Top 27 CNA Interview Questions (+Example Answers)

By Mike Simpson

Certified Nursing Assistants, or CNAs, are often unsung heroes in healthcare environments. Do you remember ever seeing a CNA saving the day on TV or in a movie?  Neither do we. (you know what? There might just be a pilot script idea there! It’s all yours, although I want a producer credit 😉 )

Earning just over $13 per hour on average, CNAs are often the medical professionals tasked with the more mundane and routine jobs that, although critical for medical facilities, are far from glamorous. These include lifting patients into or out of bed, aiding patients in using toilets, or bathing patients who are unable to bathe themselves.

CNAs also serve in more noteworthy roles including: dispensing medicine, recording and monitoring patient vitals, and addressing any patient concerns to ensure optimal treatment is provided. So, whether in a hospital or an assisted-living facility, CNAs are crucial to the continuing health and wellness of patients.

Clearly, if you want to land a position as a certified nursing assistant you need to have amazing interpersonal skills. After all, you’ll be working intimately with patients on a day to day basis. While having great interpersonal skills is almost certainly going to be a key quality the hiring manager will be looking for, be sure to comb over the job description to find other skills that are specifically needed for this position. Then tailor your interview answers to reflect the skills and qualities you find!

Now let’s take a look at the interview questions you need to be ready for along with some sample answers to help you prepare!

Top 3 CNA Interview Questions With Example Answers

Given the world’s ever-increasing population and the aging of the baby boom generation, the number of open Certified Nursing Assistant jobs is currently expected to increase by over 20% in the next two years, with most positions appearing within hospital or nursing home environments.

Since both are high-stress job environments, employers will be looking for new hires with demonstrated experience in the medical field and an understanding of the unique needs of those specific environments.

While it’s true CNA positions don’t require the extensive educational backgrounds of most medical careers, this in fact translates into a lot of competition for CNA positions. So, being able to tailor your answers to hospital and nursing home environments will be key to landing a job.

Here are three of the top CNA interview questions jobseekers should anticipate having to answer along with answers that could help an applicant stand out and secure either the position or at least a second interview.

1. Why do you want to be a CNA?

Yes, I know, I know, sounds like a pretty mundane question. However, with turnover in CNA positions reasonably high, hiring managers are going to take time to explore why you want to be a CNA. For those who provide vague answers here, providing no indication of their looking to serve long-term in a hospital or nursing home, hiring managers will fear having to rehire for the position in the not so distant future.

Do you know how much time and money is wasted on hiring new staff? Let’s just say that the hiring process is often one of the more frustrating parts of any manager’s job. So, be mindful of this reality. Give a hiring manager what they are hoping for; an applicant who understands the rigors of a CNA’s role and plans a long career in medicine, preferably as a CNA.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

“I want to be there for patients and their families long-term, making sure patients receive quality care and feel they are a priority even in such a hectic and fast-paced environment. I really enjoy making a connection with patients and knowing I’m making a difficult time in their lives as pleasant and hassle free as possible.”

2. Explain how to stay updated with the nursing profession?

What? You thought your education stopped with your obtaining CNA certification? Guess again! Most states require CNAs to complete nearly 15 hours of continuing education units (CEUs) every year! That’s 15 hours of training through online education sources or through attending conference workshops or in-house training experiences.

Face it, new treatments and new medical conditions arise every year making most training outdated within a year if not months of graduating. Show hiring managers you know of the need for continued education, where to obtain CEUs, and that you are already experienced in completing such trainings. By the way, “accredited” CEU providers are essential so seek CEUs offered by accredited institutions. And make certain you clarify your training was accredited. Did I mention to highlight your CEUs and training were accredited?

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

“I have already completed 10 hours of continuing education units through online providers accredited by both the California Board of Registered Nursing and the Florida Board of Nursing. Most recently I completed CEUs including the ‘Care of Patients with Alzheimer’s and ‘Talking to Dementia Residents’, training which is especially relevant to this position as a CNA for your Alzheimer’s facility.”

3. What Are the Common Challenges You’ll Have to Face as a CNA?

As already mentioned, CNAs are saddled with less than pleasant responsibilities in fast-paced and high-stress environments. Consequently, hiring managers want to hire CNAs who are well aware of the obstacles and stress to come, particularly knowing how to handle difficult patients, demeaning doctors, and the strict time schedule CNAs face with regards to managing care for multiple patients simultaneously. Yet, don’t just discuss the stressors of the job. Take things a step further and describe for an interviewer how you’ve already successfully managed stressful situations that are common to the job.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

“Having experienced firsthand a doctor who was verbally abusive to me, I did not engage in any verbal exchange with the doctor. I waited until I was finished with my rounds and then addressed the situation with my immediate supervisor per established company policy.”

24 More Interview Questions CNA’s Should Prepare For

    1. What would you do if you noticed a nurse, doctor or other staff member not doing their job?
    2. How would you deal with a doctor who is rude and uncooperative with you and/or other personnel?
    3. Where are environments where CNAs can work?
    4. What do ‘assault’ and ‘battery’ mean in CNA practice?
    5. As a CNA, what are the goals of hospice care and what role do CNAs play in hospice?
    6. As a CNA, what are concerns you would need to anticipate and address when transferring a patient from bed?
    7. What is the difference between Intradermal and Intravenous?
    8. What are helpful strategies for administering Subcutaneous Injections?
    9. How should a CNA handle residents with speech problems?
    10. How would you deal with a patient who refuses to take medication?
    11. What will be your duties as a CNA?
    12. What medical apparatus will you use as a CNA?
    13. What are Occlusive Dressings?
    14. What will be your approach while performing a Lateral Side Transfer for patients of different weights?
    15. What is the most rewarding thing about being a nursing assistant?
    16. How would you manage an aggressive patient?
    17. What precautions should you keep in mind while using bath boards and transfer benches?
    18. What should a CNA do if they believe another medical professional (doctor or nurse) has misdiagnosed a patient?
    19. What are legal guidelines CNAs must be aware of?
    20. What should a CNA do to assist during a code?
    21. What complications can develop due to immobility?
    22. What are the different stages of a pressure sore?
    23. How do you prioritize which patient to attend to first when managing several patients?
    24. How can a CNA become an LN (Licensed Nurse) or an RN (Registered Nurse)?

Putting It All Together

There you have it! 27 important CNA interview questions to be ready for. Yes, CNA’s are tasked with less than fabulous tasks. Yes, as shortages of doctors and nurses continue, the need for and the responsibilities of CNAs increases. But while the role of CNA may sound less than glamorous, it is an extremely important cog in the engine that is Healthcare. CNAs are part of a team responsible for maintaining the health and wellness of communities. Few jobs are as crucial to society as CNAs, and medical professionals and community members do recognize this fact. Not only can you make a critical difference to a patients physical health but you can make a huge difference in a patients emotional health as well.

Good luck!

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About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.