How to Prepare for a Nursing Job Interview

How to Prepare for a Nursing Job Interview Blog Header
How to Prepare for a Nursing Job Interview Blog Header

Nursing has become a field in demand and its upward curve shows no signs of slowing in the near future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, the nursing job growth rate from 2016 to 2026 is projected at 15%, which is more than double the average growth rate for all occupations. With advanced education being a current trend for nursing, a nurse with a bachelor’s degree is much more in demand than someone who has not yet pursued their advanced education. Upgrading your nursing degree through an RN to BSN program and becoming skilled at job interviews are effective steps you can take to capitalize on current demand and advance in your career.

Interview Preparation is the Most Important

Being prepared before an interview is crucial, and everything from your technical knowledge, nursing ability, ability to handle stress and your overall personality will be tested by the questions the interviewer asks. Below are some pointers to help you navigate the terrain of most interviews:

  • Stay calm, focused and listen. The hypothetical scenario interview questions will test your job knowledge and nursing experience, so be sure to listen carefully to the question. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification of something that was said.

  • Don’t get overconfident. Some questions may seem rather easy or basic; don’t blurt out an answer quickly just because the question seems so simple. Remember that the interviewer wants to make sure you are following proper protocols and procedures in your nursing practice. Don’t think something is easy, rush through an answer and then miss an essential, basic step.
  • Stay Current on Research. Being able to quote current research or being knowledgeable of developments in the field will impress a potential employer.
  • Be Focused. Don’t ramble through your entire resumé. Be able to talk about your background and past experience in a concise, clear way. Hit the high points and focus on the experience that is most relevant to the position.
  • Do Your Homework. Make sure you’ve done some research on the organization. Demonstrating knowledge of even some basic information can be impressive; it shows you care and took time to prepare. Many candidates don’t do this and it can really help you stand out.
  • Use Examples. Prepare yourself by thinking about your experience beforehand. Be able to tell a story of how you worked under pressure, led a team or resolved a conflict. A quick example of how your past experience translates to the job you are interviewing for can go a long way.
  • Be Honest. You might be asked a question about a time you made a mistake. Be ready for this and don’t be misleading. Most people make mistakes – it’s how we deal with and learn from them that matters. Give context to the situation, explain what happened and how you handled it.
  • Be Positive. It goes without saying that you should not be negative when discussing your current or previous employer. Sure, there might be things you didn’t like and that led you to seek a job change. However, there is also a slew of positive reasons that also motivated your decision. Focus on those. No one wants to hire someone whose main driver was to escape a bad situation.

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Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Registered Nurses, on the Internet at