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How to Impress at a Nurse Job Interview

A career in nursing can be rewarding as well as challenging. Rewarding, because it comes with its share of excitement and the kind of rush a person can get only by serving those who need medical assistance. Challenging, because, more often than not, a nurse sees people during what can easily be one of the worst days of their lives.

So, taking a nurse job takes a special kind of person. Empathy, patience, attention to detail, critical thinking abilities and having a thick skin are some of the requisite characteristics in a nurse.

However, landing a nurse job can be a tough proposition, the hardest part in most cases is getting through the tough interview questions. If you are wondering what the interviewer may ask, or how you would handle a question whose answer you’re not sure of, don’t worry.

Here are some questions that you may face during a nursing job interview and our winning tips on cracking it.

What appeals to you the most about nursing as a profession?

With nurse jobs, passion for quality patient care and safety are paramount. If you aren’t in love with the profession, you wouldn’t be able to work well with patients.

Tell the interviewer what made you choose this career path from the standpoint of taking care of patients. What was the driving force inside? If you have personal anecdotes, tie it back to those — it could be a childhood experience of caring for someone or when you were tasked with handling a difficult patient at a previous job.

Make sure your answer explains why nursing is not just a pay check for you.

Being a nurse is not easy. So, how will you maintain work-life balance?

Nursing is a physically and emotionally taxing profession. You will see patients on their death beds regularly. While answering this question you need to be as honest as possible. You will need to explain why you selected this profession in the first place and how you are mentally prepared to help everyone who comes your way.

When speaking about the family, you can always explain how they lighten your day after going home. You can always add how your family is extremely supportive and makes your life easier and better.

You also need to be ready with an answer that explains how you’ve learned to cope with stress related to the job. Add specific examples.

Tell me/us something about yourself.

This is a very tricky question — your answer can determine why you are perfect for the job of a nurse. So, don’t give a generic answer. Find out the job requirements. Then make a list of your best achievements and tell a story that fits perfectly with the job.

Why are you the best person for the job of a nurse?

The answer here would reflect on how well you know your work and what you learned through the course. Do your homework before going for the interview. Learn what the employer is looking for.

It’s a given that they want someone with certain specific skills required for the job, apart from professionalism. What are those? What else are they seeking? To find out these answers, talk to a couple of nurses who work there. In the interview, talk about the times in the past when you’ve met those needs.

What was your most challenging moment as a student/nurse and how did you handle it?

In health care, handling crises is the norm. Attending to critically-ill patients and making on-the-spot decisions, while maintaining composure are all part and parcel of nursing jobs.

While answering this, don’t end up saying that it isn’t difficult to handle stress or face challenges. If you do so, you’ll only set off alarm bells. Instead, specify examples from situations in life or as a nurse where you’ve handled stress, faced challenges and came out unscathed.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Focus on the strengths that fit perfectly with the hospital’s needs, and talk about real-life situations to prove them. For weaknesses, never say, “I have no weakness.” We all have weaknesses. So, highlight those that are manageable. In doing that, you will excel this question every time.

If there is a disease outbreak, how will you handle the situation? 

Your answer should convince the interviewer that you are capable of noticing signs in a patient when something unusual is happening and proceeding with care.

Walk your interviewer through a real-life situation where you dealt with an outbreak. In case you don’t have real-life examples, tell them about a hypothetical situation, and what precautions you’d take, why you’d take those steps, and how you’d work with others to solve the problem.

What do you hope to gain from this experience of working as a nurse?

Make it clear that this is your dream job, and you’d stick with it, no matter what. Your answer should show your passion for the job and explain where you’d be a few years from now, and how you intend to get there. Tell the interviewer that you want to expand your skills beyond the current level, and that this hospital is the perfect place to grow into a better nurse.

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