Charge nurses manage leadership duties by:
- overseeing a team of nurses,
- organizing shift schedules,
- resolving any issues that arise in their units,
- maintaining the quality of patient care in their units,
- and assisting in common nursing duties.
Extensive experience in leadership duties is usually required to be a charge nurse, and many charge nurse interview questions revolve around testing an applicant’s leadership abilities, problem-solving skills, interpersonal communication, and management style.
While it’s impossible to know exactly what questions you’ll be asked in a charge nurse interview, the most common questions are listed below:
- Why do you want to work as a charge nurse?
- How will you balance administrative duties with clinical care?
- Have you ever worked or been trained in a leadership role?
- Describe a time you had to deal with a difficult patient.
- Describe the relationship between charge nurses and the nurses under their charge.
- How would you handle a patient’s family’s dissatisfaction with their loved one’s care?
- What would you do if a new nurse under your charge was distraught after losing a patient?
Before you go straight into the charge nurse interview questions and answers you might want to watch these great tips for new charge nurses.
Charge Nurse Interview Questions and Answers
1. Why do you want to work as a charge nurse?
This question allows you to share what motivates you.
Your employer wants a charge nurse to whom the work is personal, not merely job stability.
I have many years of experience in managerial roles, all involving caring for others.
I’ve worked as a nurse for more than 10 years, so I am confident I have the skills and experience needed to lead a team.
I communicate well with those under my charge and work well under pressure.
2. How will you balance administrative duties with clinical care?
Charge nurses have many responsibilities.
In addition to many administrative tasks, they are also responsible for routine patient care as the nurses under their charge.
It’s important to demonstrate your time management skills in your answer to this charge nurse interview question.
I make sure to dedicate time during each shift to finish reports and any necessary filing.
I also understand which tasks can be delegated and which ones I must personally complete.
This keeps me from becoming overwhelmed and helps me and the nurses under my charge focus on patient care.
3. Have you ever worked or been trained in a leadership role?
This question is designed to gauge what leadership experience you have.
Make sure to mention any relevant work experience, as well as any relevant classes you’ve taken.
While I’ve never worked as a charge nurse, I was a mentor on several occasions at my current facility.
I was responsible for managing a small team, all of which would come to me for advice and support.
This included various aspects of patient care as well as resolving any problems that arose within my team.
I have also taken a few short courses on management in the healthcare field.
See also: Nurse Leadership Interview Questions
4. Describe a time you had to deal with a difficult patient.
In your answer to this charge nurse interview question, express empathy, patient care, and your problem-solving skills.
When I worked as a pediatric nurse, there was an 8-year-old girl who was uncooperative when it came time to take her medication.
See also: Pediatric Nurse Interview Questions
She would always throw a huge fight and refuse to take it.
One day, I asked her what her favorite flavor of the pudding was. She said chocolate.
The next day, when it came time to take her medication, I brought a cup of chocolate pudding she could take with her medicine.
This worked, and she no longer threw a tantrum when it came time to take her medicine.
In my past experiences with difficult patients, I have found it is always best to practice patience and empathy when a patient is struggling.
I strive to de-escalate when necessary and to always try and find the underlying issue behind their behavior.
5. Describe the relationship between charge nurses and the nurses under their charge.
Mentoring is one of the most important aspects of the relationship between charge nurses and those under their charge.
I had many wonderful mentors throughout my years of experience, and I wouldn’t be who I am without their positive influence.
This is the kind of relationship I intend to have with the nurses under my charge.
6. How would you handle a patient’s family’s dissatisfaction with their loved one’s care?
In this question, your interviewer is testing your problem-solving skills and your understanding of a patient’s support network.
I find that most complaints stem from a lack of communication.
A patient’s family is their support network, so it’s important to involve them in the process while continuing to prioritize what is best for the patient.
To avoid miscommunication, I make sure to explain the patient’s prognosis and treatment plan in terms that they can understand.
If they have a complaint, I make sure to show empathy by listening and addressing their concerns to find a solution.
See also: Band 8 Nurse Interview Questions
7. What would you do if a new nurse under your charge was distraught after losing a patient?
This is a question designed to test your compassion and empathy.
Make sure to showcase your strengths in these areas in your answer.
As an experienced nurse, I remember my feelings of pain and grief when a patient died in my care.
While it’s never easy to lose a patient, it’s an unfortunate reality in the medical field.
I’d take the time to comfort the new nurse by validating their feelings and sharing my own experience.
See also: Interview Questions for New Grad Nurses
I’d encourage them to channel their feelings into caring for others and provide them with resources, like a nurse support group I attend on occasion.
I’d have the nurse work on administrative duties until they’d calmed down.
Conclusion: Interview Questions for Charge Nurses
Answer honestly to each of these questions, and make sure to practice your answers to these common interview questions before your interview.
Remember to demonstrate your leadership qualities and experience.
Best of luck with your upcoming charge nurse interview!
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