Outpatient nurses, also known as clinical nurses, are responsible for medically treating patients who don’t require overnight hospitalization.
These settings include but aren’t limited to doctor’s offices, community health clinics, and labs. Some outpatient nurse responsibilities include monitoring vitals, assessing patient symptoms, creating treatment plans, and adjusting dosages of medications.
While it’s impossible to know exactly what questions you will be asked in an interview, the five most common outpatient nurse interview questions are as follows:
- Why do you want to work as a nurse?
- What are your greatest strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- How would you handle a difficult patient?
- Where do you professionally see yourself in five years?
These questions are designed to gauge your knowledge of patient care, communication skills, compassion, adaptability, and motivation.
Make sure to showcase your skills in your answers to each of these questions.
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Outpatient Nurse Interview Questions and Answers
In your answers to the following outpatient nurse interview questions, your potential employer is searching for your strengths in the following areas:
- Interpersonal communication skills
- Patient care
1. Why do you want to work as an outpatient nurse?
Expect to be asked why you want to work as an outpatient nurse.
What motivated you to get into nursing in the first place?
Make sure to express your passion for patient care in your answer and specify the reasons you want to be an outpatient nurse.
I’ve always had the natural drive to help people.
In high school, I used to volunteer in nursing homes after school.
Nursing seemed a natural choice for me, as it provides me the opportunity to do the most good.
I want to be an outpatient nurse because I feel it gives me more opportunity to connect with patients and help them live healthy lifestyles without being confined to a hospital setting.
2. What are your strengths as an outpatient nurse?
In your answer to this outpatient nurse interview question, make sure to showcase the strengths that make you an ideal candidate for outpatient nursing.
I am very extroverted by nature, and therefore I love to talk and connect with patients.
This helps people feel comfortable around me, which in turn makes them open up about their symptoms and concerns regarding their treatment.
Having a warm and approachable demeanor is important as an outpatient nurse because if patients don’t feel comfortable, they might feel embarrassed or afraid to share symptoms or ask questions.
3. What are your weaknesses as an outpatient nurse?
This outpatient nurse interview question is a tricky one, as you don’t want to describe a weakness that could potentially be interpreted as a strength.
You also don’t want to describe a weakness that could make you seem like a less-than-ideal candidate for the job.
The best way to answer this question is to describe a weakness that you’ve taken steps to overcome.
This indicates to your interviewer that you are humble and understand your weaknesses and are motivated enough to overcome them in order to be the best nurse you can be.
I tend to procrastinate when it comes to paperwork and administrative tasks because I find it takes valuable time away from patient care.
This would cause me to rush through reports and administrative tasks at the end of the week.
To overcome this weakness, I’ve worked on better managing my time and dedicating a few minutes during each shift to filling out my reports and completing other necessary administrative tasks.
4. How would you handle a difficult patient?
Patience and compassion are essential to have as a nurse.
Regardless of the setting in which you work, patients are away from home and dealing with difficult situations and feelings that sometimes affect their attitudes.
It’s important to administer their medications on time and answer their questions, while also reassuring them and providing them with extra resources they can benefit from.
If possible, draw on past relevant experience for this nursing interview question and describe a time when you successfully de-escalated a situation with a difficult patient.
When I worked as a pediatric nurse at [insert name of the clinic here], children were often very frightened and uncooperative when it came to receiving shots.
See also: Pediatric Nurse Interview Questions
I started asking each child what their favorite lollipop flavor was before each shot and promised they’d have it after receiving their shot.
It usually worked, and the children were more cooperative.
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. Where do you see yourself in five years?
With this outpatient nurse interview question, the interviewer wants to hire a candidate that will grow in a professional capacity that is beneficial to the company.
In your answer, indicate your goals for professional growth and make sure to highlight them in a way that your potential employer will see as beneficial to their company.
See also: Short-Term Goals for Nursing Interview
In the next five years, I hope to be continuing to provide quality nursing care to patients and become more skilled and experienced in the field.
I plan on taking a short management course so I can better handle managerial and administrative duties.
See also: Nurse Leadership Interview Questions
How to Prepare for Ambulatory Nurse Interview Questions?
Make sure to learn as much as you can about the company where you are interviewing and practice your answers to common outpatient interview questions before the interview.
Conclusion: Interview Questions for Outpatient Nurses
Answer each nursing interview question honestly and transparently.
With questions regarding past employers or difficult patients or coworkers, it’s important not to trash talk.
If you were unhappy with your salary in your last position, tell your interviewer.
If you want leadership opportunities, describe your aspirations, and ask about available growth opportunities.
The same applies to any mistakes you made.
If you made an error in judgment in one of your past positions, describe what steps you’ve taken to ensure you won’t make the same mistake.
Be sure to express your passion for nursing and your eagerness to provide your patients with high-quality care.
Good luck with your upcoming interview!
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