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Registered Nurse Interview

Preparing for an interview as a Registered Nurse (RN) requires a greater degree of concentration and organization than nursing interviews for lower tiers of nursing. The Registered Nurse has a much greater degree of responsibility, as well as range of tasks, that they will be expected to have experience or training in when compared with other levels of nursing. A focus on describing your delegation and leadership abilities will be a critical addition to your interviewing skills. There are certain similarities that can be found with other nursing interviews and as always, preparation, organization, self-care and forethought will help you perform at the highest of levels during your Registered Nurse interview. You will want to be sure that you have your credentials in perfect order, be able to stress your skills in leadership and delegation, emphasize your advanced trainings and your clinical experience. To ensure you are able to perform these functions during the interview it is very important to practice self-care leading up to the interview and also to get sufficient practice in developing and refining your interview skills.

You will want to be sure that you have all of your paperwork in perfect order with a special emphasis on the professionalism of your resume. It is critical to be concise yet specific on your resume and to put the spotlight on your clinical experience, professional education and trainings. If you have any advanced trainings or special clinical work experience, you will want to try to highlight these on your resume. Your clinical rotations will be important to discuss as well, as they give the employer insight into where your skills have been previously tested. If you have been awarded any professional accolades you will want to be sure they make it onto your resume. It is of course, of extreme importance that your resume itself be free from errors in grammar, spelling and inaccuracies. You will also want to ensure that you detail that your licensing, education, boards and vaccinations are all up to date.

Once your resume is gleaming, you will want to turn your attention to ensuring that you have all the necessary documentation to back up your resume, as well as to prepare for the identification and possible criminal background check steps of the interview. It is very common that a criminal background check will be required of you. This in turn means that you will need to be able to provide accurate information about your travels and former addresses going back five to seven years. You will want to make an exhaustive checklist that helps you to organize your paper work and make sure that you do not go to the interview missing a critical document. As a Registered Nurse you will be taking on a leadership position that requires you to have attention to details, your organization in terms of paperwork is one way you can communicate this skill to your prospective employer.

By this point in your career you likely have an idea of what sorts of generic nursing questions will be asked in the interview. However, as a Registered Nurse you will be asked a variety of additional questions that could be different from past experiences. Be prepared for questions such as the following:

  • How do you delegate work effectively in the midst of a staffing shortage?
  • What skills do you possess to direct a team of nursing staff?
  • How do you efficiently relay orders from doctors and management to your staff?
  • How do you prioritize the way in which you delegate or personally handle large workloads during times when you are short-staffed?
  • Are you able to quickly adapt to being asked to perform a new therapy or technique?
  • How would you delegate a therapy you are unfamiliar with to a nursing staff member?
  • When there is a staff rotation at the same time as a series of emergency admissions how do you personally handle it and how would you deal with staff who expect to leave work at a time when there are emergency admissions?

Expect to be asked a whole series of questions around staffing shortfalls, high workloads and emergency situations. You will likely be asked questions from a variety of angles on how you deal with an unhappy staff member who feels they are treated unfairly or who otherwise are acting in a hostile manner. As a Registered Nurse you may be called in by junior staff in order to deal with hostile patients or their families, how do you anticipate stepping in and calming a volatile situation? You will need to think about these questions in light of how you would first acknowledge the reality of the challenge and then show how you could use creative problem-solving techniques and leadership abilities to overcome difficult or crisis situations. It is during this portion of the interview that you will be able to show your abilities to think creatively and optimization of your staff through top-shelf leadership abilities. It is of course critical to use language that reinforces your ability to see the positive solution in a difficult situation and to never imply negative judgments about your former staff, management or patients.

Be sure you take the time to practice your interview skills with a helpful person who can give you constructive feedback on how to refine your interview techniques. Make sure they ask you difficult questions and if at all possible have a medical background familiar with nursing. The more you practice the more comfortable you will be during the actual interview. You will also want to make sure you are well rested for the interview, have double checked all your documentation the night before and take the time to get in some exercise and a good meal before your interview. Taking care of your body will help you to reduce jitters and calm your mind before the interview.

Make sure your appearance is professional with excellent attention to hygiene. By engaging in self-care you give yourself the foundation to be successful during your interview and it is almost as important as other elements of the interview preparation process and should not be skipped. By practicing your interview, ensuring your paperwork is well organized with an outstanding resume and taking care of your body and mind in the lead up to your interview you will give yourself the greatest chance at success for your Registered Nurse interview.