8 Most Common ICU Nurse Interview Questions

ICU nurse interview questions

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is the unit reserved for the most critically ill or injured hospital patients. ICU nurses require a specific set of skills, and employers will be looking for proficiency in these skills in your answers to ICU interview questions. 

The most common ICU nurse interview questions include but aren’t limited to:

  1. What makes you a good candidate for ICU nursing?
  2. How do you include family members in your treatment of the patient?
  3. What do you think is the best way to build rapport with your fellow nurses?
  4. How do you handle stress as an ICU nurse? 
  5. Do you work well as part of a team?

While it’s impossible to know exactly what questions your interviewers will ask, this article will outline some of the most common ICU nurse interview questions.

We also provide some sample answers that will help showcase your strengths and demonstrate your ability to provide the best quality of care to your patients.

Common ICU Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

1. What makes you a good candidate for ICU nursing?

ICU nursing is a high-stress environment in which the most critically injured stay in the hospital. 

In your answer, employers are looking for whether you perform well under pressure and respond well to additional responsibilities as situations call for it.

Showing dedication, expertise, and a personal touch in your answers to the ICU nurse interview questions will make you stand out as an ideal candidate.

Example answer:

I completed my clinical training in the ER department of [insert name of hospital], where many patients had to be admitted into the ICU.

I learned how to think quickly and perform well under pressure.

The high-stress environment pushes me to do my best.

See also: Interview Questions for New Grad Nurses

2. How do you include family members in your treatment of the patient?

In responding to this ICU nurse interview question, it’s important to recognize the fear and discomfort family members will likely feel given their loved one’s critical condition.

Make sure to demonstrate how you will provide reassurance to the family members while simultaneously providing high-quality care to the patient.

Example answer:

I find that family members are more confident in your care of their loved ones when you form a good relationship with them.

To involve a patient’s relatives in their loved one’s care, I make sure to give them all the details about the patient’s health, including prognosis and treatment plan.

Many people feel uncomfortable in the ICU because of all the machines, but I encourage them to talk to their loved ones or hold their hands.

See also: Nursing Scenario Interview Questions

3. What do you think is the best way to build rapport with your fellow nurses?

In this ICU nurse interview question, employers are trying to see how well you collaborate with your fellow nurses and recognize the importance of teamwork.

Example answer:

The best way to establish rapport with my fellow nurses is to promote good communication and positivity.

I make sure to verbally recognize my fellow nurses for their exceptional patient care so that they know I notice and value their hard work.

4. How do you handle stress as an ICU nurse?

Careers in the medical field are fast-paced with high stakes, and caregiver burnout is a real condition that especially affects those in the medical field.

Nursing is a stressful job with many competing demands. 

With this ICU nurse interview question, your potential employer is gauging how you handle yourself with the more physically and emotionally taxing aspects of being a nurse.

Self-care is essential, and your employer wants to see if you prioritize taking care of yourself so you can provide high-quality care to your patients.

In your answer, describe what hobbies, support groups, exercise regimens, and other ways you practice stress relief. 

Example answer: 

I regularly go to the gym to stay in shape, and I make sure to mix up my workout so I don’t get bored with the routine.

I also practice yoga, and I volunteer every week at a local homeless shelter.

These activities effectively help me relieve my stress and give me emotional, physical, and spiritual fulfillment. 

5. Do you work well as part of a team?

Teamwork is an essential part of nursing.

You will be part of a large team of doctors, fellow nurses, and various staff, all of whom have an important role to play in each patient’s individual care.

For this nursing interview question, it’s important to communicate to your interviewee how much you recognize the importance of teamwork and communication.

Your answer to this ICU nurse interview question should demonstrate your communication skills, as well as your abilities to cooperate and be flexible.

If you can, draw on a situation from past relevant experience in your answer.

Example answer:

During my clinical training, I learned how important it was to communicate with my fellow nurses regarding patient care.

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

I checked with my supervisor and learned this patient had Alzheimer’s and didn’t remember that she’d already taken her medication.

See also: PICU RN Interview Questions

New Grad ICU Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

1. Why do you want to be an ICU nurse?

Example answer:

I grew up in a large city where many traffic accidents occurred.

I remember passing scenes of accidents where ambulances were rushing the wounded to the hospital, and I always wanted to do something to help them.

I’ve always had a passion for helping people, and I feel that being an ICU nurse provides me with the best opportunity to do so.

2. Do you have a preferred shift you would like to work?

Example answer:

I feel like I would be comfortable working any shift.

However, as a new nurse, I’d want to work during busy shifts, so I can learn and gain experience to better hone my skills.

See also: Why ICU Nursing Interview Question

3. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Example answer: 

As a new nurse, I want to get established and learn as much as possible.

I plan on working toward my master’s degree within the next couple of years, as I know the additional knowledge and training will be valuable assets to my patients and to your company.

See also: Behavioral Nursing Interview Questions

Conclusion: Interview Questions for ICU Nurses

Answer each ICU nursing interview question honestly and transparently. Express your passion for nursing and your eagerness to provide your patients with high-quality care.

Best of luck with your upcoming interview!

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