This is an authoritative guide to interview questions for nurses. These questions can be used for applicants preparing for an interview or for interviewers preparing to interview candidates.
First, look at the job duties
Applicants can read the ad and interviewers can read the job description. Job duties are the best clue of what technical questions may be asked.
Identify technical questions
Applicants and interviewers alike should write out each question, research the question, and write out the best answer. Each answer should:
- Explain the situation.
- Detail your actions in first person (say “I did this” and not “we did that.”)
- Describe the results and how it helped a person or how it improved your organization.
What nurses do
Use this guide for formulating technical questions. Primary duties of nurses are to:
- Assess patient health problems and patient needs.
- Develop and implement care plans and maintain medical records.
- Administer nursing care, advise patients or manage patient cases.
A typical day may involve monitoring, recording and reporting patients' symptoms requiring accuracy and attention to detail. Nurses may order, interpret or evaluate diagnostic tests. They may modify patient treatment plans, direct other personnel and coordinate with healthcare team members.
Identify behavioral questions
O*NET ranks the importance of following Work Styles for the Registered Nurse and Nurse Practitioner job. Nurse Assistants may see the same questions as RN's but may also see a question on analytical thinking—the ability to analyze information and use logic to address work-related issues and problems. Interviewers use O*NET’s work styles to construct behavior-based questions. A good behavior-based interview will have no more than eight to ten questions. See the list for questions in the following categories which O*NET scores for their importance to the job.
- Concern for Others — 93
- Integrity — 92
- Dependability — 90
- Stress Tolerance — 90
- Self Control — 88
- Attention to Detail — 87
- Cooperation — 87
- Adaptability/Flexibility — 84
- Initiative — 83
Practice answering questions
Past behaviors are the best predictor of future behaviors. Therefore, expect to be asked about what you have done in previous jobs, school or other venues. You need to think through very specific accomplishments related to job characteristics. Many questions will take time to think through. Effective interviewers will actually ask you to take time to think about your answers. They will wait in silence until you come up with an answer. It is more important to think through and communicate good examples of whom you are than to show you can answer questions quickly. Quick answers will more likely be the wrong answers.