19 Nov 25 Nursing Interview Questions & Answers To Land Your Dream Job
Every nursing job interview is different, but over the years many typical nursing interview questions have been asked.
We’ve compiled a list of the most common nursing interview questions you’re likely to be asked whether you are applying for your first job as an LPN or LVN or whether you’re wanting to move to a different hospital as an RN or NP.
Although we have supplied answers to these typical nursing interview questions, they are really just guides. You should adapt the answers to your particular situation and the type of nursing job that you are applying for.
Q1: What made you choose nursing as a career?
A: I’ve always loved nursing, but my interest in healthcare really started when I volunteered at a homeless shelter in college. This really inspired me to pursue a career where I could devote my time to looking after others. The more times I volunteered, the more I knew that nursing was what I really wanted to do.
I wanted to do something that is challenging, interesting and make’s a real difference in people’s lives. I feel very passionate about the healthcare profession and also see it as a way of contributing positively to society.
My mother was a nurse and when I was growing up I saw the satisfaction she gained by helping others. This also contributed very greater to my interest in pursuing nursing as a career.
Q2: Tell me about yourself.
A: I’m a very energetic person and a good communicator. I’ve been working in healthcare for the past two years and this has helped me build my confidence and taught me the importance of very good patient care,
In my last role, I juggled a variety of patient loads, assisted in a charity fundraiser and also was an advocate for senior patients. Because of this, the hospital is launching a new educational program to teach nurses how to better care for elderly patients.
Q3: What do you find most rewarding about being a nurse?
A: There are many things I find extremely rewarding about nursing. It can be something like seeing the joy when a mother hold her newborn infant for the first time or helping someone get back on their feet after recovering from major surgery. I also find interacting with patients and their families very rewarding.
Q4: How has your nursing training prepared you?
A: My clinical training in the ER of City Hospital prepared me for the fast-paced care required of an ER Nurse. I also had an internship position at an Oncology Center after graduating last May which provided me with hands-on experience treating patients with cancer.
When I was undertaking my nursing studies, I was also fortunate to work part-time as a research assistant for Dr. Montgomery in San Diego who was undertaking clinicals on a new treatment for heart disease.
Although I was only there for the first 12 months of my nursing program, the knowledge that I obtained has help prepared me to assist with cardiac patients in a more effective way. I am very keen to specialize in cardiac nursing care if I can get the opportunity.
Q5: Where do you see yourself in healthcare in five years?
A: I really think that the nursing experience that I will have gained will have helped me become a first-rate nurse. I believe in providing the best care that I can to all patients but there is nothing like the exp[experience gained from working in a medical unit for a number of years.
Ideally, I see my long-term future in hospital administration where I could put more people skills and nursing experience to good use to not only benefit the nurses under my control but also the patients and the healthcare facility overall.
Q6: Why are you leaving your current nursing position?
A: I’m looking for new challenges. I think it’s essential that I broaden my nursing experience and set new goals for myself otherwise I will remain stagnant. I hope to learn new skills, see how other units operate and really improve myself as a nurse.
I think it’s important to keep moving ahead and getting better whatever career you are in. But particularly in nursing which is changing rapidly with new nursing and healthcare technology. I see this job as being able to further develop my potential as a nurse and a person.
Q7: What do you think of your previous boss?
A: My last boss at the hospital where I worked taught me the importance of time management. He was extremely deadline-driven and wouldn’t take excuses if the job wasn’t done properly and on time. His no-nonsense approach pushed me to work harder and manage my caseloads much more efficiently.
Q8: What did you like least about your last job?
A: There was nothing I really hated. Sometimes we would be a little short of nurses on the unit and I remember a couple of nurses were not pulling their weight as much as they could.
This made my tasks a little more exhausting than they should have been as I had to shoulder the extra responsibility. After about 6 months of this I was starting to get a little worn down and felt I wasn’t giving my own patients they proper attention they should be receiving. So that was a bit annoying. But, as I said, I never hated the job or became resentful.
Q9: What interests you about working at this particular facility?
A: Quite honestly, it is your cardiac care unit. As I mentioned earlier, I have a particularly strong interest in cardiology and your hospital has one of the top three cardiac units in the country.
I really want to get as much nursing experience as I can with cardiac patients in a hospital that is leading the way with the latest heart research and procedures. Your facility has a very good reputation for its programs and population and I believe I can gain a lot by working here.
Q10: Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a nursing team?
A: That really depends on the situation. I love working with a good team because I believe that providing the best care and treatment in a hospital is a team effort. But I have worked alone on wards before and enjoyed the autonomy and responsibility. But ideally I would prefer to be part of a well-structured unit that works together as one.
Q11: Would you describe yourself as an organized nurse?
A: Yes I would. I like to have a checklist and make sure that each item gets the attention it needs. I’m very organized and thorough and I think this has definitely made me a better nurse.
Q12: What really motivates you?
A: Doing the best I can for every patient. I believe that every challenge can be overcome with the right attitude and hard work. I love nursing and the thing that motivates me every day is knowing that I am making a real difference to people’s lives whatever particular illness, injury or trauma they are facing in their lives.
Q13: When were you the happiest in your job?
A: When I’m interacting with patients. I’m the happiest when I know I’m doing a good job for them and providing the best possible care. When a patient thanks or smiles at smile it really makes my day.
I think this attitude shows in the way I have been reviewed and rated so highly in my peer reviews. One of the reasons I would like to work for your hospital is that I will have even more interaction with patients on a more critical level.
Q14: What do you feel you contribute to your patients?
A: I provide all of my patients with the very best care and advocacy that I can. It’s important for me to ensure that my patients are always comfortable and are confident in my abilities so they know they are being looked after properly. Also, I will act as their advocate if necessary and give a voice to any concerns they may have about their treatment.
Q15: How would you handle a patient who complains?
A: Some patients like to complain about everything. It’s just their nature and also I understand that they can be worried about being in a hospital. So I always try to be very patient and reassure them that we were doing our very best for them.
I would confer with the attending doctor to make sure that the patient’s pain was being managed effectively and tell the patient that everything possible was being done to alleviate their discomfort. At all times I would listen sympathetically to their complaint, reassure them that their concerns were being heard and that we were doing everything possible to help them.
Q16: How do you handle stress on the unit?
A: By focusing on the care of my patients. I feel I owe it to them to stay calm and focused. I have worked in ER where very stressful situations arise quite frequently. I always call on my training and experience to handle anything that comes up in a clam and constructed manner.
Q17: Have you ever had any differences with nurses you have worked with?
A: I once worked with a nurse on a pediatrics ward and we simply didn’t get on with each other. It was just a clash of personalities. After about 3 months it was becoming almost impossible for us to work together so finally I pulled her aside and asked her to have a quick coffee after work and find out what was wrong.
It turned out she was just to communicating differently with nurses in her unit in the past. After we talked about this for about 15 minutes we actually began laughing at what we both perceived to be slights on each other.
I’m a very easy going person but sometimes that doesn’t always come across well. She thought I was being too casual at times and it upset her while I thought she was too stressed and uptight every day. We ended up working it out and we’re very good friends now believe it or not.
Q18: What would you do if your replacement didn’t arrive?
A: Well, I definitely wouldn’t leave the unit. I’d wait for a decent amount of time and then talk to my supervisor and offer to stay until they turned up or someone else was found to fill in for her.
This has happened a few times and I usually try calling to see if they are on their way or what’s holding them up. It’s just a matter of using common sense and not rushing off because the person hasn’t arrived on time. But they had better have a good reason why they’re late.
Q19: How would you deal with a doctor who was rude?
A: If it was just a once-off occasion I would probably let it slide as he could be stressed or worried about something I’m unaware of. But if he or she was constantly being rude to me – especially in front of my patients – I would definitely bring it to the attention of my supervisor.
If the doctor was unhappy with me in any way, I would want to find out so I could take action to rectify the situation. I would also ask the doctor if there was something in my care of the patient that they felt needed discussion.
Q20: Would you become a doctor?
A: No, I enjoy the personal contact with my patients and the comradeship with my colleagues unique to nursing. I plan on advancing my career as a nurse, not a doctor. I enjoy the medical field tremendously and plan to continue my nursing education throughout my career. I have no ambition to be a doctor, just the best nurse that I can be.
Q21: What sort of salary are you looking for?
A: A salary that rewards my experience, abilities, and ambition. At this hospital, I am far more interested in the role and the opportunities it offers me than the pay. But I would expect to be paid the appropriate range for this job, based on my five years of experience. I also think a fair salary would bear in mind the high cost of living here in Los Angeles.
Q22: Why should I hire you?
A: I’ve been an RN for the past five years and was an available team member at my last facility. I was regularly praised for my hard work ethic and ability to get along well with doctors and nurses and my patients.
I’ve also taken the time to educate myself on some of the latest industry trends and changes brought about by new technology. I believe that I can bring many years of experience and an excellent attitude to your hospital. I will be a valuable asset to any unit here.
Q23: Do you have any professional affiliations?
A: Yes I do. I feel it’s important to stay informed about the nursing profession. I’m a member of the American Nurses Association and the California State Nurses Association.
Q24: How would your friends describe you?
A: My friends would probably say that I’m pleasant but persistent. I make and keep friends easily and I never give up. I know that if I try hard enough I can achieve anything. Loyalty is one of my biggest qualities and my friends would attest to that too.
Those are some of the types of nursing interview questions that you can expect to be asked in an interview. Of course, the actual questions will be different for each hospital and healthcare facility but these give you a general idea of what to expect.
Q25: What is your worst trait?
You have two options:
1) Pick a positive that could have negative impacts, and emphasize the positives. If you’re hard-charging and sometimes miss details, you can focus on your single-minded determination. Or, if you are very blunt, you can show how your honesty benefited one of your previous employers.
2) You can choose an aspect of your personality, and see how it rings true with the interviewer. Some firms don’t mind as much if you’re a bit cantankerous, or if you may have some negative traits. They may focus simply on the fact that you’ve chosen to be honest.
To figure out ways to turn a negative into a positive, use your past superiors for help. At review meetings, they may have brought up a negative trait of yours, and talked about how it was still useful. Or, you can even think about conversations with friends and family where it’s become the subject of a joke. Use these, and see what positive aspects of them have come up, similar to what was mentioned above.
If you don’t have any negative traits, please don’t tell an interviewer that. Again, look at what friends and family joke about, or what previous co-workers have said. And if you are still having trouble, come up with something. Even if you’re perfect, no hiring manager wants to hear that you are.
How to Prepare for the Interview?
A common question that also comes up before the interview is what to wear? It’s not necessary to wear scrubs. You should try and look professional so if you’re applying for an entry-level position men should wear slacks with a shirt and tie and women either dress pants or a tailored skirt and blouse.
Your clothes should be pressed, tailored and typically in neutral colors with a simple design. Keep accessories to a minimum. If you are applying for an advanced practice nursing position or healthcare management position, a suit would be appropriate.
Remember, first impressions count. Arrive at the interview early whether it’s in a hospital, health clinic or care facility, greet the interviewer by their formal name, smile and offer a firm handshake.
Throughout the interview, be poised and expressive and try to remain relaxed. Listen carefully to the questions and try your best to answer confidently. It’s normal to be nervous but try and remain aware of your body language and avoid touching your face or hair, distracting hand movements and squirming in your chair.
And remember, the nursing interview questions you will be asked are not designed to trick or trip you up. The interviewers or hospital administrators are simply trying to find the most appropriate person to fit into their medical team.
Simply answer as honestly and as sincerely as you can and you will fly through the most testing nursing interview questions.