Common Nursing interview questions and answers 2021

If you are Looking for Common nursing interview questions and answers to prepare yourself well for that upcoming interview that you are thinking about, then this article is for you.

If you search on Google looking for Common nursing interview questions and answers, you will see different results from other websites which cannot be trusted but this article gives you the trusted information you are looking for.

Common Nursing interview questions and answers

Let’s get started!.

The two solid reasons you’ll ace the interview.

  1. Most applicants don’t have answers ready for common nurse interview questions. (You will!)
  2. It’s not hard to prep job-getting answers to the toughest interview questions for nurses.

With a little work you’ll pass the nursing interview.

This guide will show you:

  • The most common nursing interview questions and answers.
  • How to answer interview questions for nurses with achievements hiring managers love.
  • How to answer RN interview questions when you’re fresh out of school.
  • Tips for how to get ready for nursing job interview questions so you’re cool and prepared.

In a nursing interview, you’ll need to prove you’ve got very specific skills. Those may cover patient care, crisis management, patient education, and more.

To probe your nurse superpowers, interviewers will ask nursing behavioral interview questions. These are scenario questions or “situational questions.” See our guide to get ready:

Some nursing interview questions are based on more common job interview questions. Our guide can help you prep for those:

Can’t land an interview in the first place? Your nursing resume might be to blame. Use our guides to fix it:


  • Tell us why you’d like to become a nurse.

An answer to this question that has become cliché and overused throughout the years is, “I want to help people!” Be honest, but specific. Furthermore, the interviewer is not going to want to hear that you want to be a nurse because your mother, aunt and maternal grandmother were nurses.

  • What are some of your hobbies or passions?

The answer to this question can give the interviewer deeper insight into the applicant’s personal interests. There is no incorrect answer to this particular question because we all enjoy different pastimes. One applicant might like cooking, whereas another person may be an avid musician. Again, be honest and forthright.

  • If you see a classmate stealing, what would you do?

This question was formulated to assess your moral compass and ethical views. Here’s a clue: the interviewer does not want to hear that you will keep quiet about the situation.

  • A nurse at a clinical practicum site is acting unethically. What would you do?

This question also assesses your moral compass and ethical viewpoints. While the interviewer will not want you to remain quiet about the situation, he or she probably will not want you to skip the chain of command, either.

  • What are your personal strengths?

This question has no correct or incorrect answer because we all have various strengths to bring to the table. Some candidates are excellent orators, whereas other candidates have the uncanny ability to soothe peoples’ anxieties. Some people are great at problem-solving, while other people are outstanding at solitary pursuits such as reading and computer skills.

  • What are your personal weaknesses?

First of all, every single person in existence has one or more weaknesses. However, for the purposes of this upcoming interview, you will want to present one or two socially acceptable weaknesses along with an action plan to address them. Also, please refrain from uttering outrageously cliché phrases such as “I work too hard!”

  • What would your previous bosses or classmates say about you?

The answer to this question will give the interviewer some insight regarding your perceived work ethic and other peoples’ perceptions of you. Direct quotes will convey your point strikingly well. “My current supervisor, Jane Smith, would describe me as a dependable employee who never calls out.”

  • Why do you want to be admitted into our nursing program?

You have the opportunity to shine when you show the interviewer that you have conducted some prior research about the school. “This school of nursing has produced many fine nurses since it first graduated its first class in 1978, and I would be totally honored to receive my nursing education here.”

  • What would you do if you find yourself struggling in a nursing course?

The answer to this question attempts to assess your resourcefulness and inclination to proactively seek help as needed. Students who take ownership of their learning and speak up when they are not understanding are preferred over those who passively wait for events to transpire. In other words, the interviewer wants to attain a sense of your coping skills during rough times.

Additionally, interviewers will not be particularly fond of candidates who display the tendency to externalize their problems. “I got a D grade in anatomy because I had a bad professor” is a statement that may or may not come from a candidate who copes by externalizing personal problems.

  • What would you do if you have a conflict with a professor?

When asking this question, the interviewer is attempting to ascertain your maturity level, interpersonal skills, and your personal approach regarding conflict resolution. Mature students will try to resolve conflicts without escalating the issue too high on the chain of command. In other words, attempt to resolve the issue with the professor before running to the director of nursing education, nursing department chair, or dean.

  • Tell us why you’d be the best candidate for our nursing program.

This is the time to absolutely sell all of your positive qualities. Show the interviewer that you would be an asset to the school of nursing. Convey that you will be a future asset to the nursing profession. Communicate your enthusiasm. Point out that once you start a venture, you would not abandon it until the mission is accomplished.

  • Do you have any questions for us?

Now is the time to ask questions about scheduling, exit exams, clinical practicum sites, and any reasonable question about the nursing program that has piqued your interest. You may appear as if you lack interest or curiosity if you do not have one single question to ask of the interviewer.

  • What is your proudest achievement to date?

As with previous questions, this one has no incorrect answer. Some candidates would say that their prior MS degree in mechanical engineering was their proudest achievement. Others will say that starting a family has given them the greatest sense of pride and an enhanced understanding of the human experience. You will also want to discuss why the achievement brought about a sense of pride.

  • What qualities do you think a good nurse should possess?

The answer that you furnish will give the interviewer a sense of your realism or idealism and well as your presupposed views on nurses. I will reiterate that this is another question with no incorrect answer. I personally think that nurses should be smart, intellectually curious, and able to perform under pressure. Then again, that was my opinion. The answer to this question should be completely reflective of your opinions.

  • What would you do if a patient or family member threatened you?

The answer that you furnish will provide the interviewer with a sense of your ability to deal with emotionally-charged situations and think outside the box to address interpersonal conflicts. Preferably, the interviewer will want you to convey your maturity and ability to de-escalate the situation before it boils over.

  • Do you have dependable transportation?

In addition to classroom attendance, students must travel to various clinical practicum sites. Dependable transportation is vital during nursing school. For most of us, this means that you drive a vehicle that is in good condition. A smaller number of people depend on public transportation such as city buses and/or subways.

Hardest Nurse Job Interview Questions and Answeres.

Nurse Job Interview Prep: 1. Why do you want to work for this hospital/organization?

In this nurse interview question, which is often her first, Bryant is looking to find out not only that nurses have taken the time to learn about the organization, but what is particularly attractive to them.  

“Sometimes people won’t have an answer to this question and if other parts of the interview are great, I will still hire them.  But I am looking for people who particularly want to work at this hospital.”

  • What are your values?

“This is one of my newest favorites [among nurse interview questions],” she explained. 

“While there aren’t exactly right and wrong answers to this question, I am looking for someone with values that are either shared by our current team or which will augment our current team. If their values are really different, they wouldn’t enjoy the team any more than we would enjoy working with them.”

Bryant reflected that if the candidate answered this nurse interview question by only mentioning superficial things, it could sway her opinion.  

She also noted that candidates should have the same concerns about what values are promoted and upheld in the workplace of their potential employer.

“I would suggest that candidates ask this question of the people interviewing them, to find out if they think the team is a good fit for them,” she added.  

  • What drew you to the nursing profession?

Some nurse managers might ask this common nursing interview question in place of the one about values, or as a follow-up question. It also gives the candidate the opportunity to tell more of their personal story.

The hardest part about answering this nurse interview question is that you want to be honest, without sounding trite.  “I just want to help people” is a phrase that has been heard too often in nurse job interviews.  

So think about the real motivators in your own life, practice what you want to say, and keep it relatively short. 

  • Tell me about a time when you inadvertently caused conflict?  

These types of nursing interview questions and answers may make some candidates uncomfortable, but they are asked for a purpose.

“I follow this question up with, ‘What would you do differently if you had to do it over?’” Bryant remarked. “A great answer to this question shows self-reflection and a willingness to improve.” 

  • What can you bring to our team?

“I ask this question because it provides them with an opportunity to share their unique strengths that may not have already come up in the interview,” she explained.  

Nurses might want to provide specific examples of how they contributed to their current or previous team as part of their answer.

  • What are your weaknesses?/What is your area of greatest opportunity?

“I actually don’t like this question all that much and only use it when necessary.  It might actually signal to the interviewee that the interview isn’t going that well,” Bryant commented.

But how should you respond if you are asked this question? 

“Of course you want to spin your weakness into a positive and/or show that you are willing to invest in your own self-improvement.”

  • If I called your previous supervisor, what would they tell me about you?

“I get all kinds of good stuff out of this question because applicants know that I can verify their response,” she noted.  “To answer this appropriately you need to be very honest. Hopefully, there are positive things and the supervisor will substantiate that.” 

“But they may have also had a difficult relationship with a prior supervisor and this gives them a chance to speak to that and to explain what steps they did to try to improve the relationship,” Bryant continued. 

  • How would you define a leader?

“This is an important question because all nurses are leaders. Even if they aren’t formally leading their peers, they are advocating for their patients and looking for ways to improve the practice,” she said. “I want to know how a nurse thinks about leadership.”

The worst answers to this nurse interview question, in Bryant’s opinion, would be those that show an attitude that the manager should be fixing all their problems.   

  • What are your career goals? 

“For many nurses, working in med-surg is a starting point—and that is fine.  But I want to know where it is that they want to go. Is there another specialty they are hoping to move to? Are they interested in getting certified, or being involved with the unit or joining professional organizations?” Bryant explained.  

You don’t have to have your entire nursing career goals planned out, but a little thought and self-reflection can help you be ready for these types of nursing interview questions and answers.

  • What questions would you like to ask me/us?

Bryant offered this tip: be prepared to be interviewed not just by the nurse manager, but by other members of the unit. 

“When you meet with other staff nurses, this is a great time to ask questions like how they work together as a team or how many patients they have each shift,” she stated. “You will spend more time with the other staff nurses than the nurse manager so you want to make sure it is a good fit for you.”

Nurse managers and staff will expect that you have done some research, so be prepared with a few relevant questions about the facility, unit and/or job.


Leave a comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More