Single mom...interview tips


I have been away from a nursing career for almost 7 years and am preparing myself to head back to nursing. (Wish me luck...eeek!) I have a lot of preparation to do in order to get my resume up to date and be prepared for the interview process again. I took time off in order to be at home with my kids. Also, my husband at the time was in the military and frequently deployed overseas for long periods of time (which made it difficult to arrange child care for weekend/long shifts with no family in the area). I am now a single mom of 3 small children.

If that discussion comes up in the interview process (why I took time off from nursing), I feel like a follow up question from them would be if my husband is still in the military...which would lead to me revealing that I'm a single mom. I know that it is illegal for them to ask my marital status questions, etc..., but how should I field those questions?

I've never been in a position where I felt like any question was off limits, but I would be terrified if I had to point out that a question was illegal for them to ask (like a red flag that I had something to hide), but I don't know necessarily how to answer it.

That being said, I feel like being a single mom of 3 kids might make an employer worried to hire me because of how "busy" my life as a mom is right now. Should I really try hard not to reveal that I'm a single mom?

Long-term I am hoping to get into case management for a little more flexibility than bedside nursing, but I might have to start off with the home health experience or something similar before I can get my start in case management. So, if I applied for a job with a flexible schedule (maybe even eventual work at home opportunity), I can see the discussion of my parenting coming into play when I discuss why I would like that job.

Just curious if anyone has any tips on how to prepare for these kinds of situations. I'm sure that I'll be posting more and more as I get closer to applying and interviewing. Thanks in advance for any help from those of you that are experienced in this process.

allnurses Guide

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

Personally, I think it best not to make a big deal about it one way or the other. If they ask about the gap in your employment, just say you took time out of your career to raise a family. There is no need to offer any more details. If they seem to want more, just say that you are now at a point at which child care concerns will no longer be an issue and that you are ready not to re-focus on your career. Keep everything positive and assure them that your family needs will not interfere with your ability to meet their scheduling needs. No need for details on your family situation.


16 Posts

Thanks for the advice! I tend to overthink things a little sometimes. :)


3,677 Posts

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.
Thanks for the advice! I tend to overthink things a little sometimes. :)

I think that's easy to do, though. This can be nerve-wracking, and it's good to get input on how to respond to a questions that is pretty much inevitable. I totally agree with llg's reply.

Good luck!!

Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

167 Articles; 2,956 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development. Has 30 years experience.

Do be prepared for Behavioral Interview questions, such as "Tell us about a time (you had a conflict, excelled in a project,etc)" "What is your greatest weakness?" (Don't say I'm a perfectionist- it's overused and disingenuous).

Gaps in employment should be briefly and lightly explained, as above. Keep it positive and move on. Good Luck!! Nurse Beth

ArrowRN, BSN, RN

5 Articles; 1,146 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg, PCU, Travel. Has 9 years experience.

Being honest is the best policy if the inquiry comes up (which it really should not based on discrimination laws), however remember this is a job interview and there really is no need to divulge that much personal information. Its a common mistake made during interviews and even I have been guilty of that. Keep at the back of your mind "how did doing xyz makes me the best candidate for the position". So how does being a single mom translate to being a good nurse and how was your time well spent during the employment gaps...time management, planning got lots of skills you just have to bring it out during the interview.