Top 25 Nurse Manager Interview Questions (Example Answers Included)

By Mike Simpson

Did you know that 70 percent of nurse managers are satisfied or very satisfied with their job? It’s true. And considering that less than 50 percent of all U.S. workers feel the same way, it’s even more impressive.

If you want to join them, then there’s something you’ll need to do: tackle the nurse manager interview questions. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be as hard as it may sound. If you’re ready to rock your next nurse manager interview, here’s what you need to know.

How to Answer Nurse Manager Interview Questions

Nurse managers get to make a real difference in the world of healthcare. They manage other nursing staff, collaborate with medical professionals at all levels, oversee budgets, handle hiring manager duties, and otherwise help medical facilities carry out their missions of providing exceptional patient care. Pretty sweet, right?

Well, if you want to land a nurse manager position, then you need a great strategy for answering nurse manager interview questions. Why is an excellent approach so important? And how do you develop one? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you.

In the end, you can never anticipate every question a hiring manager might ask. You’re going to face a big mix of classic job interview questions and job-specific ones, but they’ll only be a small selection of the hundreds (if not thousands) of questions a hiring manager may bring up.

With a great strategy, you can be ready for anything. That’s why it matters.

So, what does a winning strategy look like? Well, it starts with the Tailoring Method. The Tailoring Method is all about relevance, teaching you how to create the perfect answers based on the requirements of a specific job. It’s a great way to address a hiring manager’s unique needs, allowing you to position yourself as an exceptional fit.

If you’re facing off against behavioral interview questions, then adding a dash of the STAR Method is essential. You’ll be able to turn your responses into attention-grabbing stories, making you far more engaging.

Okay, but what skills should you showcase? Usually, you’ll want to talk about a variety of relevant hard skills and soft skills. Nurse managers need a ton of technical ability, but traits that ensure they can communicate, collaborate, and manage effectively are also essential.

In most cases, you want to pick examples from your past that highlight capabilities the hiring manager’s trying to find. You can review the job ad for insights, as well as other resources.

What’s important is overall alignment and presentation. That way, you are showcasing yourself in the best possible light.

In fact we we wanted to let you know that we created an amazing free cheat sheet that will give you word-for-word answers for some of the toughest interview questions you are going to face in your upcoming interview. After all, hiring managers will often ask you more generalized interview questions!

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Top 3 Nurse Manager Interview Questions

Alright, you should have a pretty good idea of how to handle nurse manager interview questions. So, now it’s time for some example questions and answers.

These examples give you an idea of the questions you might encounter, as well as how to answer them. Use them as a guide so that you can create your own responses with greater ease.

Here are the tip three nurse manager interview questions, along with sample answers:

1. If a nurse on your team refused to do what you asked, how would you handle the situation?

As a nurse manager, there’s always a chance that a nurse on the team isn’t going to immediately do what you ask. The hiring manager asks this question to learn more about how you approach this kind of situation, ensuring you’d handle it appropriately.


“If a nurse was refusing to do what I asked, my first step would be to learn more about why they are hesitant to move forward. There is always a chance they are privy to a piece of information I don’t have or otherwise have a reasonable justification. As a result, I would want to give them a chance to discuss their concerns openly.

“Once they present their perspective, I would rephrase what they’ve shared to ensure my full understanding. If needed, I’d ask clarifying questions to gain additional insights.

“After that, my exact approach would vary depending on whether I agreed with their position. If I did, then I may adjust what I told them to do accordingly. If not, I would explain my reasoning, allowing me to address their concerns directly until we are both on the same page.”

2. Tell me about a time when you were faced with an angry or frustrated patient. What did you do to diffuse the situation and ensure their satisfaction?

During every nurse’s and nurse manager’s career, there will be times when a patient is openly angry or frustrated with a situation. Hiring managers want to know that you can both calm things down as well as find a way to ensure patient satisfaction.

Ideally, you want to share a clear example of where your actions led to success. The situation itself doesn’t have to be dire. As long as the patient was exhibiting those emotions, it can be a suitable example.

MIKE'S TIP: When you discuss any patient during an interview, make sure to follow all applicable patient privacy rules and laws. Avoid providing any information that could identify the specific patient. Instead, omit those details or otherwise be as vague as possible. If you don’t, the hiring manager may doubt whether you can follow HIPAA and similar regulations, which could cost you the job.


“In my last position, a patient received some news that was hard for them to accept. While they were hoping their health condition was resolvable, tests revealed the situation was chronic. The patient would need maintenance medication and, even with proper treatment, would likely decline as time passed.

The patient became incredibly angry, lashing out at healthcare workers. I knew that their frustration stemmed from receiving unfavorable and life-changing news and was by no means personal.

I approached them from a place of empathy. I gave them space to talk about their anger, which was mainly related to fear about their future. Then, I worked to share information that could alleviate some of those concerns, particularly about how following a treatment plan could help them avoid or delay negative outcomes.

Ultimately, my efforts ensured they felt heard and validated, but also put their mind at ease. I made them feel capable of making a difference when it came to their condition and, in the end, that made a world of difference.”

3. Can you tell me about a time where you had to collaborate with a doctor, and there was some conflict? What did you do to resolve the issue?

As a nurse manager, there will be plenty of situations where you’ll need to collaborate with doctors. On occasion, there’s going to be a conflict, so hiring managers want to know that you can handle those situations.

Think about your past experience and identify an appropriate incident. Ideally, you want to choose one where the outcome was positive, allowing you to demonstrate how you can overcome the obstacle and move forward successfully.


“In my last position, I did have a conflict with a doctor about a patient’s care. The doctor wanted to prescribe a medication that had significant weight gain as a potential side effect. During my time with the patient, I learned that side effect-related weight gain was one of their fears, so I wanted to advocate for an alternative treatment option.

Initially, the doctor stood fast. I stayed calm and listened to the doctor’s position. The medication they wanted to use was highly effective, so it was, after all, a logical choice.

After that, I let the doctor know that my main concern was the patient’s well-being. Their fears of that particular side effect were significant, and I was worried that they wouldn’t adhere to their medication schedule if they saw their weight change. If that occurred, their health could deteriorate quickly, causing them to need far more aggressive treatments.

The doctor considered my perspective and asked what I would recommend instead. Ultimately, he believed that the alternative medication could also be reasonably effective and, if it led to better long-term medication adherence, was the better choice.”

22 More Nurse Manager Interview Questions

Here are 22 more nurse manager interview questions you may encounter during your interview:

    1. Why did you start a career in nursing? What makes you want to shift into a management position?
    2. Which traits do you think are essential for a nurse? What about a nurse manager?
    3. Do you take any steps to improve on your weak area? If so, what do you do?
    4. How do you motivate patients to follow sound guidance if they are initially resistant?
    5. What the largest team you’ve ever supervised? Did you find that team size challenging?
    6. Can you tell me about a time when you had to handle family members who were in a heightened emotional state?
    7. Retaining skilled nurses can be a challenge to manage. What steps have you taken in the past to improve retention? How effective were the changes?
    8. What do you do to make sure that records stay organized? How do you handle it if other nurses aren’t as diligent about records management?
    9. Have you ever had a disagreement with a nurse manager? What happened? Would you do anything differently now than you did then?
    10. Have you ever witnessed a fellow nurse do something that put a patient in danger? If so, how did you respond?
    11. Has there ever been a time when you were given an order that you didn’t agree with? How did you handle the situation?
    12. For a nurse manager, do you think that nursing skills or management skills are more important? Why?
    13. What do you hope to gain from becoming a nurse manager?
    14. Describe a time when you acted as a leader for your peers. What was the situation, and what was the result?
    15. Are you open to taking on nursing responsibilities while in the nurse manager role?
    16. If a nurse was underperforming, how would you approach the situation?
    17. If you were offered this job, what are the first actions you’d take once you begin in the position?
    18. How would you describe your management style?
    19. If two of your team members were consistently coming into conflict, what would you do to address the issue?
    20. Why are you interested in working for this healthcare institution?
    21. How do you prioritize tasks in a fast-paced setting while ensuring high-quality patient care?
    22. What do you do to contribute to a positive patient experience? What about a positive workplace culture?

5 Good Questions to Ask at the End of a Nurse Manager Interview

After you’ve finished answering the nurse manager interview questions, you commonly get a chance to ask a few questions of your own. This is a crucial opportunity. It gives you a chance to learn more about the role while also showcasing your interest and enthusiasm for the position.

If you don’t know what you should ask, here are five good questions for the end of your nurse manager interview:

    1. How many nurses do nurse managers oversee at this institution?
    2. What educational resources are made available to nurse managers to help them stay on top of emerging trends in the healthcare field?
    3. What is the biggest challenge this nursing team faces? How can the nurse manager help overcome it?
    4. How did this position become available? Is it a new nurse manager position, or was it vacated by a current or former employee?
    5. If you could give the incoming nurse manager one piece of advice to help them succeed, what would it be and why?

Putting It All Together

By now, you should have all of the information you need to tackle all of the nurse manager interview questions coming your way. Use the tips above to your advantage. If you do, you could be well on your way to your dream job.

Good luck!

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About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at 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.