You have submitted a great resume, and now they want to interview you for the nurse supervisor position.

You are excited but also apprehensive, wondering what questions they will ask.

We have prepared ten interview questions that are likely to be asked in an interview to fill a nursing supervisor position.

Hard Nursing Supervisor Interview Questions And Answers

Here are some hard nursing supervisor interview questions. I’ve also included some sample answers for your reference.

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1. Give An Example of When You Were in a Leadership Position.


A nursing supervisor role is a leadership role, so the interviewer needs to confirm whether or not you know how to lead a team and whether you have any previous experience as a leader.

It does not have to be anything official but think of any time you have stepped up and led a team.

Talk about the situation, who was involved, and whether anything positive came from your leadership experience.


“As an RN, I always gravitated to leadership positions. In my previous position, I led a team of LVNs.

My team excelled at providing patient-centered care, where we developed patient-specific care plans to increase satisfaction levels and outcomes.

I have also led code and rapid response teams as part of my work for my previous employer. Sometimes, I was asked to fill in for my supervisor when unforeseen circumstances arose.

I then worked as a charge nurse and assigned their patients, taking into account that assignments and workload were fairly distributed and matched the skill level of each nurse.”

2. Are You Comfortable With Giving Feedback To Your Team?

nurse team

A nursing leader is in charge of giving direct feedback to each of the team members.

Some people struggle with this function, and the interviewer wants to gain insight into how you handle this part of the job.

In your answer, include examples of how you used constructive criticism/feedback to a nurse co-worker.


“Yes, I have experience giving feedback to my team members.

I am responsible for providing regular feedback to my team of LVNs, and I believe that honest, timely, and constructive feedback helps to get the best out of my team members.

By showing them respect when I give individual feedback, they feel motivated and grow their skills.

My goal is always for my team members to become the best versions of themselves.”

3. What Would You Do When One of Your Team Members is Not Following Protocol

As a nurse leader, you must ensure that all the hospital policies and protocols are followed by personnel.

You need to uphold discipline to ensure the safety of patients and your staff.

An interviewer will ask this question to find out what you would do if such as situation arose.


“If I find out that one of my team members is not following protocols, I usually follow a system of actions I developed to resolve the problem efficiently.

First, I would set up a private talk with the nurse to find out their side of the story. Perhaps, there is a misunderstanding here instead of deliberate offense.

During the conversation, I would show the nurse the at I value their input while holding them accountable for their actions.

If needed, I would arrange more training sessions on protocols and procedures in the unit to avoid such incidents in the future.

Finally, I record the incident and discuss it with other unit leaders to find a solution to prevent this from happening again.”

4. Do You Have Any Experience Managing Budgets and Finding Cost-Effective Solutions?

budgeting table

As a nurse manager, you will be in charge of the unit’s budget, so it is recommended that you know how budgeting works in a nursing unit.

The interviewer will be especially interested in your solutions for a budgetary challenge you experienced.

In your answer, give an example of when you worked with financial management tasks and whether you developed any effective strategies that helped the unit save money.


“In my previous position, I often helped the unit manager create and maintain budgets for our unit.

She knew that I wanted to become a unit manager myself and taught me the basics of how budgets work in a nursing unit.

I was able to develop a strategy for our waste management that reduced our costs and helped save money.

I did that by streamlining our waste management process and using technology to reduce the overhead cost.”

5. If We Hired You, Tell Me What Would Be Your Priorities For The First 6 Weeks On The Job?

nurse checking her cancer patient

The interviewer hopes to gain insight into what you hope to accomplish in your first weeks after employment.

It also helps them judge your ability to prioritize tasks and shows them how your vision fits in with the organization’s objectives.


“If I were hired, during my first few weeks on the job, I would prioritize getting to know my team members and building relationships.

I believe that having strong relationships is essential to building trust and successful teamwork.

I would spend time with each team member to introduce myself and learn about them.

I would also study existing policies, protocols, and processes to ensure I run the unit smoothly and efficiently.

I would also evaluate patient care plans to ensure effective staffing in the unit.”

Find Your Next Nursing Job
Use the NurseMoneyTalk job board to look for and apply to great nursing jobs near you.

6. Tell Me What You Have Done to Improve Your Knowledge to Prepare for the Position of a Nursing Supervisor in the Last Year

The interviewer wants to know how committed you are to becoming a nursing supervisor.

By showing that you have taken steps to increase your knowledge in the discipline, you are likely to impress them.


“To prepare for the nursing supervisor role, I have worked closely with my current nursing supervisor for the past year to learn as much as possible about the position.

I volunteered to lead the rapid response team to practice being in charge of a team. I also lead a team of LVNs during my normal working shifts.

I completed a short nursing leadership course offered by our hospital last July, and in my spare time, I read nursing leadership journals to keep abreast of all the new developments in healthcare in general and specifically nursing.”

7. What Type Of Qualities Should A Nursing Unit Manager Have?

This is a very broad question.

The interviewer needs to determine whether you know what type of person would lead a nursing unit successfully.

It is quite a common question and comes up in many interviews, so perhaps preparing a good answer is worthwhile.


“A good nursing unit leader should be good at planning, organizing, controlling, and decision-making.

They should be a good communicator and show fairness towards their team members.

They should be able to hold people accountable for their actions and lead by example.

They should also be honest and trustworthy. The best leader empathizes with subordinates and shows kindness and support when needed.”

8. Tell Me About a Time You Were Under Pressure; how Did You Handle That?

Stress is a part of the nursing manager’s job, so you need to show the interviewer that you can perform well in all circumstances.

Your answer should include an example of when you had to perform under pressure and did not fold.


“In my current employment, I am the most senior nurse on the unit.

Most days, I need to handle my patient load as well as be a resource for the new staff members.

I must be very organized and prioritize my workload to cope with the interruptions where nurses expect me to drop everything to help them.

Otherwise, I would not be able to help others. Good time management and assertiveness help me deal with all the stress.”

9. Tell Me About the Time You Failed at Work

male nurse asking patient

Everyone fails sometimes.

It’s easy to talk about your successes, but there will be times when you fail as a nurse manager, and the interviewer needs to determine your skill level when handling failure.

Use an example from your experience where you did not do as well as you hoped. Ensure you include some information about what you learned from this experience.


“When a patient dies in the ward, we see it as a failure. Every time that happens, I feel like I have failed at my job.

Usually, a team debriefs after a patient dies in the ward. We discuss each one’s role in the circumstances that led to the patient’s death.

The discussion includes a reflection part where I have the chance to reflect if there is something I can do differently in the future, and it usually helps me learn how to improve my skills.

I don’t see failure as a weakness, just as something I need to work on and improve.”

10. When You Have a Patient That Needs a Lot Of Care, How Do You Ensure Your Other Patients Are Taken Care Of?

Nursing managers must be skilled at delegating tasks to ensure the unit runs smoothly.

The interviewer wants to determine how good you are at delegating and prioritizing what needs to be done to ensure all patients receive excellent care.


“When I find that one of my patients needs me to spend more time caring for them, I quickly assess all my other patients and delegate care tasks to the LPNs working with me.

We work together to finish all the tasks needed to provide excellent patient care.”

Find Your Next Nursing Job
Use the NurseMoneyTalk job board to look for and apply to great nursing jobs near you.

Key Takeaways

So, these are the ten questions that will likely be asked in your interview. Make sure you prepare personal answers, as these are only generalized examples.

At the end of the interview, don’t forget to thank the interviewer for their time. Good Luck with getting hired.

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