17 Registered Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

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

Registered nurses are the backbone of the U.S. healthcare system. They work in a variety of settings, from hospitals to clinics to schools, and provide care to patients of all ages. In order to become a registered nurse, you need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

Once you’re a registered nurse, the next step is finding a job. Nursing job interviews can be daunting, but with the right preparation, you can feel confident when talking to potential employers. In this article, we’ll provide you with a list of common registered nurse interview questions and answers. We’ll also provide tips on how to dress for your interview, what to bring, and how to follow up after the meeting.

Are you certified as a registered nurse?

Employers may ask this question to determine if you have the necessary qualifications for the job. If you are not certified, they might want to know what steps you plan on taking to become certified. If you are already certified, they might want to know how long you’ve been practicing as a registered nurse.

Example: “I am currently working toward my certification as a registered nurse. I started school last year and should be finished by next summer. I understand that it’s important to be certified in order to work at your facility, so I’m making sure to finish my studies as quickly as possible.”

What are the most important qualities for a registered nurse to have?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you have the qualities necessary for success 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 registered nurse is compassion. This job requires us to care for patients who may be experiencing pain or other difficult situations. Having empathy allows us to better understand our patients’ needs and provide them with the best care possible. Another important quality is communication. Registered nurses must be able to clearly communicate their instructions to other members of the healthcare team. This helps ensure that everyone understands what they need to do to help the patient.”

How would you describe the work environment here?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you better and understand what your expectations are for the workplace. It’s important to be honest, but also consider how you would respond if you were already employed at this facility.

Example: “I’ve heard great things about this hospital from my friends who work here, so I’m excited to see it for myself. From what I’ve read online, it seems like a friendly place with plenty of opportunities for advancement. The staff is very supportive of one another, which makes me feel confident that I’ll fit in well.”

What is your greatest accomplishment as a registered nurse so far?

This question is a great way to learn more about the candidate’s experience and skills. It also helps employers determine if you are proud of your work, which can be an indicator of how you will perform in their facility. When answering this question, it can be helpful to choose an accomplishment that relates to the job description or one that shows you have ambition for growth.

Example: “My greatest accomplishment as a registered nurse so far was when I helped my patient overcome a lifelong fear of needles by talking with them and explaining what they were feeling during their treatment. They had been afraid of needles since childhood, but after our conversation, they felt comfortable enough to get their flu shot without any anxiety.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to provide compassionate care to a patient.

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you have empathy and can care for patients who are experiencing challenging situations. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a specific situation where you helped a patient feel more comfortable or supported them through a difficult time.

Example: “When I was working in the emergency room, I had a patient come in with a serious injury. The patient’s family members were very upset because they didn’t know what was going on. I spoke with the family members and explained everything we knew about the patient’s condition and treatment plan. I also told them that we would do everything we could to help their loved one recover.”

If a patient was unhappy with the care you provided, how would you handle the situation?

This question can help interviewers understand how you respond to challenges and learn from your mistakes. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific situation in which you responded well to a patient’s concerns or complaints.

Example: “If a patient was unhappy with the care I provided, I would first apologize for my mistake and ask what I could do to make things right. If they wanted me to explain more about their diagnosis or treatment plan, I would gladly provide them with additional information. In this situation, I would also ensure that all of their questions were answered before leaving the room.”

What would you do if you were assigned to care for a patient you don’t like?

This question is designed to test your interpersonal skills and ability to work with a variety of patients. It also shows the interviewer how you handle conflict. In your answer, try to show that you can be professional while still maintaining your personal opinions about the patient.

Example: “I would first talk to my manager or another nurse who has worked with this patient before. I would ask them what they like about the patient and if there are any ways I could make their stay more comfortable. If I still didn’t feel comfortable caring for the patient after speaking with others, I would let my manager know so they could find someone else to take over care.”

How well do you work under pressure? Can you handle emergency situations?

Registered nurses often work in emergency situations, so employers ask this question to make sure you can handle the pressure. When answering this question, explain how you stay calm and focused when working under pressure. You can also mention any specific experiences you’ve had with handling high-pressure situations.

Example: “I am very good at remaining calm and focused during stressful situations. I have worked as a nurse for many years now, so I’m used to dealing with emergencies. In my last position, I was on call overnight when an emergency situation occurred. The hospital was short-staffed that night, but I stayed calm and helped all of the patients who needed care.”

Do you have any experience administering injections?

This question is a good way for the interviewer to assess your experience with administering injections and how comfortable you are doing so. If you have no experience, it’s important to explain that you’re willing to learn. If you do have experience, you can describe what types of injections you’ve administered in the past.

Example: “I haven’t had any experience administering injections, but I’m very open to learning. In my previous role as a registered nurse, I was responsible for administering IVs, which requires some knowledge of administering injections. I would be happy to take additional training if necessary.”

When caring for a patient, what is your process for documenting your observations?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you prioritize your work and document important information. Your answer should show that you are organized, detail-oriented and able to manage multiple tasks at once.

Example: “I find it helpful to use a patient’s medical record as a way to keep track of my observations throughout the day. I write down any changes in their condition or behavior so I can refer back to them later. This helps me ensure I’m documenting all relevant information about the patient’s health and care plan.”

We want to improve our care for patients with dementia. Do you have any suggestions?

Registered nurses often work with patients who have dementia. This question allows you to show your knowledge of the field and how you can improve care for these patients. In your answer, explain what you would do differently than current practices.

Example: “I think it’s important to remember that even though a patient has dementia, they are still a person. I would try to make sure that all my interactions with them were positive. For example, if I needed to change their schedule or routine, I would let them know ahead of time so they could prepare themselves. I would also encourage other staff members to treat them like any other patient.”

Describe your process for handling conflict within a team.

Registered nurses often work in teams, so employers ask this question to make sure you can collaborate with others. When answering this question, it’s important to show that you’re willing to compromise and communicate effectively with your team members.

Example: “I believe conflict is a natural part of working in a team environment. In my experience, the best way to handle conflict is by communicating openly and honestly with the other person. I try to avoid making assumptions about what someone else thinks or feels, and instead focus on expressing my own thoughts and feelings as clearly as possible. This helps me resolve conflicts quickly and maintain positive relationships with my colleagues.”

What makes you stand out from other candidates?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their team. When answering, it’s important to highlight a skill or experience that makes you unique from other candidates. You may also want to mention something that relates to the job description.

Example: “I have extensive knowledge of medical terminology, which I learned through my previous role as an instructor at a community college. This skill has helped me communicate with patients who are unable to understand what their doctors are saying. It has also helped me work with other healthcare professionals when providing care for patients.”

Which nursing specialty are you most interested in pursuing?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to learn more about your career goals and how you plan to achieve them. It’s also an opportunity for you to share any research or experience you have in that specialty with the interviewer.

Example: “I’ve always been interested in working as a neonatal intensive care nurse, but I’m open to exploring other specialties as well. In my last role, I shadowed several different nurses on their shifts to get a better idea of what each specialty entails. I found that I really enjoy caring for newborns and helping parents through this important time in their lives.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of a patient’s recovery?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you understand what it takes for a patient to recover from their illness or injury. It also gives them insight into your values and beliefs about healthcare. When answering this question, consider how each of these aspects relates to the role of a registered nurse.

Example: “I believe that the most important aspect of a patient’s recovery is their mental health. If they are in pain or worried about their situation, then it can be difficult for them to focus on getting better. I always make sure to talk with my patients about their concerns and offer reassurance when needed. This helps them feel more comfortable and confident in their treatment plan.”

How often do you perform physical assessments on your patients?

This question can help the interviewer determine how comfortable you are with physical assessments and if you have experience performing them. You can answer this question by explaining your comfort level with doing physical assessments, what types of assessments you perform and any training or certification you may have in performing assessments.

Example: “I am very comfortable performing physical assessments on my patients because I do it regularly during my workday. In fact, I find that performing physical assessments is one of my favorite parts of being a registered nurse because I get to learn more about my patient’s health and progress throughout their treatment. I perform basic vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature and pulse rate at least once per shift. I also perform range-of-motion exercises for each major joint and muscle group to assess mobility and flexibility.”

There is a new treatment for a disease you’ve been seeing a lot of. How do you approach it?

This question is a great way to see how you approach new information and apply it in your work. It also shows the interviewer that you are open-minded and willing to learn. When answering this question, make sure to show that you are eager to try new things and adapt quickly.

Example: “I am always excited when I hear about new treatments for diseases because it means we’re making progress as healthcare professionals. In my last role, there was a new treatment for a disease that had been affecting many patients. I was happy to learn more about the treatment and implement it into my care plan with the patient. The patient responded well to the treatment and was able to leave the hospital sooner than expected.”


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