation. Candidates who are interviewed for a nursing position can expected to answer a certain set of questions about their personal history and education. It is important to come across as well-informed, serious, confident, and professional. In addition to the answers themselves, the interviewing committee uses the interview to form an opinion of the type of person the candidate is.

Preparing for the Interview

Prepare yourself for the interview by taking the time to research the nursing position you are interested in as well as the health care facility you are applying to. Preliminary research provides the opportunity to think and reflect on various aspects of the job and helps you to answer potential questions with specific details rather than vague generalities.

Qualifications and Experience

The interviewing committee wants to find out about your educational and professional background. Be prepared to give a concise synopsis of your qualifications. Speak about aspects of your education and professional experience that will help make you an attractive candidate for the position. Mention volunteer work and non-professional experiences that relate to the nursing field. Let the committee know that you are committed to keeping your education and training up to date.

Personal Questions

In addition to your educational qualifications and the ability to work a flexible schedule, the interviewers are interested in your personal traits as well. Typical personal questions include questions such as "Why do you want to be a nurse?" and "What attracts you to this position?" Place the emphasis in your answers on your desire to help people. Speak about the specific ways in which you think nurses contribute to the patient's health and general well being. The interviewing committee is also often interested in your personal life and family background. Take this opportunity to talk about personal experiences that reveal important traits in your character that the committee will find attractive. Be prepared to share a few short anecdotes or personal stories. The interviewing committee is looking for a colleague who will fit in well with the rest of the staff.

Difficult Questions

Nurses have to deal with difficult and problematic situations which require tact, good judgment, and the ability to quickly size up a situation and determine the proper response. The interviewing committee is interested in knowing how you will deal with difficult situations. Question may include topics such as dealing with patients making irrational complaints, tension and strife among colleagues and staff, and dangerous emergency situations. It is important to be honest and straightforward in your answers. Cite examples from past arduous experiences that you have had on the job. Give concrete examples of how you have dealt with difficult situations.

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About the Author

Robert Russell began writing online professionally in 2010. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is currently working on a book project exploring the relationship between art, entertainment and culture. He is the guitar player for the nationally touring cajun/zydeco band Creole Stomp. Russell travels with his laptop and writes many of his articles on the road between gigs.