Top 30 Nurse Practitioner Interview Questions (Example Answers Included)

By Mike Simpson

Today, there are over 240,000 nurse practitioners working in the United States. But that isn’t the most impressive part.

Source: BLS.gov

What’s really remarkable is this; between 2018 and 2028, the field will grow by 26 percent. About 62,000 new nurse practitioner roles will emerge. That’s about 517 people (about the same number of people who are serving in the United States Congress) every single month. Talk about career potential.

But, even with that growth rate, that doesn’t mean you can arrive ill-prepared for answering your nurse practitioner interview questions. Even the most skilled contender has to leave a good impression. Otherwise, you won’t secure the hiring manager’s vote.

How to Answer Nurse Practitioner Interview Questions

So, how do you make sure your “hire me” campaign is a success? By knowing how to answer the nurse practitioner interview questions better than your competition, that’s how.

We can hear you now. That’s easier said than done, right? Wrong. Nailing your interview isn’t inherently difficult. It’s only challenging if you don’t prepare in the proper way.

Think of it this way; you dedicated a lot of time, energy, brainpower, and maybe even some tears to becoming a nurse practitioner. Why does that matter? Because it means you aren’t afraid of a little work.

Dust off your research cap. It’s time to dig in.

First, if you want to shine during your nurse practitioner interview, you need to figure out what you’ll need to talk about. How do you do that? By reviewing the job description.

In the job description, you can learn about the skills and qualities the company values. Usually, nurse practitioners need a range of hard skills that focus on healthcare, and those will easily make the must-have list. Plus, you might find hints about soft skills – like communication, collaboration, and empathy – that are crucial in the eyes of the hospital, clinic, or facility.

The goal is to find out about these priorities. If it’s on the must-have list, it counts. If you see the same word or phrase over and over, it counts, too. Those are clues about what the hiring manager considers important. So, you need to be ready to talk about your capabilities in those areas.

But there’s more to the equation. If you really want to stand out, head to the facility’s website and find the mission and values statements. This is another area that’s chocked full of hints about what the hiring manager wants to see, so you want to work these details into your answers, too.

Alright, you know what to talk about, but there’s something you still don’t know; how to talk about them. If you’re asked traditional interview questions, it’s pretty easy to pick an approach. You just have to be straightforward, talking about your related capabilities.

But, if you’re facing behavioral interview questions, things aren’t so cut and dry. Here, you need to create a compelling answer that outlines your capabilities in highly relevant ways.

Sounds tough, right?

Luckily, this can be amazingly simple. In fact, we’ve discussed the two main components you need to answer this kind of nurse practitioner interview questions: the STAR method and the Tailoring Method. Together, these approaches let you create highly engaging answers that are incredibly relevant to the position. Not only will your responses be more interesting, but they’ll be better at demonstrating your value, as well.

MIKE'S TIP: If you want to give your interview answers an added punch, here’s a two-part tip. First, quantify the details. Usually, numbers speak louder than words, partially because they provide context that makes your achievements easier to visualize. But that doesn’t mean you should toss out just any number. The second part of the tip is to focus on accomplishments with numbers that mirror the target facility. Worked with a similarly sized team? Handle a nearly identical patient load? If there’s an alignment, talk about it. It makes your experience seem especially relevant if you do.

Top 3 Nurse Practitioner Interview Questions

Alright, now you know how to answer nurse practitioner interview questions. But is that enough? We don’t think so.

Having a great technique is an excellent start, but it shouldn’t be the end. You know what else is helpful? Some amazing example answers.

If you want to see how to put the tips above into practice, here’s a look at the top three nurse practitioner interview questions and how to tackle them.

1. Can you tell me about a time when you went the extra mile in the name of patient care?

Medical facilities of all kinds typically aim to provide an exceptional patient experience. With this question, the hiring manager wants to know that you’ve gone above and beyond in the past. Often, candidates who have are likely to do so again, so many hiring managers favor these job seekers over the others.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

“I once treated a patient whose family did not live in the local area. While their family members did make an effort to come by, they weren’t always able to do so regularly. Since feeling connected to others can improve outcomes, I made an effort to spend more time with this patient. The goal was to provide them with guidance, positive reinforcement, and support, ensuring that they felt like someone was present and cared about their well-being. Ultimately, this boosted their mood, smoothing their road to recovery.”

2. If you saw a colleague failing to adhere to health-related safety standards, such as changing gloves between patients, what would you do?

In healthcare environments, rules are usually there for a reason. Along with promoting patient and provider safety, many are necessary for regulatory compliance.

With this question, the hiring manager is trying to determine if you would step up if you knew a colleague was putting people at risk. What makes this question simple is that there’s technically only one right answer.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

“If I noticed that a colleague was falling short of the safety standards, I would first address it quickly. If I was able to intervene before anyone was put in danger, I would speak with my colleague about it directly. It’s possible it was a one-time, accidental oversight, and that a simple reminder would ensure their vigilance. However, I would also refer to company policy to determine if additional action is necessary, such as reporting the activity through the proper channels. Patient and provider safety are both of the utmost importance, so I would follow the policy to the letter to make sure the situation is documented and handled as needed.”

3. What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of working as a nurse practitioner?

Being a nurse practitioner isn’t always easy. The work can be physically and emotionally draining. Plus, it can be frustrating when patients don’t follow sound medical guidance, especially when you’re the one giving it.

The hiring manager wants to learn a few things with this question. First, it’s a test of your honesty. They want to know if you’ll open about the realities of the work.

Second, they want to know what you consider to be a challenge as well as how you respond to those difficulties. Not only does this help them learn about your potential needs if you’re hired, but also how you may react during trying times.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

“What I find most challenging is when patients in poor health ignore sound medical advice in favor of something they read on the internet. Battling against misinformation is difficult, especially in circles where it’s pervasive. In the end, I always work diligently to share reliable, proven information with everyone while remaining professional. Ultimately, it resonates with more patients than it doesn’t. Plus, there’s always a chance I’ll connect with someone who may have fallen through the cracks, and that alone makes it worthwhile.”

27 More Nurse Practitioner Interview Questions

Here are 27 more nurse practitioner interview questions candidates might face:

      1. Why did you decide to become a nurse practitioner?
      2. What about this clinic/hospital/facility appeals to you most? Why do you want to work here?
      3. Describe a time when you had a conflict with a patient’s family member. How did you resolve it?
      4. What processes or procedures do you use to reduce the spread of germs?
      5. What resources do you rely on to promote health in the community?
      6. If a patient asked for antibiotics they don’t need, how do you respond?
      7. What do you do to enhance the patient experience?
      8. Can you tell me about a time where you witnessed unethical behavior? What did you do?
      9. If you saw a colleague taking medication samples home, what would you do?
      10. What would you do if a patient was not responding to pain medication and asked for a dose that was higher than the allowable amount?
      11. If a patient became hostile after being denied pain medication, what would you do?
      12. When a patient becomes uncooperative, what steps do you take to handle the situation?
      13. If you disagreed with a physician’s diagnosis, what would you do?
      14. Define HIPAA and discuss what steps you take to remain compliant.
      15. Tell me about your experience with electronic medical records.
      16. When you treat a patient, how do you balance their medical needs with their emotional ones?
      17. Before conducting an exam, what information do you review?
      18. How would you describe your bedside manner? How would your past managers and colleagues describe it?
      19. Tell me about a time you made a patient care mistake. How did you fix it?
      20. If the parent of a child patient complained about the quality of their child’s care, what would you do?
      21. What would you consider to be your greatest professional achievement? What about your biggest professional disappointment?
      22. What steps do you take to build a rapport with the physicians you work with?
      23. What traits do you think are most critical for high-quality patient care?
      24. Are you open to evening, weekend, holiday, or on-call shifts?
      25. Why do you think that your experience and skills are a good match for this role?
      26. Which of your qualities do you think sets you apart from other nurse practitioners?
      27. Which weakness in your work habits holds you back the most? Are you doing anything to improve in that area?

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

As the sun begins to set on your interview, you’ll get an opportunity. Typically, you can ask the hiring manager a couple of questions.

By having some good ones ready, you can learn more about this nurse practitioner job and the facility itself. If you don’t know where to start, here are five good questions to ask as the end of a nurse practitioner interview:

      1. Can you describe the average day for nurse practitioners here?
      2. How do you define success for this role?
      3. What is the biggest challenge your nurse practitioners face?
      4. How would you describe the culture here?
      5. Could you describe the organizational structure of this unit as well as the clinic/hospital/facility as a whole?

Putting It All Together

Look, you’re already a great candidate. You’ve put a lot of time and effort into earning your nurse practitioner title. That means you’ve got what it takes to thrive. All you need to do is show it. So, take the tips above and make sure you nail those nurse practitioner interview questions. By doing so, you’ll increase your odds of landing the job, ensuring you can keep your career moving in the right direction.

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.