Hospice nurses perform a unique role within the hospice team.
They interact with patients and their families at the most vulnerable time in their lives.
To provide excellent care, a hospice nurse needs to possess a special blend of people and nursing skills.
Most of all, they need to be open-minded, team orientated, level-headed, and personable.
To master interviewing for a nursing position in a hospice, you need to answer questions assessing your skills and personality.
Hospice Nursing Interview Questions and Answers
Below are the sample nursing interview questions with example answers. Don’t forget to check out the NurseMoneyTalk job board to find a hospice nursing job.
1. What Do You Love About the Nursing Profession?
The interviewer wants to discover how passionate you are about nursing. Let them know what makes your work meaningful.
As a hospice nurse, you can explore how you build rapport with patients and look for opportunities to grow and find meaning in your work.
“I love being a nurse because my patients and their families need me to be there for them at this last stage of their lives.
Sometimes I wish I had more time through the day to spend with each patient, but I try to be as organized as possible to make sure I get through the work sooner and have some extra time to spend just chatting.”
2. Can You Tell Me About Your Experience Providing Care to Terminally Ill Patients?
This question explores your clinical skills and your ability to provide emotional support to patients and families.
Your answer should include a story about a time when you helped a patient with a terminal diagnosis.
“I have worked with terminally ill patients for the past two years.
During that time, I helped patients come to terms with their diagnosis and cope with the challenges of their condition, like managing symptoms, making end-of-life decisions, and helping families cope with loss.
I provided comfort and emotional support to my patient and their family during that difficult time.”
3. How Do You Cope with Patients Who Die Unexpectedly and Suddenly?
Hospice nurses need to be able to cope with emotional stress.
The sudden, unexpected patient passing qualifies as a stressful event, and the interviewer assesses how you cope with being placed in a stressful situation.
“When a patient dies suddenly, it is always a shock to the family.
So, I would make sure I would be empathetic to their feelings while remaining professional. I would listen to provide comfort and reassurance and help them work through their grief and loss.
I would also suggest appropriate resources to help them through this difficult time.”
4. Can You Give Me an Example Where You Had to Resolve a Conflict Situation?
Conflict resolution is one skill a hospice nurse needs to have.
Therefore, this question is almost sure to be asked in your interview. It’s a good idea to have an answer ready for this type of question.
“One time, a patient had a great deal of pain.
The family wanted to use the strongest available painkillers, but the patient did not want to take them.
We had to have many discussions with the patient, family, and doctors to come up with a plan that was acceptable to everyone.”
5. How Do You Cope with Working in A High-Pressure Environment?
Working in a hospice means a nurse must cope with a high-pressure environment.
The interviewer needs to determine that you can work and thrive in emotionally draining circumstances. Let the interviewer know that you can cope with work-related stress.
“I like to work in a high-stress environment because I am generally well-organized.
My discipline helps me to prioritize tasks and manage my time successfully.
I can spot potential problems and proactively engage my team or manager to prevent things from spiraling into chaos.
I also prioritize my mental health after work by making sure I follow a healthy eating plan and get sufficient rest and exercise.
It keeps me strong. I also keep a good balance with socializing with friends and pursuing hobbies on weekends and days off.”
6. How Would You React If a Doctor Prescribed a Treatment Plan You Know Your Patient Would Not Like?
Sometimes healthcare personnel feels that they are doing what is in the patient’s best interest, but it does not represent what the patient wishes for themselves in these last days of their life.
As a hospice nurse, you may have to implement health treatment measures that you know would go against the patient’s wishes.
In your answer, mention how you would approach resolving this conflict.
“I once spotted a prescription for morphine to be given to my patient who did not want opioids for pain.
I asked the doctor if he could change the prescription because I knew my patient did not wish to take opioids for pain relief.
The doctor told me he wouldn’t change the script because the patient is experiencing severe pain and needed morphine to reduce his pain levels.
I called my supervisor, and together we convinced the doctor to listen to the patient’s wishes and allow them to have a good death, with their wishes respected until the end.
The doctor changed the prescription.”
7. What Made You Decide to Leave Your Last Position?
When you are asked to talk about your previous employer or coworkers, you must refrain from saying anything bad about them.
If you do, it will reflect badly on you.
So, good advice to keep in mind when preparing your answer to this question is never to say anything about your previous boss that you wouldn’t want to repeat to their face.
Rather focus on telling the interviewer how you succeeded despite the challenges.
“I am applying for the position you advertise because I feel I can contribute to your healthcare facility by applying my skills.
In my previous job, I worked in several key departments, but my manager never gave feedback, so I could not gauge whether my skills were improving or even meeting the standards.
I found the lack of feedback frustrating; still, I have gained valuable experience as a hospice nurse.”
8. Why Should We Hire You?
The interviewer wants to see if you can demonstrate your ability in critical thinking when answering this question.
They also want to see if you can acknowledge the value you bring to an organization and if you can articulate how your skillset will benefit the healthcare institution.
Your answer should mention how your skills and experience align with the mission statement of the healthcare organization.
“I have six years of hospice nursing experience and highly developed skills.
I am excited to join your team because your organization focuses on empathy and honoring patients’ wishes which I think are priorities in providing caring environments for these vulnerable patient populations.
My previous experience includes good communication, decision-making, and time management skills which I can apply positively to contribute to your healthcare institution.”
9. What Times Would You Be Able to Work at Hospice?
To provide adequate care for hospice patients, you will most likely be required to work shifts covering the 24/7 continuous care that a hospice provides.
If they ask you whether you can work night shifts, it probably means that you will be required to work some night shifts, so you need to be aware of that and let them know in advance whether you will be available to work all the required hours.
“I am highly flexible and able to work all the required hours to fit in with the needs of the hospice in supporting the community.”
10. How Would You Inform the Family That a Patient Has Died?
This is a skill-related question. In your line of work, you will be required to inform family members that their loved one has passed away.
It’s not easy to convey this news to family members; therefore, the interviewer needs to know that you will be able to do it correctly.
“When conveying bad news to families, I will follow my training and established best practices.
I will give them the news honestly, presenting the facts accurately and in a timely fashion.
I would assess family knowledge to ensure the family was aware of the patient’s condition and would not be shocked to hear that the patient had passed.
I will make sure that I have all the necessary information to answer any questions that the family may have regarding the death.”
If you feel that hospice nursing is what you want to do, then use these questions to help you formulate your best answers to impress the interviewer and leave the interview with a job offer.
Good luck with your interview and don’t forget to check out the job board to find hospice nursing positions.