15 Best Interview Questions to Ask Nurses

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Competition to hire nurses has become fiercer than ever, with a projected growing nursing shortage on the horizon. At the same time, you can’t take shortcuts when hiring in healthcare. For that reason, it’s important to create an efficient and effective hiring process that includes strategic nursing interview questions.

By outlining interview questions in advance, and using the same questions for all candidates, you speed up the interview process in two big ways. One, you cut down on your overall prep work, and two, you make it easier to compare nursing candidates to each other.

Ready to learn more about nurse interview questions? Let’s get to it!

Strategic Interview Questions to Ask Nurses

Hard skills and soft skills are essential for any role, especially in healthcare. You want to hire nurses with excellent medical knowledge and experience who are also able to communicate well with both patients and other medical staff.

Your nursing interview questions should cover the following categories:

  • Teamwork
  • Patient care
  • Communication
  • Adaptability
  • Time management

By asking nurses questions from these categories, you get an overall sense of their skills and experience.

Nurse Interview Questions on Teamwork

All medical professionals need to work well with other people. For that reason, it’s important to ask nurses about their teamwork skills.

1. Describe a situation when you had to work closely with a difficult colleague. How did you handle the situation? Were you able to build a rapport with this person?

2. Have you ever needed to step up as a leader? What was the situation, and how did you lead others?

3. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced when working with a team? How did you overcome it?

Nurse Interview Questions About Patient Care

A nurse’s ability to provide quality patient care is paramount. Multiple studies find that nurses spend roughly a third of their time on direct patient care. Nurses need to be efficient and compassionate when caring for patients in order to have good patient outcomes. Asking questions about patient care will help you evaluate a nurse’s skills.

4. Describe a situation when you had to take care of a difficult patient. How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome?

5. Describe a time when you went above and beyond when caring for a patient. What did you do that made a difference? How did the patient respond?

6. Have you ever worked with a patient who struggled with pain management? What were the challenges, and how did you meet them?

Nurse Interview Questions on Communication

Nurses need to communicate with other medical professionals as well as patients and their loved ones. Communication is a critical skill in keeping patients safe while also protecting patient privacy. These nursing interview questions will allow you to assess a candidate’s communication skills.

7. How do you handle questions from a patient’s family and friends? What do you do when someone has questions, but your patient hasn’t given consent for them to receive information?

8. How do you explain healthcare situations without using too much medical jargon? Give an example of a medical situation that you’ve broken down and communicated in plain language.

9. Describe a situation when you had to rely on written communication to explain something to your team or to a patient.

Nurse Interview Questions for Adaptability

Nurses often work in a fast-paced environment, whether they work as labor and delivery nurses, charge nurses, or another specialty. The right nurse interview questions will help you evaluate a candidate’s ability to adapt quickly, no matter the situation.

10. Describe a situation when you were under a lot of pressure at work. What was going on? How did you handle it? What were the patient outcomes?

11. What do you do when you don’t know the answer to something? Walk me through your process to find the information.

12. How do you handle changes to your work environment, whether that’s a new system or an updated schedule? Share an example of how you successfully navigated a large change at work.

Nurse Interview Questions on Time Management

Nurses juggle multiple tasks during a shift including direct patient care, indirect patient care, and so much more. They need to be able to prioritize tasks to improve patient outcomes while managing their time effectively.

13. Describe a situation when you felt overwhelmed by your workload. What did you do?

14. During a shift, how do you manage your time to ensure quality patient care?

15. What’s the most recent career goal you have accomplished? Explain why it was important to you, and what it took to achieve it. What is the next big goal in your career?

Specialty Nurse Interview Questions

Most nurses specialize in a specific field. While these strategic nursing interview questions can help you assess any candidate, you’ll also want to ask some questions that relate to the exact role. Here are some additional questions to ask.

Hire Nursing Staff with Insight Global

Nurses are a vital part of any healthcare team, and the hiring process is central to finding the right nurses for your team. The common nurse interview questions will help you streamline your interviews so you can find the right talent quickly.

Need help hiring nurses?

Contact Insight Global today! Questions about our Joint Commission-accredited staffing services? Call us toll-free: 855-485-8853