Try these sample interview questions for practical nurse students
The Salter School of Nursing in Manchester, New Hampshire, wants our Practical Nursing students to get off to a great start when they begin their new career paths. Many students are nervous when it comes time to begin their job search. They are asking: Where do I look for a job? How do I write a resume and cover letter? How do I prepare for my first job interview?
This article provides sample job interview questions for practical nurses as well as job interview tips. If you are like most people, a job interview will make you a little nervous. But by practicing sample questions and rehearsing your responses, you will walk into the interview with a lot more confidence. Here are some pointers to get you started.
Sample job interview questions for practical nurses
While it’s impossible to know what the interviewer will ask, you can still build your confidence by practicing with sample questions. Read below to find out some questions that may be asked during a practical nurse interview.
1. Why did you choose nursing as a career?
Sample answer: I want a career that is challenging and that makes a difference in people’s lives. As a practical nurse you can help people during some of the most difficult times in their lives. Because every patient is different, nursing is a profession where you can learn something new on the job every day.
2. How do you feel your training program prepared you for this job?
Sample answer: My training included XX hours of clinical lab time, where we had a lot of opportunities to practice our clinical skills under the supervision of instructors who had all spent many years in the nursing profession. After I completed my classes, I was placed in a XXX-hour externship in a local nursing home where I shadowed an LPN. This gave me the chance to provide basic care to the residents while the LPN supervised me. This experience helped me understand the wide variety of care that the residents need.
3. Why did you apply for this position?
Sample answer: I’m interested in working in a residential facility because I would like a position where I can get to know the residents over a long period of time. I think this will make the work feel more meaningful than working in a facility where the patients only have short stays. I’ve also read a lot about your facility, and it sounds like you have a good reputation among the residents and are known for providing compassionate care.
4. Describe a time when you had a stressful situation and how you handled it.
Sample answer: In my externship, I did not have to face any true medical emergencies, but sometimes my shift was stressful because my supervisor and I had to see a lot of residents in a short period of time. As my externship progressed, I found that this kind of pressure actually made me focus better on what our priorities were. I try to take a measured approach to every situation, and to follow the ADPIE acronym to look at each situation rationally. When it comes down to it, the top priority is the care of the patient, so that’s where I keep my focus.
5. Describe a time when you had to deal with a rude person and how you handled it.
Sample answer: During my externship, we interacted with a lot of residents with Alzheimer’s or other cognitive impairment, so sometimes their behaviors would be rude. This is one of the sad facts of these conditions, so I know never to take it personally. I observed my supervisor and learned some of the tricks of calming down the patient. The more you work with a particular resident, the more you know the ways to calm them down.
6. How would you deal with a head nurse or doctor who is rude?
Sample answer: Staying calm and professional is always the best approach. Even if I’m feeling upset, I know I need to respond to them professionally and try to correct whatever the problem is. Again, we are trying to do what’s right for the residents, so that has to be the most important consideration.
7. Do you have any experience with the families of residents? How would you handle a complaint from a family member?
Sample answer: In my externship, we only saw the families occasionally. There was one family member who was demanding of certain services for their relative, but my supervisor and I weren’t authorized to give those services. So, we explained this politely to the family member, and got in touch with the head nurse, who was able to straighten it out from there. As a practical nurse, I want to be responsive to family members, since I know it is difficult to see a loved one suffering. I also want to always be polite so that I represent the facility well.
8. What strengths or qualities do you have that make you a good candidate for this job?
Sample answer: I’m an organized person and I like things to be taken care of in a neat way, so this helps me go through the checklist of each task I need to do for a resident. I’m also perceptive about other people’s needs—which is one of the reasons I chose nursing. I’m good at looking at a situation and asking a resident what they might need to make them more comfortable. And I’m patient too. In order to work compassionately with elderly residents, it’s important to realize that they are operating on a slower time clock, and sometimes you just have to be patient.
Now that you have some sample questions, it’s time to start practicing. How do you make the most use out of the questions? Here are some interview tips for practicing:
- Practice in front of a mirror
- Videotape yourself while practicing, and play it back so you can critique your words and your body language
- Don't memorize your responses, but memorize a few key phrases that you might like to use.
- Go online and find additional interview questions
- Schedule a mock interview with a career services professional
- Ask a friend or family member to role play
Are you starting to get the hang of it? By practicing questions like these, you should be able to ace the interview when the big day comes.
More interview preparation tips for practical nurses
In addition to practicing with sample questions, there are other things you will need to do to prepare for your interview. Here are some additional tips to assist you in getting ready for this important day.
1. Learn about the employer
Before any interview, you should research the employer. Read their website to find out their history, how long they’ve been in operation, if they have other locations, the names of the senior leadership, and what clientele they serve. Check Google News to see if they’ve been in the news lately. Knowing a little about the employer will make you more informed during the interview.
2. Read Interview Do’s and Don’ts
If you’ve never been on a job interview before, it’s a good idea to read some tips about the “do’s and don’ts of interviewing.” You may be surprised at some of the silly things that people do! Try these resources:
3. Bring a list of your own questions
Usually at the end of an interview, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions. Be prepared by bringing a short list of questions to ask at the interview.
What to ask
- What qualities have made past employees successful in this job?
- What would a typical day be like in this position?
- What kind of onboarding/training will be provided?
- How would I be evaluated in this position?
- How is the scheduling done?
- What do you find are the best parts about working here?
What not to ask
During the interview, do not ask any questions about salary, benefits, time off, or promotions. If you do get offered a job, then you can ask these questions of the human resources professional. But do not bring them up at an interview.
4. Plan ahead: Transportation
After you’ve completed your research and your mock interviews, you also will want to plan ahead. Make sure you know how long it takes to get to the interview site. Make sure you know exactly where the interview office is located in the facility.
5. Plan ahead: Wardrobe
It’s important to plan ahead what you are going to wear. You don’t want to wake up on the morning of the interview and realize that your only shoes are a worn-out pair of sneakers! Try these tips for what to wear to an interview for women and for men.
We hope these tips have been helpful as you prepare for your first practical nurse job interview. The Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health in Manchester, New Hampshire provides job search tips, interview tips, and other career advice to help set up our students for success in the workplace.
Find out more about our Practical Nurse training program by contacting us online or registering for a tour. Or give us a call at 800-299-1074. Your new career path could be right around the corner!