17 Per Diem Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

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

As a per diem nurse, you fill in the gaps in healthcare staffing. You work on an as-needed basis, which gives you the freedom to choose your own hours and work at multiple facilities. This flexibility is one of the reasons many nurses choose to work as per diem nurses.

Before you can start working, you’ll need to go through the interview process. You may be asked a combination of general nursing interview questions and questions specific to per diem nursing. This guide will give you an overview of both types of questions and provide sample answers to help you prepare for your interview.

Are you comfortable working in a fast-paced environment where you may need to prioritize patients and tasks?

Per diem nurses often work in a fast-paced environment, and employers ask this question to make sure you are comfortable with that. They want someone who can adapt quickly to changing situations and prioritize tasks effectively. In your answer, explain how you stay organized and focused under pressure.

Example: “I am definitely comfortable working in a fast-paced environment. I have experience working as a per diem nurse for the past three years, so I’m used to adapting to different situations and prioritizing my tasks. When I first started out as a per diem nurse, I was nervous about being able to handle it, but now I feel confident in my ability to multitask and manage patients’ needs.”

What are some of the most important skills for a per diem nurse to have?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills necessary to succeed in this role. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a few of your strongest skills and how they relate to the position.

Example: “The most important skill for me as a per diem nurse is my ability to communicate effectively with patients and other medical professionals. I find that being able to clearly explain what’s happening to patients and their families helps them feel more at ease. It also allows me to get feedback from patients about their care so I can make sure I’m providing excellent service. Another important skill is my attention to detail. As a per diem nurse, I work with many different doctors and nurses, so it’s important that I pay close attention to all of the information I receive.”

How would you handle a situation where you disagreed with a physician about a patient’s care?

As a per diem nurse, you may work with many different physicians. It’s important to be able to communicate effectively and respectfully when there is a disagreement about patient care. A hiring manager will want to know that you can handle disagreements professionally while still providing quality care for their patients.

Example: “I would first try to understand the physician’s reasoning behind their decision. I believe it’s important to respect my colleagues and their opinions. If I still disagreed with them after understanding their point of view, I would explain why I thought my plan was better for the patient. I would also offer to find another qualified professional who could provide an alternative opinion on the matter.”

What is your process for keeping track of all of your patients and their needs?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you have a system for organizing your work and keeping track of all your patients. It’s important to be organized as a per diem nurse because you may need to quickly find information about a patient or their medical history when they’re in distress.

Example: “I use several different methods to keep track of my patients, including electronic health records and paper charts. I also rely on my memory to remember key details about each patient, such as their allergies or medications. When I’m working with a new patient, I take notes during our initial meeting so I can refer back to them later.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to perform a complex procedure on a patient.

This question is an opportunity to show your ability to perform complex procedures and how you can handle pressure. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a time when you had to perform a procedure that was new to you or one that required more attention than usual.

Example: “When I first started working as a per diem nurse, I was assigned to work with a patient who needed a specific type of IV medication. This medication was different from the ones I usually administered, so I spent extra time researching the best way to administer it. After speaking with my supervisor about the medication, they helped me develop a plan for administering the medication. By taking the time to learn about the medication before starting my shift, I was able to successfully administer the medication without any issues.”

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

This question can help interviewers understand how you interact with patients and their families. It also helps them determine if you have experience transferring patients to other facilities. When answering this question, try to describe a specific situation where you transferred a patient to another facility.

Example: “When I was working in the emergency room, we had a few instances where we needed to transfer patients to different hospitals. In these situations, I always made sure to explain the process of transferring the patient to their new facility. I would also let the family know that I would be there for support during the entire process. If possible, I would even accompany the patient on the ambulance ride.”

What would you do if you noticed another nurse making a mistake while caring for a patient?

This question can help interviewers understand how you work with others and your ability to communicate. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific situation in which you noticed a mistake and helped the nurse correct it or informed them of their error so they could fix it.

Example: “When I was working as a per diem nurse at a hospital, one of my coworkers accidentally gave a patient the wrong medication. I immediately told her what happened and she fixed the issue before the patient noticed. She thanked me for helping her avoid any problems.”

How well do you work under pressure?

Per diem nurses often work under pressure. They may have to care for multiple patients at once, and they must be able to prioritize their tasks effectively. An interviewer asks this question to determine how well you can handle stress. In your answer, explain that you are a highly organized person who is good at multitasking. You should also mention that you enjoy working in high-pressure environments.

Example: “I am very organized, so I always know what my next task is. This helps me stay on top of things even when the unit gets busy. I love being part of a team where everyone has different responsibilities. It’s fun to see how we all come together to provide excellent patient care. I thrive in high-pressure situations because I’m confident in my abilities as a nurse.”

Do you have experience administering IVs?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to assess your experience with administering IVs. If you have previous experience, describe how comfortable you are and what types of IVs you administer. If you don’t have any experience, explain that you’re willing to learn.

Example: “I’ve administered IVs in my previous positions as a per diem nurse. I’m very comfortable with administering peripheral IVs and central IVs. In fact, I find it quite enjoyable when patients need assistance with their IVs because it gives me an opportunity to help them feel better.”

When caring for children, how do you make sure to maintain their dignity?

When working with children, it’s important to maintain their dignity and respect them as individuals. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills necessary to care for young patients. In your answer, explain how you treat all of your patients with kindness and compassion. Explain that you understand each child is unique and has different needs.

Example: “I always try my best to keep a positive attitude when I’m caring for children. When they see me smiling, they often smile too. I also make sure to speak in a calm voice so they feel safe. I want them to know that I am there to help them and support them through whatever procedure we are doing.

When preparing for procedures, I let the parents know what I plan on doing. I also give the kids an opportunity to ask questions. This helps them feel more comfortable and confident about what we are going to do.”

We want to ensure that our patients feel comfortable around our nurses. How would you make a patient feel at ease?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your interpersonal skills and ability to connect with patients. Use examples from past experiences where you helped a patient feel more comfortable or relaxed during their treatment.

Example: “I find that the best way to make a patient feel at ease is by being friendly and compassionate. I try to greet them with a smile, introduce myself and learn their name. If they’re nervous about their procedure, I let them know that everything will be okay and that I’ll be there for them every step of the way. This helps put them at ease and makes them feel like they can trust me.”

Describe your experience with surgical procedures.

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience with a specific type of surgery. You can use this opportunity to describe any previous experience you have and how it helped you develop the skills needed for per diem nursing.

Example: “I worked as a surgical nurse for three years, so I am very familiar with all types of procedures. In my last position, I assisted surgeons in performing many different surgeries, including emergency operations, cancer treatments and orthopedic procedures. This experience taught me how to work well under pressure and gave me valuable insight into what patients are experiencing during their procedures.”

What makes you an ideal candidate to work as a per diem nurse for our facility?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you have done your research on their facility and are qualified for the position. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a few specific things about the hospital or clinic that make it unique from other facilities in the area.

Example: “I am passionate about working with children, which is why I chose to become a pediatric nurse. Your facility has a great reputation for providing excellent care to young patients, which makes me excited to work here. In my experience as a per diem nurse, I’ve learned how important it is to find a job where you feel like you’re making a difference in people’s lives.”

Which computer programs or software have you used to complete patient records?

The interviewer may ask this question to determine your computer skills and how comfortable you are using technology. If the hospital uses a specific program, let them know that you have experience with it. You can also mention any other programs or software you’ve used in the past.

Example: “I am familiar with several different software programs for patient records, including Meditech, Cerner and Epic. I find these programs easy to use because they’re so similar to each other. In my previous position, we used Epic, which is one of the most popular systems out there. It’s definitely something I’m comfortable using.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of patient care?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to assess your priorities and values as a nurse. It also helps them understand how you would approach patient care on their unit. When answering this question, it can be helpful to refer back to something that was mentioned in the job description or what you learned about the hospital during your research.

Example: “I think the most important aspect of patient care is communication. I believe that if patients feel comfortable talking with their nurses and doctors, they are more likely to ask questions and share information that will help us provide better care. In my last position, I worked with a patient who had some anxiety around medical procedures. We talked through her concerns and developed a plan where she could practice breathing techniques before her procedure so she felt more prepared.”

How often have you cared for patients of different cultures and backgrounds?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience working with patients of different backgrounds. This can be an important skill for per diem nurses, as they often work with a variety of patients and their families who speak different languages or have unique cultural practices. In your answer, try to describe how you’ve worked with diverse populations in the past and what challenges you might expect if hired for this role.

Example: “In my previous position, I cared for patients from many different cultures and backgrounds. Some of these included Spanish-speaking patients, patients whose primary language was Mandarin Chinese and patients who had unique religious beliefs. It’s important to me that all patients feel comfortable when they’re receiving care, so I always make sure to introduce myself and explain procedures before starting treatment.”

There is a high volume of patients on your schedule and you are feeling overwhelmed. How do you stay calm?

This question is an opportunity to show your ability to prioritize tasks and manage time. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific situation where you were overwhelmed but managed to stay calm and focused on the task at hand.

Example: “When I was working in the emergency room, there would be times when we had more patients than nurses available. In these situations, I would focus on my current patient and make sure they received all of their care needs before moving onto the next patient. This helped me feel less overwhelmed because I could take care of one patient at a time without feeling rushed.”


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