Nursing Interview Tips

Whether you're a recent nursing school graduate, or an experienced nurse looking to move ahead in your career, you cannot underestimate the importance of your nursing job interview. It is the most important aspect of your job hunt. Below are some helpful nursing interview tips for recent nursing school grads and experienced nurses alike.

Pre-Interview Prep
The first items you should have ready are your credentials. The credentials you absolutely need for your nursing job interview are as follows:


  • A copy of your complete resume. Be sure to proofread for any mistakes.
  • Copies of your nursing license or, if you have them, a copy of your notice of passing board scores.
  • Two copies of a complete, typed list of all references and previous managers. You will need one copy for the HR department and one for the hiring manager. Be sure to include their complete names, titles, current addresses and telephone numbers.
  • You may be asked to give permission for a criminal background check. Be sure to have a list of your addresses from the previous five to seven years.
  • You may also want to bring along a copy of your recent cumulative grade report to show that you are not at risk for failing the licensing exam.
Prepare in Advance for Interview Questions
Below is a list of standard nursing interview questions you should be prepared to answer.
  • How would you describe your skills as a team player?
  • How will you deal with difficult doctors?
  • How will you deal with difficult patients and/or their families?
  • How will you handle unexpected circumstances, such as being short staffed and having to perform a treatment you have not done before?
You should also practice answering the tough nursing interview questions ahead of time.
  • If you are a recent nursing graduate, you should be prepared to explain to your interviewer what qualities you possess that will help you get up to speed quickly with the demands of your new unit.
  • You should be prepared to answer questions regarding any negative experiences you've had in the work place, what you learned from them, and how you would use those experiences in a positive way in your new position.
Have a list of your own interview questions to ask your interviewer.
Below are some examples of nursing interview questions you should ask a potential employer.
  • What is the nurse-to-patient ratio?
  • Is there support staff on the unit to assist nurses?
  • In what ways are nurses held accountable for high qualities of practice?
  • How much input do nurses have regarding systems, equipment and the care environment?
  • What professional development opportunities are available to nurses?

Remember, these are just some examples of nursing interview questions to ask. You should by all means ask about any additional questions that you find important.