20 Nursing School Interview Questions

April 26, 2024
5 min read


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 4/25/24

Nursing school interviews can be very nerve-wracking and difficult to prepare for, but we’re here to help. Read on to review 20 interview questions and answers to help you get through the process!

Thinking about what questions you might get during your interview for nursing school can be very stressful. 

The best way to deal with that stress is to prepare answers to questions you think might be on the interview. This article will guide you through some of the most common nursing program interview questions and help you prepare for the big day.

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General Questions

Let’s begin with some general questions the interview might ask to get to know you better and break the ice!

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to become a nurse?
  • Why do you want to study at this school?
  • What will you do if you’re not accepted?
  • What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?

Questions About Experience and Background

Your interviewer will want to assess your suitability for the nursing profession and determine whether you have the skills necessary to succeed as a nurse. To do so, they’ll ask you to share more about your experience, skills, and background:

  • Tell us about a time your confidence was shaken.
  • The field of nursing consists of interprofessional collaboration and teamwork. Describe a time when you worked as part of a highly diverse team.
  • Have you ever had to deal with someone who did not want your help? How did you deal with it?
  • What was your favorite class and why? What was your least favorite class and why?
  • In the past, how have you handled high-stress situations?

In-Depth Questions

The admissions committee will want to learn more about your thought process when it comes to challenging topics. To gain deeper insight into your views on healthcare and critical thinking skills, they may ask questions similar to the following: 

  • Why should we admit you over other qualified applicants for our nursing program?
  • What was the main factor that influenced your decision to become a nurse?
  • In your opinion, what stands out as the essential trait for a nurse to have?
  • You find out the pediatrician you’re working with refuses to work with children if their parents do not get them vaccinated. How would you deal with this situation? Is the Dr. being responsible? (Pro tip: these types of scenario-based questions are excellent study tools for the NCLEX as well!)
  • What do you think the most pressing issue is in health care in your location?

Policy Questions

The last type of question you can expect to be asked will involve healthcare policies. As a nurse, you’ll be expected to follow and modify policies to better patient outcomes. The committee will ask you policy-related questions to see how you navigate complicated policies and to assess your awareness of their broader implications:

  • What are your views on mandatory vaccinations for nurses?
  • What would you do if a patient discloses information that they do not want to share with the doctor?
  • How do you stay informed about evolving healthcare policies and their implications for nursing practice?
  • ​​Can you discuss a healthcare policy issue that you are passionate about and explain how you envision nurses being instrumental in addressing it?
  • Can you explain how you would handle a situation where a healthcare policy conflicted with the best interests of your patient?

Though there could be other questions you’re asked during your interview, the above examples offer an excellent foundation for your interview prep!

Nursing School Interview Questions and Answers

Now, we’ll go over three of the most common questions nursing school admissions committees like to ask and provide you with sample answers to inspire you.

Question 1: Tell Me About Yourself.

This is a very common interview question and is a great opportunity to tell the interviewer about how your schooling and life experiences shaped your decision to go to nursing school.

Sample Answer 

“I am Shonda King, and I grew up in a small town in New York State. My mother was a nurse, and I’ve always admired the work that she does. In high school, I volunteered at a local hospital which I loved, and this is what pushed me to study science in college. 

My fascination for science, and my desire to care for those who need it most, sparked my interest in the healthcare field. I spent a summer in Mexico working at a small family health clinic and found that the people I helped inspired me to always do my best. The resilience people showed in dark times helped me realize that I could do anything. 

This past year I have been working as a receptionist at a local doctor’s office, and it is there that I decided I wanted to be a nurse. I think all of my interests have worked together to get me on this path, and I hope to be a lifelong learner of science.”

Why This Answer Works

This answer would be considered good by the interviewer. The student briefly explains the life experiences that brought them to the decision to become a nurse. They also show that they have been dedicated to healthcare and helping others from a young age. 

When answering this question, you want to avoid simply restating your academic achievements; the school already has access to that information. Instead, move beyond what you discussed in your application and pick a few experiences that helped you decide that nursing was the right profession for you.

Question 2: Why Do You Want to Become a Nurse?

You can bet your interviewer will ask you this question or some variation of it! Nursing school is an arduous journey that doesn’t just end when you’ve written a compelling personal statement, reached your target GRE score and GPA, and gotten into your dream school. 

On top of completing a rigorous nursing degree, you’ll be expected to study diligently for the NCLEX and ace it! Getting through all of this will require dedication and motivation. The committee wants to learn more about why you chose to pursue such a challenging field and what will keep you motivated through the obstacles!

Sample Answer

“When I was fourteen and fell seriously ill, I had a firsthand encounter with the remarkable care and dedication of nurses. I vividly remember the nurse who tended to me during my 38-day hospital stay—her reassuring presence, kind words, and unwavering commitment to my well-being left an unshakeable mark on me. 

Witnessing the way she skillfully balanced her medical expertise with genuine compassion made me realize the profound impact nurses have on patients and their families. 

That experience inspired me to become a nurse myself to provide the same level of care and comfort to others that I received during my time of need. Now, I'm eager to channel my personal experience into a fulfilling career where I can make a positive difference in people's lives!”

Why This Answer Works

This answer works because it is highly personal and thus unique! It’s not vague and clearly shares the defining moment for this student to become a nurse and the type of nurse they hope to become. It also highlights redeeming nursing qualities that will surely impress the admissions committee!

Question 3: What Was the Main Factor That Influenced Your Decision to Become a Nurse?

This question is somewhat similar to the previous one, but it asks you to pinpoint one main factor that pushed you to pursue nursing. To answer it, be genuine and precise. You may want to also share a personal anecdote in your answer to make it stand out more!

Sample Answer

“I've always been fascinated by the human body and the intricacies of healthcare. However, it was a volunteer experience at a local community center that truly solidified my decision to become a nurse.

During one of my volunteering shifts, I had the privilege of assisting a nurse in conducting basic health screenings for underserved individuals. As we worked together, I witnessed the nurse's ability to connect with each person, providing not only medical support but also a sense of dignity and respect.

I was struck by the profound impact this nurse had on the community and realized that nursing was the perfect way for me to combine my passion for healthcare with my desire to make a meaningful difference. 

Ultimately, it was this collaboration between providing care and compassion to make a real difference that influenced me to pursue nursing.” 

Why This Works

Sharing this personal anecdote demonstrates the candidate's firsthand observation of the impact nurses can have on individuals' lives, showcasing their awareness of the importance of compassionate care and respect. The answer presents a well-rounded view of the candidate's motivations and aspirations in a concise and engaging manner.

Question 4: In Your Opinion, What Stands Out As the Essential Trait For a Nurse to Have?

Of course, there are countless traits that make a good nurse. The difficulty of this question is choosing just one! Ensure you spend some time brainstorming your answer to try to come up with something unique. Think about what kind of nurse you want to be and let this guide your answer.

Sample Answer

“In my opinion, the essential trait that sets exceptional nurses apart is adaptability. While compassion and technical skills are undeniably vital, the ability to effectively adapt in the ever-evolving healthcare landscape ensures optimal patient care. This not only extends to day-to-day tasks but to patient interactions. 

Considering every patient is unique, with diverse needs and communication styles, a nurse that can adapt their approach to best suit each patient is more likely to build trust and rapport with them, which is essential to prove them with the highest quality of care. In other words, adaptability is like the glue that holds everything together and ensures the best patient outcomes!”

Why This Works

This answer successfully focuses on one trait while also briefly mentioning other traits that are often thought to be the backbone of healthcare. They provide a unique explanation and tie it to critical aspects of nursing to demonstrate their understanding of the multi-faceted roles of nurses. 

Question 5: Nurses Often Complain About Long Shifts. In Your view, What Are Some of the Negative Side Effects of Having Nurses Work Prolonged Periods Without Rest?

While there are certainly less demanding nursing careers than others, you can expect to encounter high-pressure, stressful situations in any nursing role! As such, this question allows the interviewer to assess whether you’ve considered the difficulty of being a nurse and your commitment to the profession.

Sample Answer

“Though I see why nurses have to work long hours, I do see why it can be detrimental. The long hours can mean nurses might become sleep-deprived, which could cause mistakes to happen due to lack of concentration. Also, overnight shifts can be difficult if your body is used to being asleep at night or you have a hard time sleeping during the day. 

That said, I do think that working long hours can allow for more continuity of care, especially in settings like the ER. 

Too many shift changes would be very difficult on patients; having continuity of care allows the patient to feel more relaxed and form a trusting relationship with their nurse.”

Why This Answer Works

This response demonstrates that the student has put some thought into this issue and can form their own opinion. The interviewer wants to know that students are interested in the nursing profession as a whole and have thought about what it might be like to be a nurse. 

The answer also illustrates the student’s ability to use critical thinking to support their opinion with evidence. This is a skill needed in nursing school; sometimes there are no clear answers in the profession.  

Question 6: The Field of Nursing Consists of Interprofessional Collaboration and Teamwork. Describe a Time When You Worked As Part of a Highly Diverse Team.

This question is about your experience and how it might fit in with the nursing profession. Try to make your answer as specific as possible and be descriptive!

Sample Answer

“As a receptionist at the YYZ Health Clinic, I work with a diverse group of co-workers and patients daily. This experience has underscored the vital significance of attentive listening and ensuring all of the patient’s needs are met. 

Even if a patient is complaining, it is important to treat them with the utmost respect and let them voice their opinions without interrupting. Sometimes, what people want is to feel heard, so if you can provide a safe space for that, most patients will feel grateful.

When working with a diverse staff, respect always remains at the forefront. You want to treat each practitioner with equal regard, no matter their designation or role. I have observed the caregivers treat everyone with dignity and what a drastic impact it has on the rapport built between them and the patients. 

I have also learned the importance of not presuming knowledge about cultural practices without first taking the initiative to ask questions and understand.”

Why This Answer Works:

The above answer is a great example of how to use your experiences to highlight your readiness to enter the profession. 

It also demonstrates that you care about your role as a nurse within the healthcare system. Being able to work well with others is vital in nursing. This answer shows the interviewer that you value collaboration and understand the importance of working with a diverse team in the workplace.   

Question 7: Why Should We Admit You Over Other Qualified Applicants For Our Nursing Program?

This question often trips students up as it can lead to them making the mistake of bashing other applicants that they don’t even know! Steer clear of this approach entirely. 

Focus more on what makes you a qualified candidate rather than what makes them less qualified!

Sample Answer

“While I can’t attest to the qualities of other candidates, I can attest to the fact that I’m a candidate with a deep-seated compassion for patient care that has and continues to fuel my commitment to joining the healthcare field and providing the highest level of care. 

I thrive in fast-paced and demanding environments, consistently demonstrating adaptability and a calm demeanor, which I believe are vital traits for effective nursing. 

My unique background completing several medical brigades in developing countries also equips me with the ability to connect with diverse patients on a personal level, fostering a culture of inclusivity and understanding.”

Why This Works

This answer works because it succinctly and effectively addresses the question while highlighting the candidate's key strengths and qualities compellingly. It does not spend any time trying to diminish the qualities of the other candidates, but instead highlights the student’s qualifications and underscores what makes them unique! 

They also demonstrate their potential to be compassionate, culturally sensitive, and inclusive, all of which will impress the interviewers! 

Question 8: What Are Your Views on Mandatory Vaccinations for Nurses?

Some of the vaccinations nurses are highly recommended or required to get include the flu shot, tetanus, diphtheria, Hepatitis B vaccines, and sometimes the COVID-19 vaccine. 

These vaccines help keep both the nurses and patients safe, so nursing school committees often expect students to prove their trust in science and agree with these mandatory vaccines. 

Sample Answer

“As an aspiring nurse, I recognize the importance of maintaining a safe and healthy healthcare environment for both patients and healthcare professionals. Mandatory vaccinations for nurses can play a crucial role in achieving this goal. While I respect individual rights and personal beliefs, I believe that patient safety and public health should be the top priority in a healthcare setting.

Mandatory vaccinations help prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases and protect vulnerable patients who may have compromised immune systems or other health conditions. By ensuring that healthcare workers are immunized, we create a shield of protection around patients, reducing the risk of potential outbreaks within healthcare facilities and ensuring we provide them with the utmost care. 

That being said, I understand that discussions around mandatory vaccinations can involve ethical and personal considerations. So, it's important to approach this topic with sensitivity and engage in open dialogue to address any concerns or questions that hesitant healthcare professionals may have.”

Why This Works

This answer works because it demonstrates this student’s understanding of the importance of vaccines, while also shedding light on the contrasting viewpoint. This showcases their well-rounded knowledge of the topic. 

By using the above examples, you should be able to prepare your own answers for any difficult questions that come up!

But, in case you’re still feeling unprepared for your interview, consider doing some mock interview prep with our admissions experts for that extra boost of confidence you’re looking for! 


Here are a few of the top questions aspiring nursing students have about their interviews:

1. How Do You Introduce Yourself In a Nursing School Interview?

The best way to introduce yourself is by saying a short statement with your name, where you come from, and what school you attended. If they need more information from you, they will ask.

2. What Questions Should I Ask At The End Of My Nursing School Interview?

Asking the interviewer about themselves is always a good thing to do in an interview. That way, it shows that you are interested in them, and you might learn a bit about the different paths people take after nursing school.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for your interview can be difficult, but with the right help, you can be sure to pass it easily. Try to practice different nursing school interview questions so you feel prepared for anything and good luck!

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