best nurses may be poorly skilled at interviewing

Common Nurse Interview Questions

Common nurse interview questions

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) has projected a significant nursing shortage looming in the healthcare system. By 2027, almost 900,000 nurses intend to leave the profession, citing stress, fatigue, and burnout from unprecedented workloads during COVID. While nursing is certainly at a crossroads, hope is on the horizon 

Recommended course: The New Business of Healthcare

Charting a nursing career path 

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, enrollment has increased by 6% across 900 nursing schools in the last 2 years. Opportunities for a career in nursing have never been more exciting.  

If the goal is to start working as soon as possible, Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) may be a good option. This technical degree typically takes one year to complete. An associate degree in nursing (ADN) is another good option for individuals who’d like to complete their nursing education quickly. ADN programs typically bypass general education and focus on nursing coursework over 2 years.  

The traditional Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) follows a curricular framework provided by accrediting bodies. This framework outlines the content and competencies students need to prepare for a robust career in nursing. A BSN is a required step for pursuing advanced degrees. It also provides opportunities in specialty areas. The shortest route to a bachelor’s degree in nursing is an ADN, followed by the RN-BSN.  

Applying for nursing school 

All nursing education starts with an application. Applying for nursing school can often be a daunting task, but preparation is key. Here are a few things to consider when applying to any nursing school: 

  • Graduate from high school or earn a GED. The grade point average (GPA) is important, since most schools have a minimum GPA for admission. Anywhere from 3.0-3.2 is the norm. 
  • Research nursing schools where you would like to apply.  
  • Review all the requirements of your chosen school. These requirements may determine where you apply. The best practice is to apply to more than one school.  
  • Prerequisites are an important step. If you are not taking courses at the same school where you want to enroll in nursing school, ensure that the courses transfer between each school. Prerequisites vary based on the nursing program.  
  • Determine how you are going to pay for nursing school. Scholarships, grants and federal loans are common ways that individuals pay for education.  
  • Complete the nursing program application. Each program has its own admission packet. The requirements may include: 
    • Official transcripts from high school and other college level coursework 
    • Standardized test scores (TEAS, or others) 
    • Personal essay or statement letter 
    • Letters of recommendation 
    • Volunteer experience  
    • Application fee  
    • Test of English or Foreign Language (TOEFL) if applicable 
  • Apply early to ensure deadlines are met. This also showcases an applicant’s motivation.   

The nursing school admission interview 

An admission interview is required as a part of some application processes. This is a chance for the candidate to sell themselves. If an in-person interview is offered, this is often conducted in a group setting. However, online or phone interviews are also common.  

Nursing committee members utilize the interview to examine the candidate’s ability to communicate as part of a larger admission process. This is an important step in the application process and a chance for the candidate to portray him or herself in a positive light. 

A few important things to remember:  

  1. Dress the part to make the best impression 
  2. Research and be able to speak about current health issues 
  3. Practice mock interviews 
  4. Know key facts about the program and university 
  5. Be prepared to ask questions 
  6. Never lie, evade, or embellish facts during the interview 

Common nurse interview questions 

Common nurse interview questions vary by school, but broadly speaking, these categories are quite common. Beneath each category are sample questions. 

  • Traditional, open-ended questions are designed to gather information about the candidate. 
    • What are the reasons why you want to become a nurse? 
    • Describe your desire to help others. 
  • Personality and involvement questions examine the candidate’s ability to cope in different situations. 
    • Describe a time that someone gave you feedback. How did you respond? 
    • Describe a time that you failed at something. How did this affect you and what was the outcome? 
  • Behavioral questions examine the candidate’s ability to demonstrate reasoning and critical thinking. 
    • Describe a mistake that you made and how you fixed it. 
  • Situational or ethical dilemma questions are designed to examine the candidate’s ability to show reasoning in unfamiliar roles. 
    • You are a new graduate assigned to a medical-surgical unit on the night shift. One of the assigned nurses is not coming to work. You have to take more patients than normal. How would you handle this situation? 
  • Current affairs questions examine the candidate’s knowledge of current nursing issues. 
    • What do you feel is the biggest health crisis facing America today? As a nurse, what could you do to help resolve this crisis? 

While the process of applying to nursing school may seem daunting, remember: Nursing is a journey. Choose the path and follow your dreams!