Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Research Nurse

nurse image by Vasiliy Koval from

According to the National Institutes of Health, a Research Nurse is an important part of the overall research team. The nurse is responsible for patient care under clinical conditions and must be flexible enough to respond quickly to the need for changes in patient care in response to new findings.

A research nurse also needs to be highly reliable, meticulous in the recording of case details, and willing to implement new protocols as necessary. In order to determine if a job applicant is right for the position, there are certain questions you can ask which will shed light on his suitability for the Research Nurse position.


You will already be familiar with some of the candidate's most important job qualifications, as she will have given you a resume covering education and work history. To get some insight into what she thinks her strengths are, there are two questions you might ask. First, "What particular qualifications do you have for this job?" Secondly, you might ask the candidate, "What kind of record keeping have you been required to do in the past?" These questions will give you some insight into what the interviewee thinks makes her a good fit for the job, and also you will have an idea of how she feels about record keeping, something that is typically much more intensive in a research nursing position.


A research nurse is an integral part of the research team, and you obviously will need to be able to count on him showing up for work consistently and on time. To get an idea as to his level of reliability, you might ask these four questions. "1. What kinds of things made you late for work or made you miss a day at your last job?" 2. "When working full-time, how many days a year is it OK to miss?" 3. "What would you do if you got in your car to come to work one day and your car wouldn't start?" 4. "What would your last supervisor say if I called her and asked about your punctuality and missed days of work during the last year?"


A nurse in any kind of a nursing position obviously needs to have compassion. Some nurses seem to think that because they are applying for a research position they will not need to think as much about the patients, but the opposite is true. In a clinical research setting, nurses often encounter people who have no other options, who are nearly out of hope, and who are extremely ill. During the interview, you might wish to ask these three questions to get a feeling for the level of compassion each candidate possesses. 1. "How do you respond to a patient who always seems to be crabby and difficult?" 2. "If a patient in a clinical trial dies, and you encounter her family, what would you do?" 3. "If one of the patients seems to demand a lot of attention but he seems to be doing it for the attention and not out of need, how would you handle it?"