5 Common Nursing Interview Questions & Sample Answers

5 Common Nursing Interview Questions & Sample Answers

If you’ve landed an interview for a nursing or medical position, it’s important to be prepared. You need to communicate in your interview indirectly that you’re a great teammate, quick on your feet, humble, can show humility, have patience, be self-aware, and practice excellent time-management. We’ve compiled 5 Common Nursing Interview Questions and the best answers to help you prepare. 

What Made You Choose a Career in Nursing?

What they want to know:

Hiring managers ask this question to determine your “why.” They don’t want to hear about a stable career path or an alternative superficial reason. They want you to pull on their heartstrings. They want to hear that you want to save lives, make a difference, help people and that you love the fast-paced think on your toes environment. It’s best to give a real-life example in all of your responses.

Sample Answer:

Making a difference and saving lives is my life purpose.  Growing up I spent many days in the hospital. One nurse, Moreen, always made me feel normal and welcomed every time I was there. I’ve always wanted to give back and make patients feel comfortable and safe in an unfamiliar environment like she did for me.

How Well Do You Handle Stressful and Fast-Paced Environments?

What they want to know:

Stress comes with the job as a Registered Nurse, and being able to handle a fast-paced setting is essential. Nursing managers ask this question to determine how well you’ll be able to handle the hard days. In addition, they want to know that they can count on you to excel in these situations rather than fail. 

Sample Answer:

I excel in fast-paced and high-stress settings and allow it to be my driving force. I love to be kept on my toes and never have the same day twice. Tough days are inevitable, but I don’t let it hit me till I’m home. After a tough day, I make sure to practice self-care by going for a run after my shift. This helps me work it off also while working through my thoughts and if there was anything I could have done differently.

In Your Opinion, What’s The Hardest Thing About Being a Nurse?

What they want to know:

No matter which way you flip it, many aspects of being a nurse is challenging. The hiring manager doesn’t want to hear a lie about how nothing is hard. Use this opportunity to flip the question into a positive one. 

Sample Answer:

Stressful days come with being an RN, but the hardest thing about being a nurse is and will always be when saving a life is out of my hands. That moment when we’ve done everything we could as a team to save a life, but there was nothing more we could do, and the time of death is called. At the end of the day, all the lives we saved, and all the lives we’ve helped change keep me going and make it all worth it. 

Do You Work Better Alone or As a Part of a Team?

What they want to know:

Nursing is about teamwork, but it’s also all about being self-sufficient and being able to work on your own. A hiring manager wants to hear that you’re able to work both collaboratively and on your own. 

Sample Answer:

I didn’t know this growing up and didn’t understand it until clinicals, but being an RN is all about teamwork as well as being able to work alone, and that’s just another reason why the nursing field is perfect for me. In school, I always loved collaborating as a team then delegating. I find a lot of gratification in the balance of both, unlike some professions where it’s one or the other. 

What is Your Biggest Weakness? 

What they want to know:

This question is a tricky one and can depend on the hiring manager. A common response to this question is to spin it into a positive one. 

Sample Answer:

I care too much. I handle stress and fast-paced settings, but not being able to help someone is something that gets to me. As an RN, I know we’re supposed to have thick skin, but I don’t think that’s something that will ever change about me. I believe that more nurses need to be this way. When nurses aren’t jaded, they look at patient care differently. I don’t quit until I’ve done everything I possibly can to make sure the patient is comfortable. 

There are countless questions that could be asked in a nursing interview. To best prepare, we suggest journaling about situations you’ve handled on the floor or in clinicals. Real-life examples along with how you’ve problem solved is what hiring managers want to hear. Prepare for specific questions about how you handled particular situations. Additionally, in your responses make sure you communicate the ability to do the following:

  • Prove you’re self-sufficient
  • A good team player
  • Can think on your feet
  • Handle stress well
  • Are in this field for all the right reasons and for the long-haul

What are some of the hardest nursing interview questions you’ve been asked? Let us know in the comments below. 

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About the author

Ashley Carty

Ashley Carty is a seasoned medical professional with over 8 years of experience working at the top hospitals in Southern California, including Hoag, Saddleback Memorial, and UCSD.

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