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Nurse Manager Interview Questions to prepare for and how to answer

Published On: 
January 24, 2022
Written by:
Mary Flenner

Whether you've just started looking for a new nursing position or already have several interviews lined up, you'll want to practice your interview answers to be well-prepared, well-versed, and ready to snag that Nurse Management role.

Outside of the typical "What are your strengths and weaknesses" types of questions, we wanted to share some common questions that nurse managers may get asked during their interviews. Give them some thought and rehearse (yes, out loud!) to nail your interview! 

For open-ended questions, behavioral-type questions, such as: 

Tell me about a time when…

Describe a time when you…

Give me an example of… 

Utilize the STAR method. The STAR interview method follows addressing:


The STAR method creates a framework and provides a concise answer without rambling. Your interviewer will be looking to hear how you approached a challenge, the process you took to handle it, and the final result. 

What is your leadership style?

Be prepared and research specific leadership styles and approaches, so you are well-versed and have a thoughtful answer prepared. Are you familiar with terms such as servant leader, autocratic, commanding, democratic, coaching, or visionary leader? Think about your style and be deliberate in your wording and your approach.

Tell us about your approach to patient care.

How do you contribute positively to a patient's experience? How do you deal with a patient or family member who is upset? Have you ever had to intervene on a patient's behalf? 

How do you deal with conflict among staff? Have you ever dealt with conflicts with physicians?

Here's an example of how you could answer utilizing the STAR method: "A new specialist who was brought onto our care team disagreed with the approach we were taking with a cancer patient, wanting to pursue more aggressive treatment. However, the family and patient had already made it clear that they were ready to look at palliative options. I committed to talk with the specialist briefly when we were both free. We met, and I went over some information about ensuring the patient and family have a voice in the care team, and the specialist appreciated the reminder. We ended up pursuing the original plan I'd laid out."

What were some of the biggest challenges in your current role as Nurse Manager or within your department?

Think of specific examples to share. Make sure your answers are professional and that you don't speak poorly of others or get overly personal. Position your answer as objectively as you can.

The hiring manager will want to see your thought process and how you approached the situation. Be prepared with a concise description and include lessons you learned from the experience. 

Have you ever had to fire an RN on your nursing staff?

Think back and be prepared to summarize situations that are often complicated. How did you approach the situation? How did it go? The HR director or interviewer will also be listening to hear how you handle strong emotions or difficult employees.

Describe an emergency where you had to react quickly. What did you do?

Don't be afraid to say you would have done things differently if faced with the situation today. It shows growth and that you're willing to learn.

Why do you want to work at this hospital? What do you hope to gain from this position? 

You must familiarize yourself with the hospital or healthcare organization you are interviewing with, so you can adequately answer this type of question. It is almost always asked but sometimes not prepared for. Give specifics to show you know about their mission, specialties, challenges, and goals. Also, think about your long-term goals and what you are looking to gain from nurse management. 

Tell me about a time when you had a goal set for you by management... Did you achieve the goal, and how?

Spend time thinking about your strategies and goals in your current (or most recent) role as a Nurse Manager. What significant accomplishments did you have? Did you implement any process improvements or efficiencies? For example, maybe you helped increase patient satisfaction scores, patient safety, or lower readmittance rates? Make notes beforehand, and be sure to mention these accomplishments as well as any other awards, certifications, or impressive patient care stats you helped achieve in your time as a nurse manager.

Other tips for your nurse management interview:

 Come prepared with copies of your resume, notebook, and pen 

 Do some research on your prospective employer. What is their mission? What are they known for?

 Dress the part! Don't wear jeans or scrubs, and avoid flashy tops or sleeveless shirts. 

✓ If it's a video interview, do a trial run with the program to ensure you don't have any issues gaining access. Also, make sure you have a quiet and professional area set up without any distractions. 

Have questions on something you've read or want help preparing your resume to land your nurse management dream job? Email our recruitment consultants for help. 

Whether you've just started looking for a new nursing position or already have several interviews lined up, you'll want to practice your interview answers to be well-prepared, well-versed, and ready to snag that Nurse Management role. 

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