6 Tips for How to Prepare for Nursing Interviews

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To prepare for a nursing interview, be sure you have all the required documentation ready as well as a copy of your resume. Be sure to dress professionally, check the address and parking situation in advance, and have responses ready for common nursing job interview questions.

nurse sitting at desk talking in interview

After earning your nursing degree, you still have one big step left before you start your nursing career — the job interview. Mastering your nursing job interview can help you secure your first job.

The Madonna University Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program prepares you to earn your nursing degree in as few as 16 months. In the program, you’ll practice hands-on skills, learn key nursing theories, and complete clinical rotations at some of the top hospitals in Michigan. You’ll also prepare to sit for the NCLEX and earn your RN licensure. Now all that’s left is the job interview.

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, but they’re much more manageable when you’re prepared for them. Let’s go over some tips on how to prepare for nursing interviews, helping you walk into your interview confidently.

1. Practice Ahead of Time

First on our list of nursing job interview tips is to put all the needed information and materials together the night before your interview. Be sure you have copies of your resume and any other documentation they made need. Have it organized and easy to carry so you don’t have to fumble with it later.

2. Have All the Information

Ahead of the interview, make sure you know the name of your interviewer so you can find or ask for them easily when you arrive. You can also typically look them up on LinkedIn so you have a visual reference of who you’re meeting.

two people shaking hands at a table

3. Get to Know the Location

Make sure you are aware of the interview's time, place, and date. Input the address into your GPS to receive a precise time estimate for your journey. If it's a multi-building hospital or major healthcare center, you may even travel to the area a day or two in advance to evaluate parking and scope out the proper building.

When it comes to how to prepare for nursing interviews that are virtual, be sure to test your webcam, microphone, and internet connection in advance. To conduct the interview, choose a quiet area with excellent lighting and a plain background. During the interview, keep pets and any other potential distractions away from the area.

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4. Know Your Why

One of the most frequently asked nursing interview questions is, “Why are you interested in working for us?” It seems like an obvious answer; you’re applying to a nursing position because you want to be a nurse, case closed.

Well, not quite. To be a competitive candidate for a position as a registered nurse, you will need to research the healthcare organization and find out what makes them unique. You’ll want to know the organization’s values, what they’re passionate about, and the people they serve — and show them in the interview how you are aligned with those elements. For example, if you have experience working with a population that this organization typically works with, that can be a great talking point about how you would fit in.

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5. Have a Conversation

Remember that interviewers aren’t just looking for someone who has all the right answers. They also want to hire someone who will mesh well with the team and the culture. Showing them who you are and chatting a little bit can show that you’re a great person to work with. Be sure to highlight who you are, what matters to you, and why you want to become a nurse. You’ve got this!

6. Be Ready for These Common Nursing Job Interview Questions

Below are some frequently asked interview questions that the hiring manager may pose during your interview. Be sure to prepare some answers to these key questions:

Think about a situation where you dealt with a difficult patient or family member. How did you handle the experience?

When facing this question, the first rule of thumb is to be sure your answer is not violating HIPAA. Then, explain how you approached a tough situation with empathy and compassion, rather than complaining about the patient or their family. If the situation arose because of a mistake you made, be sure to be transparent about that and explain how you caught the mistake and fixed it. Talk about what you learned and how you grew from the experience.

How do you talk to patients to ensure they understand their prescriptions, conditions, and treatment?

This is an opportunity to show how you connect personally with your patients. The interviewer is looking to see how you relay medical jargon to your patients in a way that makes sense to them. Talk about the layman’s terms you use and how you make an extra effort to ensure they have a comprehensive understanding of everything discussed and the next steps before they leave the building. Part of what you will learn in Madonna’s Nursing program are how to communicate to patients in a clear and caring way, both in class and during your clinical experiences.

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How do you handle times when you don’t know an answer to a patient’s question? How to you respond to being in a new or confusing situation?

It’s okay to admit when you don’t know something. The key is taking the steps to find out and making the effort to find a creative solution. For this question, you’ll want to explain how you keep patients calm when you don’t know the answer and how you go about finding the information for them.

What is your biggest weakness as a nurse?

If you’re caught unaware with this question, it can be especially jarring. Having a response ready is half the battle. The interviewer wants to know that you can recognize areas that you need to grow and develop. Moreover, they want to ensure that you’re willing to put the work in to do so.

Tell me about a time you made a difference in a patient’s life.

This is your chance to talk about how you put in extra effort for your patients, or showcase any specialized skills you may have that set you apart from other nurses. Are you great with kids? Maybe you are certified in ASL and used that skill to help a patient. Any unique trait about yourself that you use to enrich your patient’s experience is exactly what the interviewer will be looking for.

The best version of you is the one that is pursuing their dream of becoming a nurse. Are you ready to start your nursing journey?

Begin Your Accelerated Nursing Education Today!

If getting into nursing school and pursuing a career as a caring, compassionate, and capable nurse is something that sounds right for you, Madonna University’s ABSN program is here to help you achieve your goals.

Get started today by connecting with one of our admissions representatives. In addition to answering any outstanding questions you may have about the program, they will help determine your eligibility and identify any prerequisite courses you need to complete.