7 Example ER Nursing Interview Questions & Answers

Common ER Nursing Interview Questions & Answers

As an ER nurse, you will be expected to think on your feet and be ready for any emergency.

But your interview does not have to be like that. A candidate is more likely to secure a post when they prepare for it.

To help you, here are some common interview questions with model answers to give you an idea of what to expect and how to ace your responses.

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Common ER Nursing Interview Questions & Answers

1. Briefly tell us about yourself.

The interviewer will often lead with this question because it puts the candidates at ease and invites them to speak about themselves.

The response also lets the interviewer judge right at the beginning how the candidate will fit into the hospital’s culture.

For this question, you will need to tailor the answer to your unique circumstances, but it can go something like this:

Example Answer

“I have completed my nursing degree and passed the NCLEX exam.

During my student rotation in the ER, I loved the organized chaos of the emergency room the best.

I love being able to help in emergent situations and save lives wherever possible. I am a very energetic person, and nothing slows me down. In my spare time, I love taking part in extreme sports.

I have traveled all over the country to compete in triathlon competitions, and I love mountain climbing and skiing in the winter.”

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2. Why do you want to work as an ER nurse at our (hospital name) hospital?

nurse working in an emergency room

It’s always a good idea to do your homework and research the hospital where you will interview for your new post.

Look at their mission statement and see if you can relate it to your career goals. Your answer to this question could look something like the one below.

Example Answer

“I am very passionate about nursing.

I have worked with many outstanding doctors and nurses in the emergency room during my student rotations, and your hospital is known as one of the best in the country.

I would love to continue working and learning here because then I know I am learning from the best.”

3. How would you manage your relationship with other nurses who disagree with you?

nurse arguing with a nurse holding her face

ER is a high-pressure environment, and it is easy to lose your temper, especially when someone does not want to listen to you.

The ER is a place where teamwork can mean a difference between patient living or dying.

For that reason, this is a crucial question to show the interviewer that you can be assertive, but you don’t want to escalate a potentially difficult situation.

Example Answer

“One time, a new nurse in my previous unit would not follow my instructions on how to change a patient’s dressing.

She had a completely different method to mine. It made me angry that she ignored my prompting when I tried to instruct her how we do things here.

Later that day, I managed to take her aside and explain how I felt.

She showed and explained the dressing change technique she learned at her previous employment, and I realized that there is nothing wrong with the way she approached the dressing change.

In fact, her way was more time-efficient than mine, and now I often use that technique myself.

From that day, when I get upset or angry at someone, I always hold my tongue at first, and then later when things are calmer, I go to that person and discuss what happened.”

4. How do you handle a patient who complains?

injured woman upset and  waiting

ER patients are notorious for complaining.

They often have a good reason to complain, and most of the time, it is about the length of time they have to wait before they are attended.

The interviewer wants to check a couple of things with this question.

Firstly, he needs to see that you will handle the complaint professionally.

They also need to see whether you are emotionally strong enough to handle difficult and stressful situations that occur daily in the ER. 

Example Answer

“I first try to listen to what the actual complaint is and repeat it to them for acknowledgment. I also ask questions to find out what their expectations are.

For instance, if they want to be examined by a doctor right this minute, but I know that the doctor is busy with the resuscitation of another patient, I can explain to the complaining patient that the doctor cannot come to attend to them right now, but they will be available in thirty minutes or so.

This way, the patient will feel that they have been heard. They may still not be entirely happy about waiting further, but now they understand that the wait cannot be helped.”

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5. Describe a time you were under a lot of pressure. How did you handle it?

nurse touching her head

This is a competency-based question. 

The interviewer wants to determine what situations stress you out and how you handle them.

Usually, this question is about stress at work, but you can also give examples from your personal life.

If this is the first position you are applying for after nursing school. In that case, there is nothing wrong with describing some stressful situation you experienced as a nursing student.

Talk about what happened, and don’t forget to end with what this experience has taught you. The interviewer will be very impressed with your answer.

Example Answer

“When I was in my second year of nursing school, right before I had a big med-surg exam, my dog ran out into the street and was involved in a car accident.

He needed surgery and post-op care while I needed to study for my exam. I felt I was being pulled in all directions by spending time caring for my dog and needing time to concentrate and study.

In the end, I called my sister, and she came to stay with me for a few days to help with the post of care of my dog, and I could concentrate and study to pass my exam.

What I learned from that experience is that it’s better to ask for help and get things done properly than trying to cope on my own and only get some things done.”

6. How would you manage multiple patients under your care? What would you do first if you had three patients simultaneously, one attempting suicide, one with chest pains, and one with a femoral fracture?

One of the questions that an interviewer will ask can be a scenario-like question.

To answer this question, try to imagine a real situation similar to a scenario you had experienced before.

If it is, then try to base your answer on what actions you took that time.

However, if this is a situation you have never experienced, you will need to draw on your knowledge and skill to answer as completely as possible what you would do.

Example Answer

“To provide adequate care for all these patients, I would prioritize their needs according to how life-threatening they were.

First, I would notify the physician and quickly set up an ECG monitor on the patient with chest pains.

Then I would delegate to another staff member to call for an orthopedic consult and fill out an X-ray request form for the patient with a femoral fracture while I concentrated on assessing the patient that attempted suicide.

I would look for any wounds or overdose of medication and then stop the bleeding, put up a drip, get a suture kit, or administer a charcoal swallow to absorb any chemical substances from the stomach.

I would prioritize the actions once I have assessed the actual problem of the attempted suicide patient.

7. Do you have any questions?

Always ask the interviewer questions, even if it is just one or two.

Usually, this question is asked at the end of the interview, and the interviewer wants to see how interested and assertive you are.

To give you ideas of what to ask, think of any job details you need to be clarified further.

For example, ask about the type of orientation provided, any possibilities for rotation between the departments, or any chances for further education offered to employees.

Example Answer

Possible questions you may want to ask are:

  • “Who will I be reporting to?”
  • “How many nurses work on each shift ?”
  • “Will I be mentored in the first few weeks?”
  • “What advice would you give a new nurse starting to work at your hospital?”

Find Your Next Nursing Job

Use our nursing job board to start looking for and applying to great nursing jobs near you.

Have You Read These Yet

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the 3 ways you can prepare for an ER nursing interview:

  1. Get a good nights sleep.
  2. Make sure you research information about the hospital (such as their mission statement).
  3. Practice answering some of the most common ER nurse interview questions

During an er nurse interview, you’ll be asked questions to gauge whether you’re a competent nurse and a good fit for the unit. The interview panel is usually made up of the hiring nurse manager and one of the current er nurses.