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Top 20 basic nursing interview questions and answers

One needs to have some special attributes in order to become a nurse. On many occasions, people might be experiencing a tough time at some point in their lives. You require patience, a sense of humor, resilience, and a thick skin to deal with this. Obviously, nursing might be an extremely rewarding profession, packed with drama and excitement while you are helping other folks. It is definitely a good thing to become a nurse; however, procuring the first job might be the most challenging part of the whole process commencing with the nursing interview questions.

Fortunately, you will get help regarding nursing interview questions and answers in the following article. We will be discussing the types of queries that can be expected by the nurses during an interview. We will also provide you with some tips on answering these questions effectively. Eventually, we will be providing the top 20 most typical nursing questions and answers that you might be encountering in the near future.

It definitely sounds easy, and therefore, let us get started. However, before doing so, have you thought that there are plenty of other questions which are not related to nursing that you must be aware of? It has been confirmed by many students that nursing interviews consist of conventional as well as behavioral questions that you should be able to answer.

Also Read: Nursing Resume Sample and Writing Guide

Types of sample interview questions

Although it is a unique thing to become a nurse, the queries that you will be facing during the interview are also unique. In fact, the interviewers might ask you the identical set of questions that might be asked to you in any other job. For instance, “What is your strength and weakness” or “Tell something regarding yourself.” It is essential for you to comprehend how to deal with these interview questions in the best possible way.   

Let us state what helps to make nursing so unique at present. Compared to other professions where you would be interacting with the public in the form of “clients” and “customers,” your interaction will be in the form of a caregiver to a patient in nursing. This entails a set of interpersonal skills which are carefully crafted and finely honed.

Consequently, most of the interview questions will revolve around the care given to the patients and how you satisfy their requirements in different circumstances.

All these queries are categorized as behavioral questions, and an interviewer will ask them to know how you will be reacting to various situations depending on your previous experiences. These will also inform the interviewer about how you will be able to work as a part of a team that includes physicians and technicians plus friends and relatives of the patients. 

Be ready to reply to queries regarding why you selected the profession of nursing and what exactly interests you in doing so. They will also question you regarding how you will be able to motivate yourself while working alone. Furthermore, you need to be prepared for questions regarding how you will be able to deal with a stressful situation.

In case you are feeling a bit nervous due to these nursing interview questions, there is no need to worry. It would help if you had some preparation in advance.

Tips for common interview questions for nursing

  • While getting ready for an interview, make sure to go through the job description very carefully. Prepare a list of all things that will be required by the employer from the Perfect Candidate. Following this, take a look at all your previous experiences and figure out how you have satisfied all these specifications before.
  • It will not matter in case your previous experiences are not related to the job type for which you are applying. Essentially, your target will be to provide your employer with customized examples of how these situations have been handled by you in the past such that they will comprehend the manner in which you will be reacting in such situations in the future. Make it a point to provide answers to their queries with personal examples showcasing your abilities and skills.
  • While preparing yourself for the nursing questions and answers, it will be good to research where you are applying. Knowing their techniques and their method of performing things and relating all these to how you are going to do things will let them know that you will fit their requirements. It will likewise aid in reinforcing the idea that you happen to be the best candidate.
  • It will also provide you with an opportunity of familiarizing yourself with the individuals you will be working with within the near future. On most occasions, being a nurse implies working on a particular team, and consequently, it is possible for your interview to comprise members of that prospective future team. Get ready to come in touch with other nurses, the hiring manager, physicians, technicians, and hospital administrative staff members. Make sure to understand something regarding every individual before going in.

Now that we have mentioned some fundamental guidelines, we will discuss the top 20 most common nursing interview questions out there.

Common nursing interview questions and answers

1. For what reason do you like to enter this field?

This happens to be amongst the most asked nursing interview questions. The secret of replying to this question will be to show that you are passionate about nursing. In fact, hiring managers want their candidates to be passionate about caring and providing the patients with a better life.

While replying to this question, mention what actually motivated you to select nursing as a career. Talk about things that make you excited as a nurse, looking after the patients, what makes you interested in this particular profession, and how you would like to influence the lives of other individuals in a positive manner. If you are experienced in this field, make it a point to incorporate it in the answer.

2. Do you believe that nursing is a rewarding profession? If it is so, then what is the most rewarding aspect, according to you?

There is no doubt about the fact that nursing is an extremely rewarding profession. The payback is also quite decent right here. Nurses get lots of opportunities to save the lives of individuals every single day. Apart from this, they likewise enjoy retirement benefits as well as other incentives. Nevertheless, while replying to this query, make it a point to stress that you like to help people above all.

You might say something similar to this:

“My profession’s primary objective is to see folks improve, recover, and also return to their homes safely. I love helping people and offering them the necessary treatment plus emotional support each day. I feel happy to find that I am influencing the life of somebody else in a positive manner, and this makes my days meaningful and fruitful.”

3. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

It is imperative to figure out your most significant strengths and weaknesses at first. Nevertheless, while replying to this question, always make sure to emphasize your strengths and do not put much emphasis on your weaknesses. Try to be honest regarding yourself.

You might answer in this manner:

“I think that my most significant strengths are my passion for assisting individuals, patience, compassion, as well as careful attention to detail. I also have remarkable people skills. I can speak with the patients, take note of their fears and apprehensions, and provide emotional support whenever required. I make it a point to make them understand that they are not alone. I can manage my job pretty well since I prefer staying organized according to my schedule.

One of my most significant weaknesses is that I tend to become nervous when I cannot accomplish a particular task that I am supposed to do. At times, I become somewhat harsh on myself in case I do not succeed. It makes me stressed in the long run. However, I am attempting to work on this particular thing.”

4. How will you be able to manage a crisis?

Management of crisis is considered to be an essential aspect of nursing, similar to any other profession. After all, it is imperative for nurses to tackle urgent and sensitive cases every single day. They have to work efficiently and quickly to serve multiple patients within a specific span of time.

Moreover, they have to face immense pressure while working in their everyday lives, making their job more challenging. The main purpose of asking this question will be to understand whether you will be able to handle stress and whether you had any such experiences before.

Your answer should be framed like this:

“In the event of a crisis, I will make an attempt to comprehend the situation and figure out whether it is something that I can handle or it requires the help of the senior management. In case it falls under my jurisdiction, I will assess the available resources and create an action plan for dealing with the situation effectively.

I will make an attempt to tackle the situation by taking the assistance of my coworkers. However, in case the help of the senior management is required, I will be informing the issue to the proper person.”

It will also be a good idea to incorporate your previous experiences of coping with stressful situations at your workplace, if any.

5. How are you planning to handle the stress created by the job?

This is one of the common interview questions for nursing that you should be able to take care of. Nursing happens to be a job that is extremely taxing, both emotionally and physically. This particular question will allow the interviewer to evaluate whether you have a proper plan for work-life balance. The job is quite stressful, and therefore, you should create a coping strategy for your emotional and physical well-being.

There is no proper answer to this question, and it will depend completely on how you are able to approach stress management. Inform how you will be dealing with stressful circumstances and whether you will become nervous or you will be able to keep calm and composed. You might also mention those hobbies which allow you to relax following an exhaustive day at work.

It might be anything such as working out, listening to music, meditating, cooking, watching movies, spending some time with your near and dear ones, and so on.

6. How are you able to get along with your fellow nurses?

This particular query is directed towards your team-paying expertise and team spirit. Nursing happens to be a collaborative department, and it is essential for the nurses to function optimally as an individual and as a part of the team. They will be working with physicians, other nurses, and lab technicians regularly.

While replying to this query, talk about your experience of dealing with other physicians, nurses, patients, and so on for depicting your team-playing experience. Inform how you like to become an integral part of the team, collaborate with other individuals, as well as learn innovative things from them. Apart from this, make it a point to inform them that you are quite comfortable working alone as well.

7. What is the hardest part of the job, according to you?

This question is quite tricky. Although the interviewer would like to know your personal challenges, it is essential to remember that you should not talk about your hatred for working extra hours. Instead, inform them that you find it quite challenging to see other individuals suffering from pain and discomfort. Moreover, it is quite difficult for you to see individuals departing from their near and dear ones in front of you.

Also Read: What does a Nurse do?

8. For what reason do you believe that you are the best fit for this job?

In case you are searching for nursing interview questions and answers, then this one should be at the top of the list. It intends to figure out whether you are aware of the intricate details of the job and also whether you are prepared to take on the responsibility. Bear in mind to frame your reply by mentioning your expertise and strengths.

You might say:

“I prefer to do nursing, and I have confirmed myself to be quite competent in taking on this profession as well as its challenges. I become encouraged by the fact that I am able to assist individuals every single day. This aspect motivates me to become a caring and better professional.

I attempt to remain updated with the most recent healthcare industry trends. According to me, I try to learn from my present job and am of the notion that it has assisted me significantly in becoming a better caregiver. Lastly, I think that I am endowed with all the required qualifications and skills for taking on this role.”

9. How would you like to tackle a patient who is not complacent with your care?

In case you are considering some uncommon/tough interview questions on nursing, then this one will be one of them. This question will allow you to comprehend how you will be able to handle the crisis. The image of any healthcare institution can be damaged by patient reviews that are negative, and therefore, it is imperative to perform sufficient damage control in such circumstances.

You might talk regarding experiences highlighting your problem-solving expertise. In case you are not experienced enough, it might be a sensible idea to draft your answer by building on a hypothetical situation.

Your answer should be framed as follows:

“In case the patient or his relatives are not absolutely satisfied with the care provided by me, I would be trying to comprehend their complaints and frustrations. Moreover, I would try to do everything to fix the problem. If required, I will take the assistance of senior management to deliver the goods.”

10. Where do you visualize yourself in the subsequent 5 years?

This is undoubtedly amongst the most straightforward nursing interview questions. This is usually asked by the interviewers to comprehend the plans as well as ambitions of the candidate. While replying to this query, make certain to let them understand that you take the job seriously and want to do it. Never allow them to know that you are doing this job only for a short span of time.

For this, you might say something similar to this:

“In the next 5 years, I would like to visualize myself as an integral part of the team for nursing management. And for this, I am ready to continue educating myself such that I will be able to take on senior-level roles in the future. I am planning to take professional training programs to upgrade my skills and knowledge base. I expect that your institution will provide me with ample opportunity and space for improving myself as a professional and caring nurse.”

11. How are you going to tackle a difficult patient?

Being a nurse, it is imperative for you to have patience and compassion. As a matter of fact, your patients might be experiencing some tough situations which might affect their attitudes at times. While encountering a difficult patient, it is important to take the required steps to reassure them. Make certain to provide medications properly as per the schedule and also offer additional resources which will help the patient feel more comfortable. While replying to this question, make it a point to provide an instance when you had to encounter a difficult patient, and you successfully improved his condition.

Example: “While working as a pediatric nurse overnight, I came across a patient whose age was 15 years and was getting treated for infection. I was called by the patient several times into the room within 60 minutes with various concerns. Although it was difficult for me to attend to other patients, I always took care of him by asking him about his health. It appeared to me that he was concerned regarding his situation and could not stay away from home. I provided him with some snacks and also asked him about his pets at his residence. Following this, he did not bother me anymore and fell asleep. This helped me to learn to look beyond the attitudes of the patients for any underlying concern.”

12. How are you going to tackle the situation in case you disagree with a doctor?

One of the common nursing questions and answers will be this one. While replying to this question, focus on your interpersonal expertise, including active listening, flexibility, and teamwork for solving issues. Moreover, emphasize your capability of following commands whenever required. While responding, inform them that you will be working with the physician directly to resolve the discrepancy. In case any further help is required, it might be a good idea to talk with your supervisor.

Example: “I encountered a situation while working at a particular hospital. There was not adequate staff on some particular nights, and everyone would be quite busy. I looked over a patient’s chart one night and found something wrong with the prescription. I called the physician first to resolve the discrepancy. He confirmed that the prescription was original, although it appeared somewhat fake to me. I made a decision to talk about it to my supervisor. When the prescription was reviewed by the 3 of us together, the doctor eventually realized that there was a mistake. We corrected the perception and provided proper treatment to the patient.”

13. What are you going to do in case your replacement doesn’t arrive?

It is imperative for the nurses to remain at their post till the subsequent shift nurse arrives. This will help make sure that there is no lapse in the service quality offered by the nurses. In case a replacement is not available on time, the solutions that can be offered by you to this situation incorporate coming in touch with your replacement while staying beyond your shift for several minutes or coming across somebody else for covering the responsibilities. It will be a sensible idea to speak with your supervisor in case there is an issue out there, or the replacement does not come on time on successive occasions.

Example: “When I was posted at the City Hospital in the ICU, I was not able to find any replacement one particular night. My shift had come to an end, and I was prepared to return home. I talked with my supervisor so that we would be capable of making modifications for fitting his schedule in a better way such that it will not be imperative for me to stay late.”

14. How to deal with a patient who is struggling with pain management?

It is important for nurses to have empathy while interacting with any patient who is struggling with pain. Inform that you have taken the concerns of the patient seriously and also provide an instance which depicts that you will be able to assist them through problem-solving and empathy.

Example: “While working at City Hospital, I recalled that one patient was having pain during childbirth. Although I recommended various stretches and stripping positions, it did not come of use to her. The information was reported by me to her physician, who recommended further treatment. Afterward, the patient reported that her treatment was effective and did not experience any pain. It is my motto to take the patients seriously once they inform me regarding their discomfort.”

15. What will be your response when individuals ask for personal diagnoses from you outside the clinical setting?

Amongst the most common nursing questions and answers, this one has special significance. Being a medical professional, it is natural for you to come across friends requiring your advice regarding what should be done about their medical concerns. It will be a sensible idea to refer them to medical experts who will offer a comprehensive examination, diagnosis, and treatment.

Example: “One family friend of mine would be asking me regarding his symptoms and what should be done about it. After I informed him that it would not be possible for me to provide him with any diagnosis outside the clinic, he made an appointment to visit a physician there. Although he might have received feedback from me, it will be best to look after patients professionally and holistically such that we have the correct information to do the most effective thing for them.”

16. How are you going to handle a crisis, for example, an outbreak?

There is no doubt about the fact that this is one of the most important interview questions and answers on nursing which you ought to know. Here, your response should showcase your hard skills like your knowledge of addressing some particular medical situations plus soft skills such as adaptability and teamwork.

Example: “In the previous role played by me as a nurse at the health department of the city, I observed an abnormally large number of patients having identical symptoms. I have the responsibility of leading a team for collecting and analyzing the data. At that time, our city was experiencing a small outbreak. The symptoms were detected by our staff, and precautions were taken immediately. It was possible for the authorities to alert the public, and it seemed to me that a fantastic job was done by our team in the long run.”

17. Why did you select the nursing field?

It is a fact that professionals who take the responsibility of nursing have more compassion and empathy to provide to others. In case someone inspires you to become a nurse, you can inform them how they were able to influence you while opting for nursing as a profession.

Example:  “My younger sister, who happens to be a nurse, has an extremely tight schedule; however, she has the ability to provide care to others without any problem at all. Once her patients become well, I find that she has become extremely satisfied. In fact, I have also been influenced by her qualities, and I took the decision to take nursing as my profession.”

18. Why do you want to leave your present nursing position?

This is one of the most intriguing nursing interview questions and answers out there. I am always searching for new fresh challenges. I like to broaden my experience of nursing and set new targets in front of me. I expect to learn innovative skills and make improvements as a nurse.

I am of the notion that one ought to move ahead and become better in the course of time. The nursing profession is changing quite fast, and I visualize this job to help me develop my skills as an individual and a nurse.

19. Tell me your experience while handling a difficult patient.

This nursing interview question is one of the most common ones. 

It is quite difficult to deal with some patients since some of them can be tough. This is a question which you will most likely face in your interview.

Example: “I have come across difficult patients on some occasions. One such patient was shouting at everybody for even minor issues. After talking to her, I understood that it was regarding a hopeless diagnosis. She did not have any known person to speak with. I reported the matter to the hospitalist, and a therapist was arranged to speak with her.  Following this, she became quite pleasant. Every staff member and patient out there was also quite relaxed. In case someone is being difficult, there is always a reason behind it. Treating individuals respectfully can often lead to surprising results.”

20. Why are you interested in working here?

By asking this query, the interviewers will try to figure out whether you comprehend and value the institution. Essentially, they like to know whether you like this specific job at all.

Example: “The model here has impressed me along with the team’s collaborative spirit. After spending some time here, it is evident that this particular practice comes with a patient-first priority. I prefer working with folks who want to provide care.”

Several things to bear in mind while answering nursing interview questions:

  • You must not become nervous! The interviewer is simply trying to figure out your level of interest plus whether you have any prior experience with nursing.
  • Make it a point to be brief while replying to queries regarding an earlier experience, and do not try to assert that you did a great job. Try to cite good examples instead.
  • Be enthusiastic while answering and maintain professionalism at all times.
  • Make sure to inform why you prefer this job, why you are motivated, and how fervent you are regarding being a nurse.
  • Your attitude ought to be positive. It will reflect in the answers and allow the interviewer to be more comfortable with you.
  • Never give answers to the “yes” and “no” types. It will make you appear unprofessional and rude in the long run.


Do not forget to convey thanks to all the people you talked with after the interview. This will show that you are polite and will also show the interviewers that you are interested in the job.  

More Resources : Part time job openings in MumbaiPart time job openings in Pune | HR interview questions | System design interview questions & answers 

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