7 Nurse Practitioner Interview Questions to Prepare for Ahead of Time
January 11, 2022 • 4 min read
An interview is an opportunity to impress recruiters, discover if a workplace is the right fit for you and potentially improve the salary range you’re offered. Some questions are trickier than others, but preparing ahead of time will allow you to answer them with confidence and land a job as a nurse practitioner.
Let’s explore some common but challenging nurse practitioner interview questions and answers.
With this question, the interviewer doesn’t just want to learn about your interest in the job. They also want to check your long-term commitment levels. This is especially important if you’re a new graduate. So, make your answer as specific as possible to the department and health care center.
For example, you could say: “In my acute care clinical placements, I greatly enjoyed the diversity of cases I was working on, and it made me realize that this is what I want to specialize in. I know that your department has a well-equipped and large trauma care surgery, and that’s what initially made me want to apply here. I also read that you have mentorship schemes for new nurses, which is a huge plus for me.”
This question is a chance to show that you’re self-aware and driven to improve. Use the STAR — situation, task, action, result — technique to structure your answer. For example, you might say:
“As a pediatric nurse practitioner, I regularly work with children with autism. Although I have trained on this, I know that the best practices surrounding autism are constantly changing and that it’s underdiagnosed in girls (situation). I want to become more knowledgeable about this (task).
“I’ve been reading more about autism in children, and I’ve signed myself up for an online training course. I also asked a friend who is a developmental psychologist if I can pick her brain over coffee (action). I’m learning a lot, and I’m excited to bring this to my work. In fact, I recently performed an annual checkup on a girl and noticed that she was exhibiting subtle but clear autism features. I recommended that the parents make an appointment for an evaluation (result).”
Although this question might sound scary, it’s similar to the one above. The key to answering it is talking about something that poses a genuine challenge for you before explaining how you successfully handle it. Don’t forget to use the STAR technique!
A potential answer could be: “I’ve always struggled with time management, even in school. If I’m not careful, I can find myself spending hours writing up reports at the end of the day. Because I know this is my weakness, I try to be strict with myself. I set myself a goal for how long I want to spend on each report, and I also try to fill in more of the reports during the day. This has helped me dramatically reduce the number of days I have to work late.”
No matter your specialism, patient education is an essential part of the job. Come prepared with a list of actions and, if you have a recent experience of this, work that into your answer.
You could say something like: “Making sure a patient understands their health status and treatment is key to providing appropriate care and respecting the patient’s autonomy. If they didn’t understand me, I would simplify my language, ask questions to check their comprehension and write or draw diagrams of the main points. If they had limited English, I would also ask if they wanted a translator or would like a friend or family member to accompany them to medical appointments.”
It’s worth thinking of a few responses to this question because you can then draw on them as backup anecdotes for other questions. Remember to use the STAR technique, too.
As an example, you could say: “A man came in for a blood test due to regular dizzy spells. I noticed that he was extremely thin and wearing worn-out clothing, so I suspected he was struggling with poverty. After some discreet questions, my suspicions were confirmed: he wasn’t eating enough, which was also a likely cause of the dizziness.
“I provided him with the details of schemes for financial support and food packages, as well as a website with affordable but nutritious recipes. By coincidence, I had a sugary snack in my bag, so I gave it to him to eat in case he became lightheaded on the way home. When he came back to collect his results, he said the resources had helped and he was now able to eat three filling meals a day.”
If your interviewer asks you this, they’re looking for self-awareness and good people skills. It’s a variant of “what are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?”, but this time, your answer should be focused on how these traits affect patients and nurses.
One good answer could be: “Other nurses would describe me as a team player with a positive attitude. It’s important to me that I always keep smiling and try to cheer people up if they’re struggling. When we have a stressful day, I make the effort to check in with other nurses to see if they’re doing okay emotionally, as well as if they need help with any tasks.
“I also know that as a less experienced nurse, I sometimes have a lot of questions for the other nurses. Lifting people’s spirits is my way of paying back their support.”
These questions generally aren’t designed to test your nursing knowledge, but rather your critical thinking skills and attitudes toward patient safety.
Start your answer by explaining the patient information you would want to check. Then, break down how you would rule out certain conditions, starting with the most dangerous ones, to reach a diagnosis and treatment. Just like on the job, stay calm, and don’t rush to a conclusion.
Before you even walk through the door, a well-designed resume will make a good first impression on interviewers.
Your resume should highlight your best features and be customized to the role. Plus, it should have an attractive and professional layout. Here at Rocket Resume, we have several ATS-readable nurse practitioner resume templates that you can adapt.
Create your resume in minutes, so you can start applying for nurse practitioner roles.