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Director of Nursing interview questions and answers

These Director of Nursing interview questions will help you look for the most important skills and qualifications in your candidates. Use them as a guide and adjust to your needs.

Nikoletta Bika
Nikoletta Bika

Nikoletta holds an MSc in HR management and has written extensively about all things HR and recruiting.

director of nursing interview questions

10 good director of nursing interview questions

  1. What would you do if a nurse wasn’t following your instructions?
  2. How would you resolve a conflict between two members of your staff?
  3. A angry family member of a patient comes into your office and starts complaining in a loud voice. How do you handle this?
  4. What team building methods do you use?
  5. How would you ensure compliance to legal and quality standards across all nursing units?
  6. Imagine you’re having a conflict with a physician. What would be your approach to resolve it?
  7. What do you look for when recruiting nurses?
  8. What’s your experience in evaluating staff?
  9. How do you ensure efficiency of nursing operations?
  10. What’s your experience with fiscal management?

Here are 10 essential interview questions and sample answers to help identify the best candidates for this role.

What would you do if a nurse wasn’t following your instructions?

This question aims to assess the candidate’s leadership skills and their ability to enforce policies and procedures.

Sample Answer:

“First, I would have a private conversation with the nurse to understand the reason behind the non-compliance. If it’s a misunderstanding, I would clarify the instructions. If it’s willful neglect, disciplinary action may be necessary.”

How would you resolve a conflict between two members of your staff?

This question evaluates the candidate’s conflict resolution skills.

Sample Answer:

“I would arrange a meeting with the two staff members involved to hear both sides. I would then facilitate a discussion to find common ground and propose a solution that respects both parties.”

A angry family member of a patient comes into your office and starts complaining in a loud voice. How do you handle this?

This question tests the candidate’s interpersonal skills and ability to handle stressful situations.

Sample Answer:

“I would remain calm and listen to the family member’s concerns without interrupting. Then, I would address the issue directly or escalate it to the appropriate department.”

What team building methods do you use?

This question assesses the candidate’s ability to foster teamwork and a positive work environment.

Sample Answer:

“I believe in regular team meetings and open communication. I also organize team-building activities and encourage peer recognition to boost morale.”

How would you ensure compliance to legal and quality standards across all nursing units?

This question gauges the candidate’s understanding of healthcare regulations and quality standards.

Sample Answer:

“I would conduct regular audits and training sessions. I would also keep myself updated on any changes in healthcare laws to ensure that the facility remains compliant.”

Imagine you’re having a conflict with a physician. What would be your approach to resolve it?

This question evaluates the candidate’s ability to work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals.

Sample Answer:

“I would request a private meeting with the physician to discuss the issue openly and honestly, aiming for a solution that benefits patient care.”

What do you look for when recruiting nurses?

This question assesses the candidate’s criteria for hiring nursing staff.

Sample Answer:

“I look for candidates who not only have the necessary qualifications but also fit the culture of the facility. Soft skills like empathy and communication are equally important.”

What’s your experience in evaluating staff?

This question gauges the candidate’s experience in staff assessment and performance reviews.

Sample Answer:

“I have conducted annual performance reviews, focusing on both strengths and areas for improvement. I believe in constructive feedback and setting achievable goals.”

How do you ensure efficiency of nursing operations?

This question tests the candidate’s managerial skills and operational efficiency.

Sample Answer:

“I regularly review workflows and consult with staff to identify bottlenecks or inefficiencies. I then implement changes to streamline operations.”

What’s your experience with fiscal management?

This question assesses the candidate’s ability to manage budgets and financial resources.

Sample Answer:

“I have experience in budget planning and monitoring. I work closely with the finance department to ensure that resources are allocated efficiently.”

What does a good director of nursing candidate look like?

A strong candidate for the Director of Nursing position should possess both clinical and managerial expertise. They should be adept at conflict resolution, team building, and compliance with healthcare regulations.



Director Of Nursing Interview Questions

Directors of nursing are registered nurses who have skills and training in healthcare management (often accompanied by a master’s in nursing). When evaluating candidates, you should be looking at two aspects: their hands-on experience in nursing and their managerial acumen.

Superior expertise in nursing is vital to direct patient care and oversee clinical operations. As directors they must have skills in training, evaluating and recruiting staff as well as administrative tasks (record-keeping, budgeting etc.). Commitment to excellent patient care and compliance is vital.

During the interview, discuss their nursing experience. Ask behavioral or situational questions inspired by real cases to assess leadership, teamwork and problem-solving. Look for candidates who keep calm under stress and demonstrate they can resolve conflicts. If the position has a specialty area like admissions or recruiting, tailor your questions accordingly. Often, their job may involve strategic planning so make a point to discover their relevant skills.

Let’s summarize some of the questions and add a few more divided into specific types.

Operational and Situational questions

  • What would you do if a nurse wasn’t following your instructions?
  • How would you resolve a conflict between two members of your staff?
  • A angry family member of a patient comes into your office and starts complaining in a loud voice. How do you handle this?
  • What team building methods do you use?
  • How would you ensure compliance to legal and quality standards across all nursing units?
  • Imagine you’re having a conflict with a physician. What would be your approach to resolve it?

Role-specific questions

  • What do you look for when recruiting nurses?
  • What’s your experience in evaluating staff?
  • How do you ensure efficiency of nursing operations?
  • What do you do differently when managing newly trained nurses as opposed to experienced ones?
  • What kind of patients did you deal with as a nurse?
  • What’s your experience in policy-making?
  • Do you think nursing or management skills are more important for a director of nursing?
  • What’s your experience with fiscal management?
  • Do you miss your duties as a nurse? How do you keep that knowledge fresh?

Behavioral questions

  • Tell me about a difficult case you handled as a nurse. How would you train your subordinates to handle similar cases?
  • Give me an example of a time you improved efficiency in clinical operations
  • Tell me about a time one of your staff didn’t get a positive performance review. What did you do about it?
  • Give me an example of a time you filled in for a higher level manager
  • Tell me about a time you were short-staffed. How did you ensure patient care standards were met?
  • Recall a time you made an unpopular decision. How did you ensure it was followed through?
  • Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with another director. What did you do?

Frequently asked questions

Ready to fine-tune this interview kit?
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