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Common Nursing Interview Questions & Answers

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TANYA FREEDMAN, CEO OF CONNETICS USA:

The panel is going to ask us through those questions like strengths and weaknesses and those kinds of questions. So one of the questions that you might get is to tell us about a time you had a conflict with a colleague and how did you resolve it? So we know now that that is a behavioral-based question, Keith. What's the best way to answer that question, specifically?

 

KEITH CARLSON, Nurse Career Coach:

People have a hard time talking about this particular topic because conflict is something we like to avoid, generally us human. So you have to think back on a time when there was some sort of disagreement or some sort of conflict where you needed to come to some type of positive resolution and it doesn't have to be a conflict where you're yelling and screaming at each other. Hopefully, it was not. It just has to be an area of disagreement. And that's what we often mean by conflict. So if a physician was making an order and you agreed with the order, and that might not be something that occurs where it would question a doctor but here in the United States, it's quite common for a nurse.

I'm questioning why you're ordering that particular medication, or I think that dose might be incorrect. So that's very common here and it's expected of a nurse to actually be able to go to a physician question an order because you'll be held responsible if you wrong medication or the wrong dose. So it really goes back to the Star method, in a sense, where you have the situation at hand and then the action you took in speaking with the doctor and how you actually approached that person with the do at hand and how it was resolved.

What was the resolution?

What was the conclusion of that situation?

So this is a very difficult one to be here in the United States. I would say that's a very common interview question, and you need to have a couple of figures so that you can respond to it, show how you communicate. And one thing I want to add, Tanya, that any questions asked in the interview, I always tell my coaching clients, I always say think about what they're asking and

Why are they asking me this question?

What do they truly want to know of me?

So when they're asking a behavioral type question, think in the back of your mind, what does this person really want to know?

What are they after?

And try to answer the question in relation to that?

That would be very helpful. Yeah, that's a great tip, Keith, because often when you are just talking about like that question about the doctor, for many international nurses, they come from cultures where the doctors not to be questioned, and it can be quite difficult for nurses to ask that question, but it's at the end of the day, the employer is really just looking to see if you are able to handle conflict and resolve it in a positive way.