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Director of Nursing Sample Job Interview Questions

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Local Regulations

A Director of Nursing position is primarily responsible for leading the nursing department. Nurse managers and directors are responsible for managing other nursing personnel such as registered nursing assistants in the delivery of patient care.  Nursing Directors work in hospitals, care homes, and clinics. As such, you can expect your job interview to focus on leadership and management skills. Ensure that your responses incorporate knowledge of local health regulations. By including the types of local health regulations that you were required to meet into your answer, you will be demonstrating your deep experience as understanding as a nursing management professional.

Leading a Team of Nurses

Sure, it’s easy to lead a team of superstars or star performers. In reality every team will have strong performers and weaker performers. The test of any good leader in nursing or otherwise, is the ability to get the most out of every team member, even the weaker performers. Come to your job interview with examples of when you had to handle performance issues. Here we are not looking just for you to tell the interviewer that you fired or disciplined a nurse for not meeting your performance expectations. What we want to see is your ability to provide coaching, and critical feedback clear and critical feedback to your teams. In other words, show the interviewer what you did to help the individual that was not meeting expectations including coaching, discipline, up to and including termination.  Top hospitals want to hire firm but fair nursing directors.

Managing A Nursing Budget

The other important skill aside from managing people is the ability to manage numbers or the financials. Here you want to explain or describe to the interviewer the size of the budget that you had previously managed. So come prepared to the job interview with some financial numbers from the previous budgets you’ve managed. In addition it is always helpful to be able to relay the financial indicators of your successful budget management. An example would be that you managed a budget of $1,000,000 and for 5 years you were meeting all budget targets and in the black.  This type of response would be a nice short and succinct answer to show the hospital administrator that you won’t squander the budget that you are given.

Director of Nursing – Hospice Sample Job Interview Questions


Here are sample Director of Nursing – Hospice job interview questions designed specifically for the Nursing career field.  The focus in the questions below will be on the nursing management competencies of leading direct reports, setting department goals, etc.  It is assumed that applicants for this position will have had direct nursing experience.  It is strongly recommended that you also review the interview tips for Registered Nurses as they cover questions related to direct patient care.

Be sure to check out more Nursing interview questions.

Describe your experience with providing continuous Nursing care to terminally ill patients.

What was the size of the nursing budget you managed in your last job?

Tell me about a time when you had to carry out physician orders and a Plan of Care that you disagreed with. How did you handle this?

What do you find most challenging when providing one-on-one care and supporting to patients and their families allowing them to experience their remaining time as fully as possible. Why?

Describe a time when in the process of determining multiple priorities in your nursing department, you were mindful of the strategic goals of the organization.

Nursing budgets are tight.  How do you ensure you manage your nursing budget effectively so that supplies and equipment are always available?

How do you motivate nurses to provide quality, compassionate care?

Tell me a bit more about your background with instructing and supervising patient care techniques, preventative and rehabilitative measures, to the patient, family, home health aide.

How do you stay on top of new information, findings, techniques in hospice, medical, surgical, oncology or home care?

Tell me about a nurse who was not meeting your performance standards.  How did you handle this.

Sometimes people have to bend safety or security rules to finish a job. Share some examples of when you had to do this.

Describe a time when you RN or RNA who reported to you was struggling to meet the department work objectives or standards. How did you respond this?

Role play your response to the above question. I will play the role of a RN who is not meeting objectives and you will play the role of nurse manager.

Describe your experience in establishing department policies, procedures and practices.

How do you monitor the performance of your nurses? Give some examples.

Describe of the key performance indicators of your last job in nursing management.