Behavioral Nursing Interview Questions

Nursing interview questions will include a number of behavioral questions that explore the key competencies required for the nursing job you are applying for.

These typical competency-based interview questions will assess your ability to successfully carry out the tasks and responsibilities that are core to most nursing jobs.

Behavioral nurse interview questions will ask you to provide specific examples from your nursing work experience. The interviewer is looking for evidence that you have previously demonstrated the competencies required for the nursing job.

8 Essential Nursing Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for these behavioral nursing interview questions.

1. Describe how you recently had to handle a demanding patient.

This question is used to assess your interpersonal skills and ability to resolve conflict. Possible examples include:

  • a patient who is uncooperative with treatment
  • a patient who resists a prescribed care regime

In your interview answer highlight your communication skills.

  • good nurses have excellent communication skills that include both verbal persuasiveness and strong listening skills
  • they are able to communicate with patients and families to understand their needs
  • they can simply explain treatments
  • they can influence patient attitudes while displaying empathy

Communication skills interview questions

2. Describe a decision you had to take quickly regarding a patient.

This nursing question is looking at your judgment.

  • take the interviewer through the process you used to evaluate the situation
  • explain the criteria you used to make your decision
  • show how you are able to rapidly assess the situation and then commit to the most appropriate action

3. Tell us about a time when you disagreed with a colleague over the management of a patient.

In your nursing interview answer show how:

  • you are able to work as part of a team
  • you display sufficient maturity in dealing with health care colleagues
  • describe the resources did you used to diffuse the situation
  • how you listened to your colleague's reasons
  • how you gathered information to make sure you had sufficient understanding of the situation.
  • focus on what you, as a nursing professional, learned from the experience

4. What changes have you contributed to established practices to improve patient care?

Nursing interview questions like this are designed to explore:

  • your ability to show initiative
  • your ability to assess and implement new procedures.
  • your motivation to go beyond the routine of your nursing job to think about how you can improve on current patient care protocols

Important skills used would include:

  • attention to detail
  • close observation
  • critical thinking and judgment

5. Tell me about a  challenging problem you faced in your previous job. How did you deal with it?

This interview question is designed to explore your ability to analyze and manage problems.

  • be specific in detailing how you gathered the necessary information to clearly evaluate the situation before coming up with a workable solution
  • highlight your critical thinking ability
  • show how you are able to apply previous nursing experiences and knowledge to deal with a difficult situation
  • explain what you learned from the challenging experience

Problem-solving behavioral interview questions

6. Nursing work often involves a number of daily frustrations. Describe how you have dealt with some recent frustrations.

Dealing with daily frustrations is part of most jobs. Your examples should highlight your:

  • ability to demonstrate perseverance
  • reasonableness and common-sense in the face of common frustrations
  • your resilience and ability to deal with daily frustrations

7. Take me through a typical day in your previous job.

The interviewer is assessing:

  • your ability to organize and plan your day
  • your energy levels
  • your ability to be flexible and adaptable
  • the sort of pressures and challenges you have to face on a daily basis

In preparing for this interview question, outline a typical day for yourself and be able to answer this question fluently.

8. How do you manage high stress situations? Give me an example.

Focus on how you are able to maintain emotional stability in the face of traumatic and stressful situations. What stress management resources do you use? Examples include:

  • self reflection
  • breathing exercises
  • relaxation techniques
  • physical exercise
  • time out with friends
  • engaging in a hobby you enjoy
  • communicating your feelings

Find out how to answer the behavioral interview questions using the STAR method.

Nursing strengths and weaknesses examples

Identify the nursing strengths and weaknesses that apply to you. Find excellent sample interview answers to the nurse strengths and weaknesses interview question.

Typical nursing interview questions and answers

What should I bring to a nursing interview?

Be well prepared with a list of smart questions to ask in your nurse job interview. Take this list with you.

How else can I prepare for my nursing job interview?

Prepare for standard interview questions such as "Tell me about yourself". Go to Tell me about yourself for help with this question.

What are your strengths as a nursing professional?

Find out more about preparing for success in your nurse interview at nursing job interview tips.

How to submit a winning nursing job application

These nursing resumes and cover letters can help you with your job application


Registered Nurse Job Description


Sample Nursing Resume


Nursing Cover Letter Example

Prepare good examples to use when answering behavioral nursing interview questions and put yourself in front for the nursing job you want.

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