Andrew Wettengel / Thursday, January 27, 2022 / Categories: Work World


So, your resume has piqued the interest of a hiring manager for your next nursing job assignment. Now what? For most people, scoring an interview for a job means preparing to stand out as a memorable, first-choice candidate, and it’s no different for traveling nurses. Whether this is your first or fiftieth time traveling as a nurse, it’s always good to prepare for any questions that may arise during your interview.

When it comes down to it, interviewers are looking for four qualities from travel nurses: experience, flexibility, a positive attitude, and the ability to be a team player. To set yourself apart from other candidates, you’ll want to show your prospective employer how you exhibit these attributes and that you understand the fundamentals of nursing.

By preparing in advance, you’ll know exactly how to nail a travel nurse interview. Be prepared to answer any question thoroughly, thoughtfully, and passionately for the position. You’ll want to offer responses demonstrating your clinical abilities and past work experiences.

Below are some common questions you may be asked during your next travel nursing interview. Even if your interview ends up being over the phone, doing some preparation ahead of time will ensure that you can still set yourself apart in the best possible way.

1.    Why do you believe you are a good candidate for this job?

Your answer to this question should involve a combination of what you already know and what you want to learn from the job. Any specialized or technical skills for the position should be included, as well as your personality and how you’ll fit into the workplace culture. Your employer will expect to hear about your work experience and personality since they are evaluating how well you will mesh with their current team.

Other information to include in your answer may involve your ability to engage patients, how you’ve cared for and treated people in the past, your passion for working in healthcare, and what you do in your day-to-day job to go the extra mile.

2.    What is your specialty, and what certifications do you have?

Besides having a degree, many nurses exhibit extra certifications depending on what units they’ve worked in before. If you’re interviewing for a specialized unit, such as the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or Labor and Delivery, you’ll want to show your interviewer that you have the correct qualifications and licenses.

This question helps the interviewer to determine your motivation in nursing and what professional training you’ve had in the past.

3.    Where did you receive your initial nursing training?

The employer may ask where you initially had your nursing training. This question is to help them corroborate your license, experience, and what expertise you already have. Nurses must provide top-notch care, so it’s important to confirm that they were properly trained initially.

4.    Do you have any previous experience as a travel nurse?

For this question, highlight any relevant experience you’ve had as a traveling nurse in the past. Your interviewer will want to know your past experiences and how you felt about those job assignments.

If you’ve never traveled before, don’t panic. This question is a great time to highlight what you’re hoping to learn from the position and your excitement in gaining more experience.

5.    What type of hospital or healthcare settings have you worked in before?

Travel nursing assignments can vary depending on where they’re located. Working as a nurse in a rural area versus a larger healthcare facility in a city will offer different experiences and patient cases. You may have worked in a local community healthcare center that handled minor cases or a teaching hospital that dealt with extreme trauma. The patient populations and circumstances in these two locations will look different.

Wherever you’ve worked, it’s important to highlight all general nursing skills you have and patient situations you’ve dealt with before. Your future employer will need to determine how much training you’ll need.

6.    Why do you want to be a travel nurse?

There may be many reasons you choose to become a travel nurse. Travel nursing offers many benefits, including a competitive salary, health benefits, weekly stipends, the opportunity to visit new places, and more.

During your interview, be sure to highlight your passion for nursing and what opportunities travel nursing can offer you. While the benefits are nice, travel nursing is also a great chance to gain more experience for your resume, meet new people, and help patients who are located nationwide.

7.    How do you respond to high-stress situations?

Nurses must be able to handle unexpected situations and adapt quickly to change, especially when health emergencies arise. Your interviewer will want to know your level of adaptability, especially when placed under stress or when your team needs extra support. They may even describe a hypothetical scenario in which you’d have to discuss how you would respond in that situation.

When answering this question, always highlight your capability to be flexible, your leadership skills, and your ability to work with others on a team. If you have to think of an answer for a hypothetical situation, you’ll want to discuss the best possible outcome for both the patient and the healthcare facility.

8.    How do you handle difficult or anxious patients?

Patients and their families experience a range of emotions, including happiness, anxiety, and pain. Patients especially must cope with medical issues that may make them angry or stressed. During your travel nurse interview, your future employer will want to know how you respond and act in these situations.

The interviewer will assess your ability to interact with patients and calm them down. Your approach to handling difficult patient situations, especially for those who are extremely anxious, will tell your interviewer a lot about your experience and working style as a nurse.

9.    What is a time where you successfully handled a patient crisis?

Similarly, your interviewer will also want to know an example of a time when you successfully handled a stressful situation with a patient. Be sure to highlight your method for quickly making a decision and how you chose to continue managing care for the patient.

10. Tell me about a time you made an error on the job. What happened, and how did you handle it?

Even in the medical field, mistakes happen. When you’re first starting out in nursing, you may make more mistakes than others. This question during the interview serves to show how you handle mistakes, what you learned from the experience, and how you will use what you learned going forward.

11. Are you willing to continue to learn?

When it comes to travel nursing, hiring managers do expect nurses to adapt quickly to their new assignments. In doing so, nurses must be willing to continue their education as they gain exposure to new patient situations.

You can answer this question by including an example where you quickly absorbed new information and adapted quickly.

12. How do you stay up to date on the latest technologies and trends in nursing?

The interviewer may evaluate your dedication to the job by seeing if you’re keeping up with the latest technology in the medical field. Your willingness to learn shows them that they can depend on you, even in the short time of a travel nursing assignment. 

In your answer, be sure to highlight any conferences or workshops you’ve attended, professional development courses you’ve completed, or if you read any medical publications. Keeping up in your professional sphere allows you to adapt to new technologies and trends as they’re introduced into the field.

13. What are your greatest strengths as a nurse?

It’s always best to highlight your greatest strengths to show why you deserve the nursing position. You’ll want to relate your strengths and experience to how it fits the interviewing hospital’s circumstances. To prepare, consider making a list of your relevant strengths and examples of when you exhibited these strengths.

During your interview, the interviewer might also ask about your weaknesses. When discussing your weaknesses, attempt to paint them in a more positive light and highlight what you’ve learned from them.

14. How do you work as part of a team?

It’s vital for all those in healthcare to work as a team. For the sake of the patient’s well-being, doctors, nurses, and other medical staff must work together to arrive at the best possible outcome. Your interviewer may ask about times in the past when you’ve worked as a team or put your team’s needs before your own.

15. What is your greatest accomplishment and why?

Your answer to this question doesn’t necessarily have to be a professional accomplishment. Still, you’ll always want to tie in your success stories to the position and how you’ll incorporate what you’ve learned into your work.

16. What is your favorite thing about being a nurse?

Whether it’s caring for patients, working for the greater good, or working on a team, it’s always good to highlight your favorite things about being a nurse and why you’re passionate about your job.

17. Why do you want to work with us?

This is arguably the most important question during a travel nursing interview. This is your opportunity to show what you know about the organization, such as its values and mission statements, and how they align with your own. You should also discuss what skills you bring to the table that can add more value to the organization.

Patient satisfaction is the most important goal for any healthcare facility. Because of this, be sure to include how providing quality, compassionate care to all patients is important to you.

With a little practice and preparation, you’ll be ready to land your dream travel nursing position. At OneStaff Medical, we constantly place candidates that we feel would make great traveling nurses. To learn more about our agency, contact us today at 877-783-1483 or browse our current job listings.

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