5 Common Behavioral Nursing Interview Questions

Behavioral nursing interview questions

Behavioral nursing interview questions are designed to test your knowledge of patient care, your communication skills, ability to work well on a team, motivation, and adaptability.

Your answers to behavioral nursing interview questions should highlight your strengths in these key areas and should include anecdotes about past relevant experiences.

Possible behavioral nursing interview questions:

  1. Why do you want to work as a nurse?
  2. How do you respond to an unprofessional doctor?
  3. How would you pacify an aggressive patient?
  4. How important is teamwork to you?
  5. How do you manage a patient’s relatives?

While it’s impossible to know exactly what questions your interviewers will ask, this article will outline some of the most common behavioral nursing interview questions and examples of answers that will help land you the job you’ve worked so hard to achieve. 

What Is Your Interviewer Looking for in an Answer? 

Behavioral nursing interview questions are designed to gauge a potential candidate’s proficiency in the following areas:

  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Understanding and prioritization of patient care
  • Motivation
  • Teamwork
  • Adaptability

Your answers should demonstrate your proficiency in these skills while simultaneously highlighting your experience. 

In your interview, you should illustrate that you understand the demands of the job and work with other staff to do what is best for each patient in your care. 

Behavioral Nursing Interview Questions and Answers

1. Why do you want to work as a nurse?

Expect to be asked why you want to work as a nurse. Indicate the reasons why you went into the field in the first place.

Maybe someone close to you suffered from a chronic health issue, or you have a natural desire to help others.

Example answer:

Growing up, my sister was in and out of hospitals for chronic health issues.

It was a difficult time not only for her, but our entire family, as we were always worried about her.

I remember being impressed with the level of compassionate care she received from her healthcare team, especially the nurses.

I knew I wanted to be a nurse so I could provide the same comfort to patients and their families in similar situations.

See also: ICU Nurse Interview Questions

2. How do you respond to an unprofessional doctor?

While nurses may not have the same level of medical training as doctors, they are crucial to patient care and treatment.

Doctors can sometimes be difficult to work with and be uncooperative with nurses.

In your answer, the interviewer is gauging your problem-solving skills and emotional maturity.

Example answer:

I have had the opportunity to work with many wonderful doctors who are great communicators and appreciate the crucial role nurses play in inpatient care.

However, there was one situation where a doctor would berate me in front of the patient.

While I took the high road and didn’t respond, focusing solely on caring for the patient, I reported the doctor to HR to avoid further problems.

See also: Nursing Interview Questions

3. How would you pacify an aggressive patient?

As a nurse, you’ll have to know how to handle risky situations, which may include patients being uncooperative or becoming aggressive with staff.

In your answer, you should demonstrate your proficiency in communication skills, especially empathy and active listening.

Example answer:

I understand that no two patients are alike in terms of treatment and cooperation.

I’ve had to deal with many difficult situations like these.

I attempt to control the situation by de-escalating when necessary, being patient, showing empathy regarding their situation, and providing reassurance and a quick solution.

See also: Dialysis Nurse Interview Questions

4. How important is teamwork to you?

As a nurse, you will be working as part of a team of doctors, other nurses, and various staff, all of who have an important role to play in each patient’s care.

Your answer should emphasize the importance of teamwork and how you are ready to support your fellow nurses in difficult times.

Example answer:

During my clinical training as the ER nurse at [insert name of hospital], I learned how important it was to communicate with my fellow nurses regarding patient care.

See also: ER Nurse Interview Questions

One night, an elderly patient approached me and reported that she had been waiting more than half an hour for her medication.

Instead of immediately giving this patient her dosage, I first decided to speak with the nurse in charge of administering medication.

It turned out that this patient had Alzheimer’s and didn’t remember that she’d already been given her medication.

See also: Assistant Nurse Manager Interview Questions

5. How do you manage a patient’s relatives?

A patient’s relatives are always affected by their loved one’s health challenges, especially if those challenges necessitate the patient to be hospitalized.

Some relatives may challenge your input as a nurse and question what is best for their loved ones.

Others may have the opposite reaction and be attached to you.

Your interview answer should highlight your commitment to your patients and ease the process for their family and friends. 

Example answer:

As a nurse, I understand how important it is to communicate with a patient’s family members during these difficult times.

While most family members trust me and my team in caring for their loved ones, sometimes a patient’s family members can be uncooperative.

My priority is to my patient and their social, emotional, and physical needs.

When dealing with a patient’s family members, I remain honest and firm regarding the patient’s condition and treatment.

See also: Registered Nurse Interview Questions

How to Answer Behavioral Nursing Interview Questions?

Many experts agree that the STAR method in answering interview questions is best:

S – Situation

Describe a particular event from your past relevant experience, which can be from school, volunteer experience, or a previous job.

Make sure to include enough detail for your interviewer to understand the circumstances.

T – Task

What was your objective at the time of the situation?

See also: What Motivates You Nursing Interview Question

A – Action

What did you do to address the situation?

Describe what steps you took and be sure to highlight your actions so your interviewer can understand your unique role.

See also: Why Do You Want to Work Here as a Nurse

R – Result

What was the outcome of your actions?

Be sure to describe your achievements in a way that highlights your strengths as a candidate.

See also: Greatest Accomplishment Nursing Interview

Conclusion: Behavioral Interview Questions for Nurses

Overall, you want to give honest, in-depth answers to all the behavioral nursing interview questions posed to you in the interview.

Help your interviewers see you as the ideal candidate who will excel in your role as a nurse.

Good luck with your upcoming interview!

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