Emergency room nurses are responsible for dealing with some of the most stressful situations in the hospital, so it is a career that is not for the faint of heart.
You must be comfortable with a fast pace and have a passion for solving complex problems with a fair degree of autonomy.
If you are preparing for an upcoming interview, it’s important to think about common ER nurse interview questions so you can be prepared to show your relevant skills as well as your confidence and ability to do the job well.
ER Nurse Interview Questions and Answers
To feel ready to interview for an ER nurse job, you should be comfortable answering questions about your experience, career goals, and more.
Here are some of the common ER nurse interview questions you are likely to encounter in your upcoming interviews whether you are an experienced ER nurse or a new graduate.
1. How do you handle stressful situations while working in the ER?
Working in the ER is a very stressful job.
Your interviewer will want to know your comfort level with managing stress and the tools that you use to handle difficult situations like an overflowing ER or a particularly difficult caseload.
Draw on experiences in your past nursing positions where you can provide concrete examples that show your capabilities.
Share specific stories that are relevant to the type of environment you are interviewing for so that the interviewer can see the parallels in your experience with what they are looking for.
2. Are you comfortable delivering bad news to patients and their families?
The unfortunate part of working as an ER nurse is that from time to time you will have to be the bearer of bad news.
The interviewer will want to get an understanding of how willing and able you are to have these conversations, even if they are awkward or painful.
To best answer, this question, highlight your professionalism and your ability to manage your own emotions and keep calm.
Assure the interviewer that you can keep a level head and share the news with patients and their families factually and compassionately.
See also: Interview Questions for New Grad Nurses
3. Describe a time that you made a mistake at work and how you handled the situation.
Interviewers love to throw curveball questions during interviews, so it’s important to keep your cool and answer these types of questions the right way.
It can be difficult to share stories about mistakes because you worry about how you’ll be perceived, but it’s all in how you frame it.
By asking you to describe a mistake you made on the job, they are looking more for your ability to problem solve and reflect on things you could have done differently rather than harping on the fact that you made a mistake.
Be candid and open to show that you take the question seriously and allow them to see the human side of you.
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4. Why does working in this particular hospital ER interest you?
This should be a fairly easy question to answer.
The interviewer will be curious why you chose to apply to their hospital out of all the other hospitals in the area.
Share openly and honestly what drew you to the position. It could be anything from the location to the benefits or the types of cases that they typically see in the ER that interested you.
There is truly no wrong answer to this question.
5. What would you do if a patient wasn’t responding to your treatment plan?
Interviewing for an ER nurse position is difficult because so much of the work is done on your feet at the moment.
It can be hard to find questions that get to the heart of whether you are qualified or not just by talking to you, so questions like this are essential in trying to get clarity on that.
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Walk the interviewer through the way that you would assess the situation and the steps you would take to determine a different course of action to help the patient improve.
Be as detailed as possible to show your competence and let them ask follow-up questions so they can get a sense of your care style.
See also: Nursing Interview Questions
New Grad ER Nurse Interview Questions
When you interview for an ER nurse position as a recent graduate, you will likely be asked many of the above questions as well as some other questions that are specific to being new to the field.
It’s important to show your skills and confidence because you lack the experience that they may be looking for in a more seasoned nurse.
1. What made you pursue a career in ER nursing?
This is your chance to tell your story.
What inspired you to apply to nursing school and eventually choose a specialty in ER nursing?
The ER nursing field is very high-stress and dynamic, so it takes a specific type of person to have the drive to succeed in this career long term.
Share what made you choose this path, whether it was a person who inspired you or a situation that made you decide this was the job for you.
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2. What was the most beneficial thing you learned in nursing school?
Because you are a recent graduate, most of your experience is drawn from nursing school.
Although you may not have much experience working in busy ERs yet, describe the things that you learned while in nursing school that directly correlate to what you’d be doing as an ER nurse.
Anything you can do to describe beneficial techniques or lessons you learned in school that can directly translate to your approach as an ER nurse will be helpful to include here.
3. What worries you most about starting your career as an ER nurse?
It might feel counterintuitive to be vulnerable during an interview, but it’s important to be honest if this question comes up.
Your interviewer realizes that you are a person first and a nurse second, so it’s perfectly acceptable to have reservations or worries about your potential job.
Be truthful, but don’t overly dramatize what you’re worried about.
You still want the overall consensus to be that you are a good candidate, but it will show that you are self-aware and well-adjusted if you admit that there are things that worry you about the job.
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Conclusion: Interview Questions for ER Nurses
These are just some of the common ER nurse interview questions that you are likely to encounter while interviewing whether you are a seasoned nurse with plenty of experience or a new graduate who is just starting.
Be open and honest about your experience, your skills, and your reservations about the role.
Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions so that you can get a sense of whether it is going to be the right fit for you as well.
Good luck with your interview!
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