Nursing Interview tips

Once you've successfully secured an interview at the location of your choosing, you will need to prepare for your interview. Interviewing for a nursing job is widely the same as any other interview, but a nurse-to-be has to keep in mind a few extra things:

  • Explain past experience and how it is relevant.
  • Emphasize your team and communication skills.
  • Give examples.
  • Be prepared for situational questions.
  • Ask about patient load/staffing.
  • Do not ask about vacation time or student loan payoff.
  • Show why you are unique.
  • Mention plans for continuing education.

Explain past experience and how it is relevant

What most interviewers are looking for in a nursing candidate is experience. It is for this reason that you should have many examples of past work, preferably typed onto a sheet of paper so you don't lose track, to share with your interviewer.

After you explain where you used to work, tell your interviewer how that work will help you in your work at his/her company.

Emphasize your team and communication skills

Nearly the entire work day for a nurse is spent dealing with patients or other personnel working at the company. When interviewing for a nursing job, be sure to emphasize the skills you have gained that deal with communication and being a team player.

The best way to do this is to give examples. Talk about problem patients you may have had in the past as well as conflicts with coworkers that you successfully resolved.

Be prepared for situational questions

When interviewing for a nursing job, situational questions will undoubtedly come up. For example, your interviewer may give you a situation in which a patient is refusing to take his or her medication. You would then have to describe your solution to the problem and your reasoning. This is an effective way for interviewers to see your problem solving skills in action and to test your feelings on ethical issues.

Ask about patient load/staffing

You definitely want to find out how many patients you will be responsible for per shift. Follow that question with a question about how many nurses you will be working with. It will be important for you when you finally decide where it is you want to work. You basically want to find out the overall flow of the company.

Do not ask about vacation time or student loan payoff

These are things that can be discussed after you get the job. Your interview should focus on you, your strengths, and your skills; anything else can be worried about later.

Show why you are unique

Chances are that you will be one of many prospective nurses interviewing for the nursing job. Before your interview, take time to brainstorm some things that make you unique. Think about past experience you might have had, including volunteer work.

Mention plans for continuing education

If you plan on earning a higher degree, say so. Interviewers will see this as ambition and drive to be better and will see you in a much more positive light.

Finally, be honest. Don't be superficial, and don't tell them things because you think they want to hear them. If you've taken nursing exams, such as the NET or TEAS, these scores may also be brought up in the interview.

Good luck!