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Nurse Practitioner Interview Questions

nurse practitioner interview question

We all know how challenging and stressful a job interview can be. And even more so when you’re interviewing for the first time for a highly specialized role such as nurse practitioner.

In a relatively short time, you have to be able to prove that your lengthy educational background has given you the skills and knowledge to take on such a responsible role. However, there is one way to ensure this whole application process is a bit easier: by being prepared!

This doesn’t mean remembering all the procedures that you’re obviously expected to know, but also being aware of the most common Nurse Practitioner Interview Questions.

Do you know what they are?

No worries, you’re about to find out, starting with…

nurse practitioner interview questions

What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do?

For those of you who are not completely familiar with the profession, let’s clarify exactly what a nurse practitioner does.

A nurse practitioner is simply a registered nurse that continues his or her education to obtain a Master’s of Science in Nursing or, alternatively, a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

Nurse practitioners have greater responsibilities than registered nurses, similar to a physician. They have the full authority to diagnose and treat various conditions, and they can prescribe medications and conduct medical tests.

Different states have different regulations on whether a nurse practitioner needs physician supervision or not to operate some practices.

Essential Qualities That a Nurse Practitioner Should Have

What does it take to be a good nurse practitioner? First of all, you need a solid educational background, but that is not enough. There are certain qualities that are necessary for the profession that are hard to acquire unless you’re actually born with them.

If you’re a licensed nurse practitioner with a lot of experience, you have already proved you have those skills, but it’s still helpful to take a quick look at what they are before a job interview.

This is important because it’s guaranteed that some of the questions that you’ll be asked will revolve around these qualities. The recruiters want to be sure that you have everything that it takes.

So what are the essential skills that you will need to demonstrate?

  • Communication skills
  • Listening ability
  • Team leadership
  • Collaborative attitude
  • Time management skills
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Empathy

How To Prepare for The Job Interview?

As you prepare for your interview, knowing what kind of questions you’ll be asked and what the recruiters want to assess is crucial.

Top tip…

Carefully read the job posting and write down all the requirements. A big portion of the interview will relate to these and the essential qualities I just mentioned.

Be ready to provide examples from your professional career where you had the opportunity to demonstrate that you have those skills.

Three Types of Questions The Interviewers Will Ask You

There are essentially three categories of questions that you might be asked. So, let’s take a look at them individually…

Hard Skills

These are job-specific qualities that are non-negotiable for nurse practitioners. They refer to everything you’ve learned through your education, ongoing training, and hands-on experience.

Expect at least a few of these questions if you’re interviewing for your first job. The recruiter will test you to see if you remember exactly how to react when you face a specific emergency or you have to diagnose and treat an unusual condition.

Why they do this?

The more challenging the question is, the more stressful the situation will be. This will be a good indicator for the recruiters to understand how you can cope with pressure.

the nurse practitioner interview question

Behavioral Skills

The interviewer will use these questions to determine how you would react in a challenging situation.

What would you do when a patient refuses medications or disagrees with your prescription? How would you explain a complicated treatment option?

If you’re an experienced nurse practitioner, expect the question to come as “Describe one time when you had to…”.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are directly related to behavioral skills, but the questions will focus more on your personal traits. The recruiter will use them to assess your ability to lead or work in a team, respect other professionals’ opinions, listen to the patient’s needs, and so on.

The most sought-after soft skill as a nurse practitioner is the ability to communicate, and, of course, listen effectively is one of the primary aspects of the profession. Therefore, some of the most common questions that might come up at an interview are about this soft skill.

Common Nurse Practitioner Interview Questions

It’s now time to take a look at some practical examples of the most common questions that you might be asked at a nurse practitioner job interview.

Remember to include situations from your actual working experience when you practice your answers.

Why and when did you decide on becoming a nurse practitioner?

This is usually the first question you might get. It’s an excellent way to break the ice and put the candidate at ease.

There is no wrong or right answer, and being such an intimate question, this is probably the only situation where you can be quite personal.

Best practice when answering?

A nurse practitioner is not a job that you can find yourself doing without actually wanting to do it, and as long as you don’t reply that your motivation is the high salary, everything will be good.

How come you decided to specialize in this field?

Depending on your previous answer, this question might come as a consequence. For example, why did you decide to become a pediatric nurse practitioner and not a cardiac one?

Generally speaking, people choose their specialization at some point during their university years, and this is a standard answer that a recruiter would expect. Therefore, make sure to include some details on what pushed you toward that specialization, or otherwise, it will sound like an accidental decision.

What are the top challenging aspects of your profession?

A nurse practitioner has to face challenging moments every single day, and while people get used to that over time, some situations will be challenging throughout your whole career.

This is an excellent time to be honest, but not too much…

Is it hard for you to make a decision when a treatment has only a 50% chance to be successful? It’s better if you keep it to yourself because this is so common in the profession that you will not have the luxury to hesitate.

In contrast with…

Is it challenging to lose a patient when you’ve done everything correctly, and you even went above and beyond in providing exceptional care to him/her?

A yes, here is way better! Not only does it illustrate your passion for the job, but it also proves that you’re ready to step up and do everything in your power for your patient.

the nurse practitioner interview questions

Tell me about a time that you had a patient with a pulmonary contusion. How did you diagnose it, and what was the treatment?

This is an example of a question that will assess your technical knowledge, and there is only one correct answer. Either you know the proper procedure, and you follow it, or your answer will not be what the recruiters expect.

What if you’ve never had experience with what they’ve asked about?

In case the question is about a rare disease or an injury that you never encountered, describe exactly how you would take action if it occurs.

What’s your greatest strength?

This is a common question that always comes up at a job interview, regardless of the position that you’re applying for.

Top tips…

The essential thing to keep in mind is that the recruiters are not interested in anything personal. Your answer should be relevant to the job, and you should be able to back it up with facts.

Is team leadership your biggest strength? Describe one moment where you set a strong example that pushed your team to perform better in a difficult situation.

What do you do when a patient disagrees with your prescriptions?

This or any similar question will allow the recruiter to determine if you’re able to communicate effectively with a patient, whether you’re willing to spend the necessary time to explain to them the benefits and the side effects of any treatment, and how you would be able to listen to his requests even when they don’t have any scientific base.

What they’re really looking for…

You will need to prove that you have the patience and qualities to deal with a difficult patient and that you will do whatever you can to make him understand the reasons behind your choice.

Jobs for Nurses

There are ample opportunities for qualified nurses in 2023.

If you’d like to check out a few options, check out this ICU Nurse Job Description, a CNA Job Description, and this Caregiver Job Description. We also have the low down on the Sunrise Senior Living Application process for your interest.

Also, if you’d like more assistance with preparing for typical interview questions that tend to come up regardless of the position, check out my guides on responding to Why We Should Hire You, and Why Do You Want to Work Here, as well as everything you need to know about What to Wear to an Interview, What to do After an Interview, and How to Ace the Second Interview!

Finally, in answer to a few other common queries, you can read about Can a Felon Become a Nurse? Education for Felons and the Best Medical Jobs for Felons.

Back to today’s topic…

Final Thoughts

It’s now time to wrap up everything that we’ve covered today. The most important aspect of a job interview is to be able to deal with the pressure of the moment.

This is crucial because you will work under pressure every day, and if you can’t handle the stress of an interview, the recruiter will immediately notice it. And this will not work in your favor. Therefore, being prepared to answer the most common Interview Questions for Nurse Practitioners is the key to being successful.

Best of luck with your interview!

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About Carmen Smith

Carmen grew up in San Diago but now lives in Boston. She loves traveling, experiencing other cultures, and basically exploring the world, be country at a time.

Her other passion is helping people find the perfect career. We spend 33% of our working lives at work, so it's ridiculous that many people do jobs that they do not enjoy. Carmen wants to change this and thinks that anyone who isn't happy in their employment should keep looking until they find something that they really enjoy. 

She firmly believes that "Everyone's perfect job is out there; it's just a case of continually looking until you find it."

Carmen lives with her husband Johnny, a keen birder who also loves to travel. He finds birds while Carmen makes plans for where they will be eating next...

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