Getting that first interview after graduating from nursing school is both exciting and daunting.
You want to land that job but have no idea how to approach answering the interviewer’s questions.
When should you give more information, or when should you be brief? To help you, here is a guide on answering common questions for that first job after nursing school.
New Grad Nursing Interview Questions and Answers
Below are the new nurse interview questions with example answers.
If you want to find new nurse jobs, check out the NurseMoneyTalk job board for available positions.
1. Tell me about yourself.
“My name is Cristine. I’ve lived in Chicago all my life. I chose to study nursing straight after I finished high school and graduated recently.
I still stay at home with my family, and I am single.
My sister suffers from a chronic condition, and she has inspired me to study nursing and help her navigate complex treatment plans and learn more about chronic pain management. “
Often this question opens the interview. The interviewer wants to gain insight into your values, beliefs, and passions.
They want to hear what made you choose nursing as a career and why you are applying for the position offered.
So don’t be intimidated by this question; there are no right or wrong answers to it.
2. What are some of your best qualities?
“I think that I am hardworking and always dedicated to doing my best. When I say I will do something, I will ensure I do it.
I love helping people and always keeping my word or a promise to a friend or colleague. I always try to do my best in everything I do.”
The interviewer may ask this question to establish your confidence in your abilities and character.
The best way to tackle this answer is to point out your good qualities relevant to nursing and not be arrogant.
3. Do you have a preference for nursing specialties?
“Once I get more experience, I would like to work in critical care. I understand I need to gain experience before applying for an ICU position.
So, if I could choose, I would like to start in a medical-surgical ward to gain useful experience so that I can reach my goal eventually.”
This is a question that someone without experience may not expect, but it gives the interviewer an idea of whether you have thought about the career path you want or are applying for any available position without any plan.
Don’t be shy about preferring a specialty that requires experience.
It shows the interviewer that you are serious about nursing; later, they may consider you for a position in your chosen specialty.
4. Did you have any experience working in healthcare before you became a nurse?
“Before nursing school, I volunteered at nursing homes and worked as a candy stripe girl at your hospital.
I have experience planning health fairs at nursing homes, and volunteering has helped me gain insight into the healthcare industry and motivated my decision to become a nurse.”
It is not necessary to have previous experience in healthcare when interviewing for an entry-level position, but interviewers ask this to gauge your knowledge and exposure to the healthcare industry.
Be honest when answering this question, and don’t sell yourself short. If you have worked in any healthcare facility before, don’t be afraid to mention it.
5. What interests you about working for this hospital?
“I have friends working in this hospital who told me they feel a sense of friendship and teamwork working here.
I also believe that you support nurses’ personal development and further education. I would like to study further in the future.
So, this and the possibility of developing strong relationships with my coworkers make me want to work for you.”
Here the interviewer looks to determine what interests you as a nurse and how you view the company.
When preparing your answer, be honest and include those interests that can benefit the company as much as you.
You may say you like how the company schedules work shifts to help employees balance work with home life or the facility is very close to your home.
If you are unsure what to say, try researching the hospital’s website for ideas.
6. How do you manage the stress of working in a high-pressure environment?
“In nursing school, I learned to prioritize my workload and manage my time well.
I also think ahead and spot potential problems which I can resolve by being proactive. If need be, I can ask for help from my coworkers or team manager.
I also prioritize my physical health by following a healthy diet and exercise routine.
To relax after work, I prefer socializing with friends and taking up photography as a hobby.”
Nursing is stressful, so the interviewer needs to assess how well you can handle working in stressful environments.
In your answer, include any strategies you use to handle stressful situations to minimize the harmful effects of stress.
7. How would you respond when you disagreed with a doctor?
“Once, I saw an incorrect doctor’s prescription during my clinical. I asked the doctor about it, but he dismissed me.
I then approached my team manager with my concerns, and she called the doctor to review the prescription together. The error was discovered and corrected.
I feel that patients rely on us nurses to advocate for them to receive the correct treatment.”
Nurses and doctors need to work together as part of a team. The interviewer needs to determine your ability to be a responsible team member and to follow the chain of command.
In your answer, mention your interpersonal skills, like active listening and problem-solving skills.
It is a good idea to say that you approach the doctor first to resolve the dispute and only, when necessary, ask for help from the team leader.
8. Why should we hire you?
“I graduated with top marks in my class and have worked in your hospital as a volunteer candy stripe girl.
I have worked here during my clinical rotation and made friends with some staff. The doctors and other nurses know that I am a hard and dependable worker.
My education has taught me communication, decision-making, and time management skills which will help me positively contribute to your hospital.”
When you prepare your answer to this question that is very likely to come up in your interview, try to mention skills and experience that align with what the employers are looking for.
Focus your answer on how your strengths meet the employer’s expectations and will benefit their hospital.
9. How do you feel about unexpected changes to your schedule, assignments, or work environment?
“I can say that I will find it easy to adjust to any unexpected changes in my schedule, assignments, or work environment.
I am single and have no dependents, so it is easy for me to be flexible and work extra shifts when needed.
I understand that we must work together to give our patients the quality care they deserve.
It is our shared responsibility and goal to support each other and step in during emergencies.”
Hospitals can become chaotic at any time, so employers need to determine whether the new employee will be willing and able to step in and help out when necessary.
When answering this question, mention your desire to work with your team to get things done and provide safe and efficient care for your patients.
10. Are you willing to work nights and weekends?
“I am willing to work on nights and weekends, but of course, I would be glad if the schedule allowed me to have some weekends off.
Do you have some employees who only work nights and weekends, or do staff alternate covering night and weekend shifts?”
This question allows the interviewer to determine whether you are flexible enough and willing to work these shifts.
When answering, you should be honest and remember that it is better to say from the start that you cannot work nights and weekends than to try and swap shifts later.
You can ask for clarification as to the employer’s expectations for working those shifts and make a commitment that you can and are willing to keep. It will save you trouble later on.
So, these are examples of ten questions you will likely be asked in a nursing interview.
Taking the time to prepare some model answers before you face your interviewer will give you that extra boost of confidence and allow you to appear calm and self-assured during the interview, which in turn may lead to a positive result, and you get your first nursing job.