Interview

17 Nursing Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

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

Nursing assistants provide basic care to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities. They often work under the direction of registered nurses and licensed practical nurses.

If you’re looking for a nursing assistant job, you’ll likely need to go through a job interview. One way to prepare for this important meeting is to learn how to answer nursing assistant interview questions before talking with an interviewer.

Employers look for nursing assistants who are trustworthy, reliable, well organized, and able to solve problems. You’ll also need physical strength and stamina, as well as knowledge of the best ways to clean different facilities and types of equipment. A nursing assistant interview is your chance to show that you’ve polished these skills to a shine. To help you get ready, we’ve listed nursing assistant questions and answers that will help you figure out what you want to say during an interview.

Are you certified as a nursing assistant?

Employers may ask this question to determine if you have the necessary certification for the role. If you are not certified, they may want to know what steps you plan to take to become certified. You can answer honestly about your certification status and explain how you plan to get certified or gain experience in a similar role until you’re able to do so.

Example: “I am not yet certified as a nursing assistant. I’m currently working toward my certification through the American Nursing Assistant Association. Once I complete that course, I will be ready to work in a position like this one.”

What are the most important qualities for a nursing assistant to have?

This question helps the interviewer determine if you have the qualities necessary to succeed in this role. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a few of these qualities and explain why they are important.

Example: “The most important quality for a nursing assistant is compassion. This job requires us to work with patients who may be experiencing pain or other uncomfortable symptoms. Having empathy for them and their situation makes it easier to provide care that meets their needs. Another important quality is patience. Nursing assistants often assist doctors and nurses with more complex procedures. It’s important to remain calm and focused when assisting others so we don’t make mistakes.”

How would you handle a situation where a patient was hostile or upset?

As a nursing assistant, you may encounter patients who are upset or hostile. Employers ask this question to make sure that you have the skills and experience needed to handle these situations calmly and effectively. In your answer, try to show that you can remain calm under pressure while still being empathetic to the patient’s needs.

Example: “I once had a patient who was very upset because they were in pain. They started yelling at me when I tried to give them their medication. I remained calm and explained why we needed to wait until after they took their medication before talking about what was upsetting them. This helped diffuse the situation and allowed us to talk more calmly about how we could help with their pain.”

What is your experience with administering medication?

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you have the skills and experience needed for this role. If you have previous experience administering medication, describe how you did it and what kind of medications you administered. If you do not have any experience, explain that you are willing to learn.

Example: “In my last position as a nursing assistant, I assisted with administering all kinds of medications, including injections, pills and liquids. I am comfortable working with patients who need assistance swallowing their medication or who may be allergic to certain types of medication. I also understand the importance of documenting when and how much medication was given.”

Provide an example of how you have helped a patient with their daily activities.

This question can help the interviewer understand how you apply your skills to benefit patients. You can use examples from previous work experience or describe a time when you helped someone outside of work.

Example: “At my last job, I worked with an elderly patient who had trouble getting out of bed and moving around. She was also hard of hearing, so she couldn’t always hear me when I spoke to her. I would often ask her if she needed anything before I left for the day, and I made sure to speak loudly enough that she could hear me. This helped her feel more comfortable and confident in asking for help if she needed it.”

If a patient needed to be transferred to another area of the facility, how would you prepare them for the move?

This question can help the interviewer assess your ability to work with patients and their families. It also helps them determine how you would handle a situation that could be challenging for some patients, such as being moved from one area of the hospital to another. In your answer, try to show empathy for the patient’s feelings while demonstrating your organizational skills.

Example: “If I needed to move a patient, I would first ask if they had any questions or concerns about the transfer. If not, I would explain what we were going to do before moving them and make sure they felt comfortable during the process. For example, I might offer to hold their hand or arm to provide support.”

What would you do if you noticed another nursing assistant was struggling to perform their duties?

This question can help interviewers determine how you handle conflict and whether you’re willing to speak up when necessary. In your answer, try to show that you value teamwork and are willing to offer assistance to coworkers who need it.

Example: “If I noticed a coworker was struggling with their duties, I would first ask if they needed any help. If they said no, I would continue performing my own tasks while keeping an eye on them to make sure they were okay. If they still seemed overwhelmed after a few minutes, I would approach them again and offer to take over some of their responsibilities so they could focus on the parts of their job they do best.”

How well do you communicate with patients who are unable to speak?

As a nursing assistant, you may be responsible for communicating with patients who are unable to speak. Employers ask this question to make sure that you have experience doing so and can do it effectively. In your answer, explain how you communicate with non-verbal patients. Share an example of when you used communication skills to help someone in their care.

Example: “I am very comfortable speaking with patients who cannot speak. I find that the best way to communicate with them is by using visual cues. For instance, if they want something, I will show them what they need or point to it. If they’re looking for something, I’ll show them where it is. This helps me understand what they’re asking for and gives them some independence.”

Do you have experience working with patients who have dementia or other mental illnesses?

Working with patients who have dementia or other mental illnesses can be challenging, but it’s also an important part of the nursing assistant role. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re prepared for these types of situations and that you know how to handle them. In your answer, explain what steps you take to help patients feel comfortable and safe. Share a specific example if you have one.

Example: “I’ve worked with many patients who have dementia in my previous position as a nursing assistant. I always try to speak slowly and clearly when talking to them so they understand me. If they get upset, I try to calm them down by speaking softly and reassuring them everything is okay. I also encourage family members to visit often so the patient feels more at ease.”

When performing personal care tasks, how do you ensure the patient’s privacy?

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you understand the importance of maintaining a patient’s privacy and dignity. When answering, it can be helpful to mention specific steps you take to ensure privacy while still performing your duties.

Example: “I always make sure to close the door when entering or exiting a room with a patient who needs assistance with personal care tasks. I also try to perform these tasks in private areas whenever possible. If this isn’t possible, I ask for help from another nursing assistant if needed so that we can assist each other with the task. This helps me maintain my patients’ privacy as much as possible.”

We want to improve our staff’s communication skills. Describe a strategy you would use to improve your own communication with a patient.

Communication is an important skill for a nursing assistant to have. It’s vital that you can communicate effectively with patients and other staff members in the hospital. When answering this question, explain how you would improve your communication skills and what steps you would take to do so.

Example: “I think it’s important to listen carefully when communicating with a patient. I would make sure to give them my full attention and ask questions if I didn’t understand something they said. If I was having trouble understanding a patient, I would try to find someone who could translate or help me better understand their language.

Another way I would improve my communication skills is by taking classes on effective communication techniques. I would also practice these techniques with my coworkers and family members. This will allow me to become more comfortable using these strategies and improve my overall communication skills.”

Describe your experience with basic first aid and medical procedures.

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your experience with common medical procedures and how you apply them in a healthcare setting. Use examples from previous work experiences or describe the steps you would take if you were unfamiliar with the procedure.

Example: “I have worked as a nursing assistant for five years, so I am familiar with most basic first aid and medical procedures. However, I always make sure to thoroughly read through any new protocols before implementing them. In my last position, we implemented a new method of administering medication to patients who required assistance swallowing pills. I reviewed the instructions carefully and practiced the process until I was comfortable performing it.”

What makes you an ideal candidate for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their team. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate for this role. Focus on highlighting your soft skills such as communication, teamwork and problem-solving abilities.

Example: “I am passionate about helping others, which is why I chose nursing as a career. Throughout my education, I have learned many techniques to help patients feel comfortable and relaxed. In addition, I am highly organized and detail-oriented, so I always follow protocols and procedures. My ability to communicate effectively with other healthcare professionals also makes me an ideal candidate for this position.”

Which areas of healthcare do you want to focus your career on?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to learn more about your career goals and how they align with their organization. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention specific skills you have that would help you succeed in those areas of healthcare.

Example: “I am passionate about working with patients who are going through cancer treatment because I know how important it is to provide them with compassionate care. In my previous role as a nursing assistant, I assisted a patient who was going through chemotherapy treatments. She told me she felt nervous about her upcoming appointment but after talking with me, she felt much better. Hearing stories like that make me want to continue focusing on providing quality care to people who are going through difficult times.”

What do you think are the most important qualities for a successful team member?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the qualities they look for in their team members. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a few of your own personal qualities and how they relate to those that are important for a successful team member.

Example: “I think one of the most important qualities for a successful team member is being able to communicate effectively with others. I am always sure to listen carefully when someone speaks to me and make sure I understand what they’re saying before responding. Another quality I think is important is having a positive attitude. If everyone on the team has a good attitude, it makes the work environment more enjoyable and productive.”

How often do you perform routine checks on patients?

This question can help the interviewer determine how comfortable you are with performing routine checks on patients. Routine checks include vital signs, blood glucose levels and other important information that helps nurses monitor their patients’ health. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific time when you performed routine checks on a patient and what your findings were.

Example: “I perform routine checks on my patients at least once every two hours. I find that this is usually enough time for me to check all of the vital signs and other information that I need to know about each patient. In my last role as a nursing assistant, I was working in an emergency room where we had to do more frequent checks because of the nature of our work. However, I am confident in my ability to perform these checks regularly.”

There is a high volume of patients to care for, but your team is understaffed. How would you handle the situation?

This question is an opportunity to show your problem-solving skills and ability to work as part of a team. When answering, it can be helpful to describe the steps you would take to solve the issue or how you would communicate with others about the situation.

Example: “In this situation, I would first talk to my manager about the staffing shortage. If there are no other options for additional staff, I would try to help my coworkers by taking on some of their responsibilities so they could focus on caring for patients. This may include helping them complete tasks like cleaning rooms or organizing supplies.”

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