17 Scrub Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

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

A scrub nurse is an operating room nurse who is responsible for sterile instruments and supplies. Scrub nurses also provide direct patient care before, during, and after surgery.

If you’re interested in becoming a scrub nurse, you’ll first need to obtain a nursing degree and obtain a registered nurse (RN) license. Once you have these credentials, you can start applying for jobs. During the job interview process, you can expect to be asked a combination of general nursing questions and scrub nurse-specific questions.

To help you prepare, we’ve put together a list of sample questions and answers. Use these questions and answers as a starting point to develop your own responses.

Are you certified in any surgical procedures?

Scrub nurses often need to be certified in certain surgical procedures. This certification shows that you have the necessary skills and training to perform these procedures safely. If you are not currently certified, explain what steps you would take to get this certification.

Example: “I am not yet certified in any specific surgical procedure. However, I plan on taking a course through my local community college to become certified in CPR and basic life support. Once I complete this course, I will apply for certification with the American Heart Association. After I receive my certification, I will continue to practice these skills regularly so that I can maintain my certification.”

What are some of the most important qualities for a scrub nurse to have?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you possess the qualities they look for in a scrub nurse. 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: “The most important quality for a scrub nurse is compassion. As a scrub nurse, I am often working with patients who are experiencing pain and discomfort. Having empathy and being able to provide comfort to patients can make their experience more positive. Another important quality is communication. Scrub nurses work as part of a team, so it’s important to be able to communicate effectively with other members of the team. Finally, organization is another important quality because there is a lot going on during surgery, and it’s important to stay organized.”

How would you describe the relationship between a surgeon and a scrub nurse?

The interviewer may ask you this question to assess your understanding of the hierarchy in a medical facility and how it affects your work. Your answer should show that you understand the importance of following the surgeon’s instructions while also being able to communicate with them effectively.

Example: “I believe that the relationship between surgeons and scrub nurses is one of mutual respect. Surgeons are responsible for making decisions about patient care, including what procedures they perform and when. As a scrub nurse, I am responsible for ensuring that all surgical instruments are ready before the operation begins and that the operating room is prepared for surgery. This means that I must follow my surgeon’s instructions precisely.”

What is the most important thing that a scrub nurse can do to ensure a successful surgery?

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of the role and how you can contribute to a team’s success. When answering, consider what skills or qualities are most important for a scrub nurse to have in order to ensure a successful surgery.

Example: “The most important thing that I can do as a scrub nurse is communicate with my surgeon and other members of the surgical team. Communication is vital because it allows me to understand the goals of the surgery and ask questions about any concerns I may have. It also helps me know when to step in and assist the surgeon if they need help.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to make a quick decision as a scrub nurse.

Scrub nurses often have to make quick decisions that can affect the outcome of a surgery. Employers ask this question to learn more about your decision-making skills and how you react under pressure. In your answer, explain what steps you take when making important decisions. Share an example of a time when you made a good choice quickly.

Example: “When I am faced with a tough decision as a scrub nurse, I first try to gather all the information I need to make my best decision. If there is no time for research, then I rely on my experience and intuition. For instance, once during a surgery I noticed one of the surgeons was having trouble finding a vein. I told him where it was, and he was able to complete the procedure.”

If a patient started to bleed excessively during a surgery, what would be your immediate reaction?

This question is a behavioral one that tests your ability to respond quickly and effectively in emergency situations. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe the steps you would take to ensure the safety of the patient during an emergency situation.

Example: “If I noticed a patient bleeding excessively during surgery, my first reaction would be to alert the surgeon immediately. Then, I would check for any signs of blood loss or other injuries. If there were no visible signs of injury, I would continue monitoring the patient’s vital signs until the surgeon was able to stop the bleeding.”

What would you do if you noticed that a surgeon was having trouble completing a surgery?

This question can give the interviewer insight into how you work with other medical professionals. Showcase your ability to communicate effectively and respectfully with others by giving an example of a time when you helped another professional solve a problem or complete a task.

Example: “If I noticed that a surgeon was having trouble completing a surgery, I would first ask if they needed help. If they said no, I would continue to monitor their progress and make sure they were comfortable asking for assistance if necessary. In my last role as a scrub nurse, one of our surgeons had difficulty removing a tumor from a patient’s brain. He asked me to assist him in removing the tumor, which we successfully did together.”

How well can you handle stress while working on a surgery team?

Scrub nurses often work in high-pressure environments, so employers ask this question to make sure you can handle the stress of the job. When answering this question, it can be helpful to talk about a time when you worked under pressure and how you managed it.

Example: “I have experience working on surgery teams where we had to perform emergency surgeries. In these situations, I try my best to stay calm and focused while helping my team members. I find that remaining calm helps me think more clearly and react quickly if something goes wrong. By focusing on what I can do rather than worrying about the situation, I am able to help my team as much as possible.”

Do you have any questions for us about the scrub nurse position?

This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you have done some research on their hospital and scrub nurse position. It’s also an opportunity for you to learn more about what it would be like to work at this facility. When preparing for this question, make a list of questions you might ask. Some examples include:

What are the most rewarding aspects of working as a scrub nurse? The reason I became a nurse was because ___________. How does this job fulfill my passion? Example: “I love helping people feel better. The reason I became a nurse was because I wanted to help others in need. This job seems like a great fit because I can use my skills to help patients recover from surgery.”

When performing pre-operative preparations, what items do you typically prepare for the patient?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your knowledge of the pre-operative process and how you apply it in a clinical setting. Use examples from your experience to highlight your attention to detail, organizational skills and ability to work independently.

Example: “In my previous role as a scrub nurse, I prepared for patients by reviewing their medical history, checking their vital signs and administering any necessary medications or treatments. I also ensured that all equipment was ready for use during surgery, including sterile instruments, bandages and other supplies needed for the procedure.”

We want to improve our post-operative care procedures. Describe the steps you would take if a patient started to experience complications after a surgery.

This question is an opportunity to show your problem-solving skills and ability to work as part of a team. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe the steps you would take to identify the issue and implement solutions.

Example: “If I noticed that a patient was experiencing complications after surgery, I would first assess their vital signs and check for any changes in their condition. Then, I would speak with the surgeon about what happened during the procedure and ask them if they had any recommendations on how we could improve our post-operative care procedures. After speaking with the surgeon, I would then meet with my team members to discuss possible solutions and decide which one would be best for the patient.”

Describe your experience with pediatric surgeries.

Scrub nurses often work with pediatric patients, so employers ask this question to make sure you have experience working with children. When answering this question, explain your experience and how it helped you care for the patient.

Example: “I worked in a hospital that specialized in pediatric surgery, so I had plenty of experience caring for young patients. In my role as a scrub nurse, I assisted surgeons during surgeries and monitored patients’ vital signs throughout their procedures. I also taught new scrub nurses about pediatric surgical techniques.”

What makes you an ideal candidate for the scrub nurse 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 the position. Focus on highlighting your most relevant skills and abilities.

Example: “I am passionate about providing quality care to patients. I have worked in several different hospitals throughout my career, and each one has provided me with new opportunities to improve my skills as a nurse. In my last role, I was able to complete a certification program in wound care. This experience helped me develop my knowledge of proper treatment methods for wounds and other injuries.”

Which surgical procedures have you performed as a scrub nurse?

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of experience and skill. It also helps them understand what you’re most comfortable with doing in a healthcare setting. When answering this question, it can be helpful to list several procedures that you’ve performed successfully.

Example: “In my previous role as a scrub nurse, I was responsible for assisting surgeons during many different surgical procedures. Some of these included appendectomies, gallbladder removals, knee replacements and hysterectomies. In my current position, I’m still working toward becoming certified to assist with all types of surgeries. However, I have assisted with more than 20 different types of surgeries since starting here.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of communication between medical professionals during a surgery?

Communication is an important skill for any nurse, but it’s especially crucial during surgeries. The interviewer will want to know that you understand the importance of communication and how to use your skills to ensure effective communication between medical professionals.

Example: “I think the most important aspect of communication during a surgery is clarity. It’s essential that everyone involved in the procedure understands what their role is and what they need to do to help the patient. I’ve seen situations where there was confusion about who needed to perform certain tasks or when something should be done. By ensuring that all members of the team are clear on their roles and responsibilities, we can avoid these kinds of issues.”

How often do you perform post-operative care procedures?

Scrub nurses often perform post-operative care procedures, such as administering medications and changing bandages. The interviewer may ask this question to learn about your experience with these tasks. Use your answer to highlight any specific skills you have that make you a good candidate for the job.

Example: “I’ve performed post-operative care procedures many times throughout my career. I find it helpful to keep track of patients’ progress after surgery by documenting their vital signs and checking in on them regularly. This helps me notice if they’re experiencing any complications or issues so I can address them before they become serious.”

There is a shortage of surgeons available to perform a surgery. How would you convince the team to postpone the surgery until a new surgeon could be found?

This question is a great way to test your leadership skills and ability to make tough decisions. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think of a time you had to convince someone to postpone or cancel an important event.

Example: “I would first try to find another surgeon who could perform the surgery. If I couldn’t find one, I would explain to the patient that we are doing everything in our power to find a new surgeon. I would also let them know that if we didn’t find a surgeon by a certain date, we would have to reschedule their surgery.”


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