You've searched the listings, applied for a dream position, and now have a face-to-face interview for a nursing job.
Remember: You are interviewing the hospital as much as they are interviewing you.
At some point during your interview, the hiring manager will likely ask, "Do you have any questions for us?" Prospective nurses should use this opportunity to find out more about the position and to demonstrate that they are prepared and are genuinely interested in the job. Crafting questions to ask about nursing jobs can help clarify if both the position and facility will be a good fit for you.
Below are six nursing interview questions to ask in your next interview.
1. Can you describe the culture in your facility?
How the staff works together speaks volumes about an organization. If the interviewer is brief or dismissive about this topic, it could signify a poor work culture. Ask if the hospital has attained Magnet Recognition. Hospitals that have achieved, or are working towards, Magnet status value nurse-driven change and nurture a culture of staff engagement.
2. How do you staff your floor?
Staffing varies widely from hospital to hospital, and even between floors within a hospital. Different hospitals and floors use combinations of Registered Nurses (RNs), Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and resource nurses. Understanding how a facility staffs their floor will help you understand their expectations for the position.
Depending on the staffing style, an RN might be responsible for taking vitals, helping with activities of daily living (ADLs), and delivering medications. CNAs on staff might take over vitals, blood sugar checks and ADLs, freeing the RN up for tasks requiring more advanced skills. Because a resource nurse is an RN, they can help start IVs and assist in administering medications.
3. What's your nurse-to-patient ratio?
An excellent follow-up to the staffing question is to ask about the nurse-to-patient ratio. California is the only state to have a law mandating the nurse-to-patient ratio, but most hospitals have a policy addressing this issue. Understanding the staffing style and knowing how many patients you will be responsible for are important factors in choosing the right hospital.
4. What kind of ancillary staff does the hospital have?
Some hospitals have full-time phlebotomists, ECG technicians and respiratory therapists. In contrast, at other hospitals, the nurses do the ECGs and only offer phlebotomy for morning labs. Knowing what resources are available can help you estimate your workload and choose the most supported position.
5. How long is the orientation?
This question holds more weight if you are a recent graduate or less experienced nurse. Regardless, it is beneficial to know how soon you will be expected to work independently. As a new graduate at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), I was oriented for six weeks. As a travel nurse at the UC San Diego Medical Center, I was on my own after three days. Use this question to choose a position that provides the training you need to feel safe and to be successful.
6. What concerns or reservations do you have about me for this position?
This question is useful to ask at the end of an interview. LinkedIn lists this as one of the 11 most important interview questions to ask, stating that it demonstrates you are a thoughtful candidate that wants to excel in the position. It allows you an opportunity to address any concerns the interviewer has on the spot and in person.
Bonus question for Human Resources: What is your tuition reimbursement policy?
A Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) is rapidly becoming the industry standard. If you don't have this degree, an increasing number of hospitals will require nurses to complete a BSN within two to five years of being hired. Knowing whether you will receive tuition reimbursement can help you choose the right employer, especially if you aspire to continue your nursing education beyond a bachelor's degree.
Remember to ask the HR representative how much reimbursement is included in the policy and when new hires are eligible to enroll. Depending on your nursing education goals, this may be a crucial question to discuss with HR.
As a nurse, you hold one of the most in-demand roles in the healthcare workforce, which means your resume and cover letter should be getting you interviews. If they aren't, chances are they need some improvements.
Our Resume Builder and Cover Letter Builder offer expert guidance and substantial resources to help you update and personalize your content. Employers are vying for your nursing skill set, so be sure you're taking advantage of every opportunity to help you land that next interview.