Clinical Nurse Interview Questions

Clinical nurses are healthcare professionals who are responsible for the delivery of direct patient care. For this reason, they are required to have a high level of compassion, communication skills and medical knowledge. These individuals also have to be able to work within a team environment and coordinate their efforts with that of other healthcare providers.
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Example Interview Questions

In this article, you will gain an understanding of questions that might be asked during a clinical nurse interview as well as answers to help you prepare your own response.

What do you do if a patient under your care is unhappy with their treatment?

In this case, the interviewer wants to know how you deal with negative behavior from patients. Demonstrate how you are calm and collected and communicate in a way that will help resolve the situation.

Example answer: "I take it upon myself to understand their concerns. I make an effort to empathize, even when the complaints are unjustified. I don't take it personally. I draw on my experience working with different patients to help me communicate effectively."

What do you enjoy most about clinical nursing?

In your answer, describe some things about your job that make it both challenging and rewarding. You should describe elements of the role that you enjoy: the specializations you work with, the types of patients you care for and the settings you work in.

Example answer: "I really enjoy the variety of clinical nursing contexts. I love working overnight shifts. I also love the fact that nursing is always changing as new practices are developed and improved. Another perk is that I'm able to work with doctors and nurses from different specializations, which is always a great learning experience."

What do you see as the biggest problem facing nurses today?

This is a common interview question to test your communication skills. As a nurse, you will be dealing with a wide range of problems and situations. This question is designed to see how you handle problems in a professional manner. Employers want to see whether you will appear objective and that you are capable of taking responsibility for problems while also imparting a sense of optimism.

Example answer: "There are a lot of issues affecting nursing today. One of the most pressing problems is the ratio of nurses to patients. We have too few nurses to take care of our patients. This is a problem because the amount of time that nurses can spend with the patient is decreased. Since we spend less time with patients, we aren't able to communicate with them appropriately, and they might not get the care they need.”

What is the most important thing you do for your patients?

The question is designed to uncover how you prioritize your work. You should be able to answer this question in a way that demonstrates your thought process. Demonstrate your understanding of the scope of a clinical nurse RN and how you apply it to your routine.

Example answer: "The most important thing that I do for my patients is to make sure they're comfortable and in as little pain as possible. This involves monitoring their vital signs and being available to administer medications. I also make myself available to listen to my patients' concerns and provide reassurance when needed."

What advice would you give to a new nurse?

This question is about your leadership qualities, because your ability to communicate effectively with new employees is essential to the smooth functioning of any healthcare organization. You should discuss the ways you would mentor a new employee and help guide them through the onboarding process. Incorporate your technical skills as well as the softer skills and qualities that make you a good team leader.

Example answer: "It's important to be hands-on, so the best advice I can give to a new nurse is to keep asking questions. New nurses should approach experienced nurses to learn the best way to do things and to become familiar with the hospital organization. While they are doing that, they should also take time to understand the hospital policies and procedures so that when they make a mistake, it's not a major one."

How do you feel about travel nursing?

Travel nursing is a popular trend among some nurses. The question setter wants to know whether you are considering the possibility of travel nursing and if you think it is a good fit for you. Your answer should include specifics about what you enjoy about travel nursing as well as what might not be a good fit for you.

Example answer: "I have no prior experience with travel nursing, so I am still learning about the pros and cons. I do know, however, that I enjoy staying in a different area for a short period of time. It allows me to explore and enjoy my surroundings while earning a great living. My husband and I are planning to have kids soon, and I think this would be a great way for us to see the country while maintaining a steady income. I do have concerns that there might not be a lot of opportunities for advancement or that the pay rate might be low. This would be less appealing to me then if I were to stay in a city where I had family and friends."

How would you assess a patient's understanding of their health condition?

Nurses need to have good judgement skills, especially when it comes to determining a patient's level of understanding. This answer should show your interviewer that you know what indicators to look for to determine a patient's understanding and that you can approach the situation in a personable and sensitive way.

Example answer: "When I assess a patient's understanding of their health condition, I first identify what knowledge the patient should have. This helps me determine whether the patient knows enough about their situation. Then I see if the patient knows why they are receiving a certain treatment and whether they understand what their goals are during their treatment. I also observe how the patient interacts with their family members and healthcare providers. I like to see if the patient cooperates with clinic procedures and explains their concerns to the family."

How do you handle a patient that is abusive or violent?

It is a clinician's responsibility to protect those at risk. Violence from patients is not something that you can expect to always be prepared for. In your answer, demonstrate your theoretical knowledge by defining the subject, then use an example to show how you would proceed if you were in such a situation.

Example answer: "Most of the time, patients who are violent toward staff are those who suffered a traumatic brain injury. It is important to try and calm them down, talk with them and get a sense of what they're feeling. When they are in a state of shock, it might be best to have someone else administer medication so you can focus on getting them into the recovery position."

How do you handle a patient's family members/friends that are disruptive?

The nurse may encounter a patient with family members or friends who create a disruption at the bedside. In the case of a disruptive visitor, the nurse will first attempt to de-escalate the situation using conflict management skills. If this doesn't work, then the nurse has to ask the visitor to leave the patient's bedside. However, this should be done with the patient's best interest in mind.

Example answer: "I will try to engage the visitor in pleasant conversation and interact with them in a positive way. This will hopefully distract them from their disruptive behavior. If that doesn't work, I will politely ask them to leave the patient's room because their behavior is making it difficult to provide care. If the visitor continues to be disruptive after I have asked them to leave, I will call for help from the nurse manager, security or security staff."

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