First Nursing Job-Interview Questions

  1. Hi!
    I will be graduating in May, but anticipate sending out my resume (which I am still working on) and going out on job interviews soon.
    I already am prepared to askabout the following (Mandatory overtime, shift rotation, salaray, benefits, tuition reimbursement, loan repayment?) but what ELSE should I find out?

    Also, what are they going to ask ME?
    What questions should I go in prepared to answer?


  2. Visit MelissaCT profile page

    About MelissaCT

    Joined: Jan '02; Posts: 134; Likes: 3
    Family Nurse Practitioner
    Specialty: 7 year(s) of experience in L&D, Ambulatory Care


  3. by   TracyB,RN
    Ask about staffing ratios. I bet they would be stammering if you asked to see it in writing.
    Be prepared to answer questions like this; "name your 3 strengths & weaknesses, use 3 adjectives that you or your coworkers would use to describe you, what are your hobbies/interests outside of nursing, where do you see yourself in 5 years" and since you will be a new grad be prepared to answer a question or 2 about delegating & "What would you do if . . ." The last one is usually something that needs prompt attention, like s/s of CVA, low blood sugar, hemorrhage, etc.

    Ask what kind of orientation is available. 4-6 weeks for a new grad is BAD BAD BAD!!!! Ask what the policy is on floating to other units, are peds staff cross trained for mother baby.

  4. by   Agnus
    I was asked to name a per peeve. Be careful with this one remember to turn it into a positive. Same when they as you to name a weakness.
    You may be given senerios and asked how you would handle them (especially prioritzing)
    You may be asked why you want to work at that particular hospital. I was asked why I wanted to be a nurse.
    You may be asked about organizational skills and how many padtients you can handle. or have handled.
    You may be asked about plans for further education.
    Asked if you know anyone who works there. (they'll question that person about you)
    you mlay be asked about particular skills.
    I was asked how they would know that I was going to be around for the long haul and was not just using them for a stepping stone.
  5. by   sleepyhead
    I just recently interviewed for a job and here are some tips based on what they asked me:
    Be prepared to be asked how you would handle difficult situations, as well as give examples of how you have handled them in the past. How would you handle a difficult patient and/or patient's family situation. How would you handle conflict with a co-worker and how have you handled it in the past? What are some of your own personal achievements? How have you been able to make a difference in a patient's treatment outcomes (including when you were in school).

    Some questions to ask are nurse-patient ratio, how scheduling works, type of patients that you will care for, uniform, weekends/holidays you are required to work, types of support staff, how you will be able to participate in unit committees/activities/government. What are the goals of the unit/hospital and what are they doing to better patient care (retention and retainment, research, quality improvement). Just some ideas. Of course when the time comes you'll think of all the good responses after the interview is over and you're on your way home! Just be yourself. I think it is best to be genuine and be sincere about your interest to learn and improve your nursing skills.
  6. by   MelissaCT
    Thank you so far for the responses about the job interview!

    Is it normal as a soon to be graduate, to have feelings of:
    1) Am I smart enough to cut it as a nurse?
    2) Will I know what to do
    3) Will I be able to function independently, ETC.

    I have done an internship in addition to my clinicals, and worked as a nursing assistant, but really, I have no experience doing anything absolutely independently, and I am freaked out about it!
    I know as a new nurse I will be working with someone , but I afraid because when I was trained to be a nursing assistant, the training was horrible. The stuff I was supposed to learn on orientation didn't happen (e.g. no one needed a urine specimen collected, no one needed an enema, ETC). so I was TOLD how/what to do but not shown, and didn't get to do it on my own. So I didn't learn it.

    When I was off of orientation, it came up and I didn't know how to do it. So I had to ask to be reshown, and I felt like I was stupid and I felt like I was wasting that person's time.
    I hope this doesn't happen to me when I'm a nurse!

  7. by   Arwen
    Melissa, all those feelings are absolutely normal! When you start working don't worry about feeling stupid when you need to ask for help. If you haven't actually performed a skill before, be honest, and just say "I never had the opportunity to do this on my own before...would you mind observing me and giving me some pointers?" Yes, its a bit scary and humbling being the newbie, but you'll get through it just fine and before you know it, you will be the pro!
  8. by   Scarlette
    Hey Melissa! Congrats on the upcoming graduation. I'm a new nurse, been on the job just over 3 months. Everyone pretty much summed up what I was asked in the interviews. I was also asked who inspired me and why, what job I hated the most and why, and what job I liked the most and why. I was scared to death starting off, especially the first day I was off orientation. To be totally honest, I'm still scared/nervous when I drive off to work. I wonder how long that feeling will last??? I also feel stupid asking certain questions but it's better to ask and find out the answers than guess about something. Anyway, congratulations and good luck on your board exam!
  9. by   grouchy
    Melissa, your fears are normal, and everyone has them. I think that given your background you are probably better prepared than you think. You learn alot about time management, prioritizing, patient interaction, and the hospital routine as a clinical tech. Don't worry about bonuses, etc. Concentrate on finding a unit with a good number of longterm staff. Not a unit where almost everyone on your shift is a new grad or traveler. No offense to travelers, but I think a core group of long-term employees can better mentor a new grad after orientation. Try to get a sense of how many unfilled openings exist. I'd maybe avoid a unit that has just gotten a new manager- sometimes long-term staff are unhappy with the changes, and their unhappiness can affect you. A unit with access to a clinical nurse specialist is a definite plus. I planned on med-surg as a new grad, but took a position on an oncology unit that offered lots of interesting training. It was tough, but worth it. The ongoing inservices, training for certification, etc was a great motivator, and helped retain a high-calibre core of nurses. Start asking your fellow students, and nurses at your clinical rotations now which places they reccommend. Nursing Spectrum magazine has had some good articles on interviewing, and on resumes for new grads- you may be able to find some archived at their website:
  10. by   colleen10
    Hi Melissa,

    I am not a nurse yet, just starting pre-req. courses next week but I have 2 years of HR/Recruiting experience under my belt. My advice to you is to check out a website like They have a virtual interview that I have found to be really good. You can select a general career field ie. education, business, healthcare and they tailor the questions to the particular field. They won't be very specific to nursing but will help you with the more general questions like "What are your strengths, weaknesses" "Tell me about yourself", etc.

    I think the questions you have are excellent but you may want to ask some more insightful questions like what they feel are the greatest challenges that particular unit is facing, What are their short term, long term goals, etc. This shows that you are concerned with how you can fit into the their general scheme of things and that it's not just up to them to offer you a job. You want to be sure that you will fit too. Also, most interviewers don't anticipate these types of questions and you will get some pretty interesting answers. Sometimes judging by their reaction and answers you can also tell if they are lying to you.

    If you start to get nervous, please remember this one important thing....... And I'm not kidding.....................About 90% of all people that interview prospective employees have no idea what they are doing. They don't know what questions to ask, they are as nervous as you are, and you will probably find that they will spend most of the time talking rather than allow you to discuss your abilities. This is important to keep in mind because a lot of the time the interviewer will go on a tangent or discuss a topic that has nothing to do with you, the job, or your abilities. You need to ever so gently keep them on track so that at the end of the interview they know exactly what a great nurse you are.

    Take care and good luck!
  11. by   Stargazer
    Is it normal as a soon to be graduate, to have feelings of:
    1) Am I smart enough to cut it as a nurse?
    2) Will I know what to do
    3) Will I be able to function independently, ETC.

    A good preceptor will make all the difference in the world. You need someone who will gently push you to be independent but won't just drop you in the deep end without support. If your preceptor scares you, humiliates you, or abandons you--and this person will be the exception rather than the rule--you need to hash it out and let him/her know that your learning needs aren't being met. If all else fails, ask for another (or an additional) preceptor to help fill in the blanks.

    One thing I found enormously helpful in my last semester of school was to make a list of all the procedures I still needed to do at least once--put in a foley, drop an NG, hang blood, work with central lines, irrigate an 'ostomy, etc. etc. --and give it to my preceptor with a copy for the nursing station. That way the whole nursing staff was on the lookout for procedures to give me, and I crossed every single item off that list before I graduated. Besides the experience, seeing that completed list gives you a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and a big shot of confidence. Good luck! You''ll be fine.