Top 10 interview questions to ask nurses

To provide the best patient care, hospitals must employ the best care workers. Nursing is a specialized field, and the types of interview questions recruiters ask job candidates should be specialized as well. From determining a nurse’s level of experience to his or her involvement in interacting with patients, recruiters can’t only ask nurses the most common interview questions. Nurses have a unique relationship with patients and other healthcare staff, such as physicians, and employing a nurse who doesn’t fit into the organization’s culture or who may not be a good fit for the position can be a significant cost for the hospital. The majority of health system operational costs are in the labor sector, and asking high-impact questions during an interview can result in even greater cost savings for hospitals using nursing staffing solutions.

Many healthcare recruiters ask the same questions to the majority of job candidates, but these 10 questions can help hospital human resource representatives find the right nurse every time:

1. Why did you choose this specialty?
According to Scrubs magazine, this question gives an interviewee the opportunity to showcase where his or her passion comes from. This question can also highlight what types of challenges the job seeker welcomes and his or her professional goals.

2. What do you do if a patient refuses care at the risk of his or her own safety?
Health Callings suggested recruiters ask this question to medical professionals because it creates a scenario that may actually happen, and it requires a detailed answer that shows the interviewee’s problem-solving ability. It can also help the recruiter determine how well the nurse follows hospital guidelines and if he or she will remain calm during a difficult situation.

3. What would you do if a physician questions the accuracy of your work?
Nurses are often questioned by their managers and other hospital staff regarding patient care, so Scrubs recommended recruiters ask this question to further showcase the nurse’s problem-solving ability. According to the magazine, this type of hypothetical stressful situation can also disclose how well nurses work with attending physicians and if an issue may arise in the future.

4. How do you like to be recognized for your hard work?
Many hospitals and health systems have a recognition system in place, and it can be beneficial for recruiters to understand the different types of rewards the job seeker feels comfortable with. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, acknowledging medical staff for their contributions helps establish a patient-centered care culture, so asking this type of question can show how well the nurse may fit in with the organization.

5. What are your biggest job motivators? Is it patient care or certain responsibilities?, a recruiter resource, suggested HR reps understand the top factors that motivates the job seeker. Nurses may have a wide-range of what fosters their passions, and it can help recruiters understand the types of motivators the new nurse may require to be successful.

6. How do you try and create a great patient experience?
The patient is the center of every health organization and should remain so during a job interview. Nurses’ main responsibilities center around keeping patients safe and happy while they are in the hospital, which is why it’s important that nurses articulate how they approach patient care. The interviewee may have a great bedside manner that may not have been showcased otherwise.

7. How many patients do you feel comfortable providing care to at one time?
Nurse-patient ratios are an important part of nurse staffing, but one nurse may be asked to provide care to more patients than he or she is experienced with because a colleague called in sick or there was an emergency. Determining the comfort level of a potential new nurse can help the recruiter gauge his or her ability to tackle difficult situations.

8. What types of technology are you most experienced with?
Electronic health records (EHRs) are just one of the many innovations in the healthcare industry, so it can be beneficial for recruiters to determine how tech-savvy a nurse is and may help determine if he or she may need additional training or can help other nurses.

9. How do you deal with stressful work situations?
Nursing is naturally a stressful job, so Scrubs advised recruiters to ask this question to determine how a job candidate relaxes and stays positive at work.

10. What prompted you to become a nurse?
Perhaps one of the most overlooked questions, asking interviewees why they entered healthcare can show a lot about their personalities and motivations.

Asking the right questions can go a long way to finding the right new hires, and hospital recruiters need to keep the specifics of nursing in mind at all times.

Healthcare staff scheduling news brought to you by API Healthcare, the leader in healthcare-specific workforce management solutions.


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