17 Nurse Unit Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a nurse unit manager, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Nurse unit managers are responsible for the overall management of a nursing unit within a hospital or other healthcare facility. They plan, direct, and coordinate the delivery of nursing care and services.

If you’re a nurse who is interested in becoming a nurse unit manager, you will need to prepare for a job interview. This guide provides a list of common nurse unit manager interview questions and suggested answers to help you prepare for your interview.

Common Nurse Unit Manager Interview Questions

Are you comfortable working with a team of nurses and other unit staff members?

As a nurse unit manager, you’ll be responsible for managing the staff of nurses and other healthcare professionals on your floor. Interviewers ask this question to make sure you have experience working with others in a leadership role. Use your answer to explain that you enjoy collaborating with others and developing relationships with your team members.

Example: “I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some amazing nurses during my career. I find it very rewarding to help them develop their skills as caregivers and support them through challenging situations. In fact, I would say that I am quite comfortable working with a team of nurses because I know how important teamwork is when providing quality care to patients.”

What are some of the most important qualities that a nurse unit manager should possess?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you possess the qualities they look for in a nurse unit manager. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention some of the skills and traits that are listed on your resume or cover letter. This can show the interviewer that you have these important qualities.

Example: “I believe that one of the most important qualities a nurse unit manager should possess is excellent communication skills. As a nurse unit manager, I would need to communicate with many different people including doctors, patients and other nurses. Being able to clearly convey information and listen to others can help me solve problems more effectively.”

How would you handle a situation where one of your nurses is not complying with safety protocols?

As a nurse unit manager, you need to ensure that your staff is following protocols and procedures. This question allows the interviewer to assess how you would handle a situation where one of your nurses was not complying with safety protocols. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to address this issue and make sure that all members of your team are aware of their responsibilities when it comes to patient care.

Example: “I have worked in several hospitals where we had different levels of compliance among our nursing staff. I find that the best way to approach these situations is by having an open discussion with the nurse who is not adhering to protocol. During my time as a nurse, I learned that there are many reasons why a nurse may be breaking protocol, so I always try to give them the benefit of the doubt. If they continue to break protocol after multiple discussions, then I will consider taking disciplinary action.”

What is your process for evaluating the performance of your nurses on a regular basis?

As a nurse unit manager, you need to be able to evaluate the performance of your staff members. This question allows an interviewer to assess how you would handle this responsibility and whether you have experience doing so. In your answer, describe what steps you take when evaluating nurses’ performance and provide examples of how you’ve done this in the past.

Example: “I believe that regular evaluations are important for helping me understand my team’s strengths and weaknesses. I typically hold quarterly meetings with each member of my nursing staff where we discuss their goals for the next quarter and review their previous work. During these meetings, I also give them feedback on areas they can improve upon and offer support as needed.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to advocate for a patient who was being mistreated by a member of another department.

As a nurse unit manager, you may be responsible for ensuring that your patients receive the best care possible. An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about how you handle conflict and ensure that all members of their team work together effectively. In your answer, try to describe what steps you took to resolve the situation while also emphasizing your commitment to patient care.

Example: “In my previous role as a charge nurse, I had a patient who was experiencing some complications with her treatment plan. She expressed concern to me that she wasn’t receiving adequate care from one of our pharmacists. I immediately spoke with the pharmacist in private and asked them if they were having any challenges providing care to the patient. They told me that they were simply busy and would get back to me when they could provide better service.

I then called a meeting with the entire pharmacy department to discuss the issue. I explained that we need to make sure that every patient receives excellent care regardless of whether or not it’s convenient for us. The pharmacist apologized and assured me that they would do everything they could to improve their performance. After the meeting, I followed up with the patient to let her know that things were resolved.”

If you had to choose one area of nursing that you feel is lacking in the industry right now, what would it be and why?

This question is a great way to show your passion for nursing and how you can improve the industry. When answering this question, it’s important to be honest about what you feel needs improvement in the field of nursing and provide specific examples of how you would implement change.

Example: “I think that one area of nursing that could use some improvement is the communication between nurses and doctors. I’ve worked with many doctors who are very dismissive of nurses’ concerns or questions, which makes it difficult to do our jobs well. If I were an RN unit manager, I would make sure my team was comfortable asking questions and voicing their opinions so we could work together more effectively.”

What would you do if you noticed that two of your nurses were having a conflict that was affecting their work performance?

As a nurse unit manager, you may be responsible for managing conflicts between your staff members. An interviewer asks this question to see how you would handle such situations and ensure that they don’t happen again in the future. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to resolve the conflict and prevent it from happening again.

Example: “If I noticed two of my nurses were having a conflict, I would first try to get both parties together to talk about the issue. If one party refused to meet with the other, I would speak with them privately and ask if there was anything I could do to help resolve the situation. If the conflict continued after these initial steps, I would consider transferring one of the nurses to another department or hospital.”

How well do you handle stress on a daily basis?

Stress is a common part of the nursing profession. Employers ask this question to make sure you can handle stress well and remain calm in stressful situations. In your answer, explain how you manage stress and provide an example of a time when you did so successfully.

Example: “I am able to handle stress quite well. I have been working as a nurse for five years now, and I’ve seen many different types of patients and situations. This experience has helped me learn how to react calmly to most situations. For instance, if a patient was having a difficult time with their pain medication, I would first try to help them understand it better. If that didn’t work, I would find another way to help them feel more comfortable.”

Do you have any experience using staffing software to manage your team’s schedules and assignments?

Nurse unit managers often use software to manage their teams’ schedules and assignments. This question helps the interviewer determine if you have experience using this type of software, which can help them understand your level of expertise with it. If you do not have any experience using staffing software, consider asking about what kind they use in their facility so that you can learn more about it before your interview.

Example: “I have used several different types of scheduling software throughout my career as a nurse unit manager. I find that each system has its own unique benefits, but I prefer systems that allow me to easily communicate with my team members and create detailed schedules for them. I also like systems that make it easy to assign tasks to specific staff members based on their skills and preferences.”

When evaluating your team’s performance, how do you factor patient satisfaction into your assessment?

The interviewer may ask you a question like this to assess your leadership style and how it affects the team’s performance. Use examples from past experiences where you used patient satisfaction as an indicator of success.

Example: “I believe that patient satisfaction is one of the most important factors in determining whether or not my team has been successful. I always make sure that my nurses are providing excellent care, which leads to positive feedback from patients. In my last role, we had a goal of achieving a 90% patient satisfaction rating, and our unit consistently met or exceeded that goal.”

We want to improve our infection control procedures. What would you do to start improving our current practices?

Infection control is a vital part of the nursing profession. Employers ask this question to see if you have experience with infection control procedures and how you would implement them into their unit. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to improve the current practices in place at the hospital.

Example: “I think it’s important for all nurses to practice good hand hygiene when entering and exiting patient rooms. I would start by making sure that everyone understands why hand washing is so important. Then, I would make sure there are enough supplies available for everyone to wash their hands before entering a room and after leaving. I would also encourage patients to help us by reminding us when we forget to wash our hands.”

Describe your process for ensuring that your team is trained on the most up-to-date safety and patient care procedures.

As a nurse unit manager, you’ll be responsible for ensuring that your team is trained on the most up-to-date safety and patient care procedures. This includes training them on new technology or equipment as well as how to use it properly. Your interviewer will want to know that you have a process in place for making sure everyone on your team has access to this information and understands its importance.

Example: “I believe that ongoing education is essential to providing quality care to our patients. I make sure my staff knows they can come to me with questions about any aspect of their job, including learning new skills or techniques. I also hold regular meetings where we discuss important changes to hospital policy or procedure. These are great opportunities to reinforce the need for compliance.”

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications for the role. They want to know what makes you a good fit for their organization and how you can contribute to its success. Before your interview, make a list of all your skills and experiences that relate to the job description. Choose two or three things from your list to share with the interviewer.

Example: “I am passionate about patient care and committed to providing quality service. I have extensive experience managing teams of nurses and helping them develop their skills. In my previous position, I helped train new hires and developed an online training program for current staff members. This helped our team become more efficient and productive.”

Which nursing management software programs are you familiar with?

The interviewer may ask this question to determine your level of experience with nursing management software programs. If you have used a specific program in the past, share what you liked about it and how it helped you manage your team. If you haven’t worked with any particular software before, you can explain that you are open to learning new systems.

Example: “I’ve worked with several different types of nursing management software over my career. I find that each system has its own benefits, so I like to use whichever one is most effective for the situation. For example, I prefer using an online scheduling program because it allows me to see everyone’s schedule at once and make changes as needed. However, I also enjoy using a more traditional paper-based charting system when I need to keep track of patient information.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of a nurse unit manager’s job?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you understand what’s expected of a nurse unit manager. It also gives you the chance to talk about your own priorities as a manager and how they align with those of the hospital or clinic.

Example: “I think the most important aspect of being a nurse unit manager is ensuring that all staff members are supported in their work. I believe it’s essential for nurses to feel comfortable asking questions, sharing concerns and seeking advice from their managers. In my last role, I made sure to hold weekly meetings where I answered any questions my team had and encouraged them to share feedback on our processes. This helped me learn more about what was going well and what we could improve.”

How often should a nurse unit manager evaluate their team’s performance?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your leadership style and how you evaluate the performance of others. In your answer, explain that it depends on the type of work your team is doing and what goals they have set for themselves. You can also mention that you typically conduct formal evaluations every six months or once a year depending on the organization’s policies.

Example: “I believe that regular feedback is important in helping employees improve their skills and learn more about their strengths and weaknesses. I usually conduct informal check-ins with my team members at least once a month to see how they are feeling and if there is anything I can do to help them. For formal evaluations, I like to wait until we have completed our annual goals so I can see how well everyone performed over the course of a full year.”

There is a nurse on your team who consistently misses deadlines, refuses to comply with safety protocols and mistreats patients. What do you do?

An interviewer may ask this question to assess your leadership skills and how you would handle a challenging situation. In your answer, try to show that you can be firm but fair when addressing the issue with the nurse while also ensuring patient safety remains a top priority.

Example: “I would first meet with the nurse in private to discuss my concerns about their performance. I would explain why these behaviors are unacceptable and give them an opportunity to improve. If they do not comply after our meeting, I would document the incident and inform my supervisor so we could take further action.”


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