Three Styles of Nursing Interviews

People have been asking, so here are some archetypal nursing interviews that a new grad might experience. There's always some overlap, especially for practical questions, but there are definitely distinct styles. Just thinking about II. nearly gave me full body hives...

I. The Practical Interview
· Are you willing to work evening shifts? overnight shifts?
· If the next nurse does not show, you understand that it's patient abandonment if you leave and you will have to stay on to work a second shift unless or until coverage is obtained. You cool with that?
· Do you prefer to work full time? Part time? On call? How flexible is your schedule?
· Are you open to working holidays, weekends, extra shifts as needed?
· What are your long term goals, career wise?
· If a sister facility is short personnel, are you willing to drive there to fill in on short notice?
· Are you willing to relocate?
· Any questions for us?

II. The Grill
(First of all, it's a panel interview, of course, like the MLA*.)
Panel interview. Photo courtesy:

· National Patient Safety Goals, go. Yes, all of them. You're still missing one or two.
· Patient A is coding, patient B is in anaphylactic shock, patient C is asking for you urgently on the phone, and patient D is nonresponsive. Explain your order of priority, what you would do for each patient, and your rationale for each.
· What would you teach the patient about these medications?
· A patient is having issues getting an appointment with a specialist. What do you do?
· What is your role as a nurse in a pre-operative setting? What are your responsibilities and scope of practice?
· How would you serve the pediatric population as a nurse?
· How would you support women's health as a nurse?
· What experience have you had with telephone triage?
· What experience have you had with rapid deterioration of a patient?
· This really f-ed up and bizarre thing happened with a patient. What do you do?
· What do you teach a patient who has had a fracture?
· What do you do if a patient is noncompliant?
· How do you respond if your supervisor criticizes you in front of a patient?
· Why should we hire you?
· Any questions for us? :)

III. The Behavioral Interview
· Tell us a little about yourself.
· Describe a time when you felt challenged.
· Describe a time when you worked on a team.
· Describe a time when you made an unpopular decision.
· Describe a time when you faced a conflict. How did you resolve it, if you did?
· Describe a time when you did or did not meet a client's expectations. What happened, specifically?
· Do you have any questions for us?

*Modern Language Association--the conference where English majors interview for academic positions.


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