You’ve weighed the pros and cons, applied for that home health nurse role, and got the call you’ve been waiting for. Now it’s time to go and interview for the position.
The questions you’ll hear in your home health nurse interview will be a bit different than other registered nurse specialties. Why? Because home health nurses typically work outside of clinical settings.
But the interview process doesn’t have to be difficult. We’ve provided the information needed to answer any question with ease.
In this post, we will go over:
- Common interview questions
- Unusual interview questions
- Questions to ask your interviewer
- Additional interview prep tips
What are some common interview questions?
1. “Can you tell me about yourself?”
This is a standard question, but one of the most important ones! Although this is an expected question, being put on the spot like this tends to trip people up. The best thing to do is answer this question clearly with confidence. This is the chance to sell yourself and give the interviewer a snapshot of why you’re the best candidate for the job!
Naturally, experience and answers will vary from person to person as we all have a different story to tell. A good answer format to follow will be something that covers a bit of your past, present, and future. This is as simple as going over your past experience/knowledge, what your current role is and how you excel, and finally, where you see yourself in 5-10 years.
We also cover some additional common questions in-depth in our 17 top interview questions post.
2. “Why did you decide to become a home health nurse?“
Employers want to see that you are applying for this position for the right reasons. A great way to approach this question is to emphasize some points on why you’re passionate about home health nursing and some personality traits that align with this.
“I decided to pursue home health nursing because I want to help patients and families on a more personal level. I love the opportunity to support and care for patients from the comfort of their own home.”
3. “Do you have any certifications or specialties?”
This is a straightforward question where you can go into detail about any certifications or specialties you may or may not have listed on your resume.
“I currently have my ACLS, BLS, and CPR certifications and am studying for my WOCN certification.“
4. “Have you ever struggled to find a solution to a patient’s health problem? What did you do?”
When an interviewer asks you this, they are trying to get an understanding of how well you are at problem-solving. This is a great question to implement any standard procedures you’ve learned at school or on the job that can be applied in other situations.
“I make sure to discuss the patient’s care plan with the cross-functional team to determine if there are any avenues of care that I might be missing. Also, making sure to involve the patient’s family or support system to ensure compliance and collaboration is important. Something even as simple as encouraging the use of a pill organizer can help a patient with memory problems remember to take their medication.“
5. “Give an example of a time you had a difficult situation and had to come up with a creative solution to fix it?”
This question is very similar to the prior question. However, you have a bit more leniency when they ask for creative solutions. They are looking for a response that can detail a situation where you’ve come into a problem at work, your thought process in finding a solution, and what you did.
“One time I was visiting a patient who had a pet that was difficult to control. We determined the pet had anxiety when anyone would touch the patient and acted aggressively. After speaking with the patient it was determined that the pet could be near the patient in a crate while I performed the home visit. That way the pet was in the same room and could see what was going on but we were all safe to be in the same room together. With the permission of the patient I even started bringing treats for the pet and built a relationship with it to where it soon trusted me when I would enter the home! “
6. “Give an example of a time you had to relay negative health information to a patient or family? Walk me through the conversation and reaction.”
The MD will always be the one to diagnose, but often RNs are the support system after the diagnosis is given. First, you should make sure the family and patient have the time they need to process.
“The patient just received terminal CA diagnosis- give them space and time to process while offering support both physically and emotionally. I would sit with them- listen to their concerns- often cry with them as this is life-changing information. I would then let them know I am here as a resource. Often the patient goes through the grieving process and they may experience denial, anger, frustration, and fear and I would let them know this is normal. I make sure to go at the pace of the patient to ultimately help them feel like they are getting the support they need. Having the security and consistency in knowing I am available often helps a patient feel confident even in times of devastating and uncertain news.“
Pro tip: When employers ask “example” questions like these, they are trying to see if you can be proactive and a problem-solver. This is always a great time to highlight times you have taken the initiative in situations.
7. “What would you do if a patient was declining in the home but the family is reluctant to take them to the hospital?”
As a home health nurse, you will be in more personal situations with the families you deal with. So, employers are looking to see that you have found a good balance between being empathetic to the family’s wishes while still being firm in doing your job to care for the patient.
It’s important to both respect the family’s wishes and still follow orders. Oftentimes, this is where educating the family comes in. If the family has certain medical documents in place like a DNR- then the patient can stay home. If a DNR is not in place- EMS may need to be activated and at that time it would be best to educate the family on what needs to be in place if they do not wish for more medical intervention: DNR, Advanced Directive, POA, etc.
8. “A patient of yours has a new medication the family wants to start. The family has asked that you give it without a physical prescription in the home for said medication. What do you do?”
This question is another scenario question that they are using to gauge whether you are a good fit for the role they are seeking to fill. There’s no sure way to tell what employers are looking for, as each will be looking for something different. But just remember – answering how you would honestly handle the situation ensures that the hospital will align with your methods as well.
“Let the family know that it’s important to review all medication with the physician to be sure that there won’t be any risk of negative medication interaction with the patient’s already prescribed meds. I won’t be able to administer a medication that isn’t prescribed to the patient that isn’t listed on their approved medication administration in their chart. I would offer to make a follow-up appointment with their physician to further discuss adding the medication in the future.”
9. “Do you have a current caseload? How do you manage this?”
This is a time-management question to give your interviewer an idea of your personality and how you handle your typical workload. Interviewers are looking for candidates, to be honest about their workflow to evaluate if you will be a good fit for the team.
“I currently have 5 patients I see daily. I allow each patient a two hour window so we both have an understanding of when and how long I will be there. It also allows me to plan for my day. Each day is different and unexpected things can come up any time, but I find I maintain my caseload the best when I plan my days and maintain a structure for my patients.”
What are some unusual questions?
Occasionally, you may be asked some more challenging questions that may catch you off-guard. Here are some tougher questions that may be thrown at you, and how you can handle them.
1. “How do you deal with cultural differences?”
As a nurse, you’ll come across many different people from different walks of life. So, it’s important that you are open to respecting and hearing out different solutions from patients with cultural differences from you. Here is a great way to address that question.
“I treat everyone with respect and work hard to appreciate the differences that some have regarding their cultural background. As long as I am not working outside of my scope of practice underneath my license I am happy to provide accommodations to meet my patient’s needs. Something as simple as removing my shoes when I enter a person’s house can go a long way and make that person feel appreciated.”
2. “How do you handle your emotions at work?”
An important quality for nurses to have is to be level-headed. So, it’s no surprise that they’ll inquire about how you handle your emotions at such a high-stress level job. Bringing up situations that will show qualities of being rational, and not easily unnerved will help you stand out.
“When I don’t understand something at work, I seek out help. I don’t let my pride get in the way of quality patient care. I generally ask someone who has more experience than me to help out and do it in a timely manner.”
3. “How do you deal with a supervisor that asks you to do something you’re not comfortable with?”
It’s important to make sure that you let anyone know if you are not comfortable with doing something. Employers aren’t just looking for someone who will orders or follow procedures in a situation it won’t make sense. So, they’ll ask you questions like this to gauge your ability to tell when a situation may need a special solution outside of what would typically be standard procedure.
“I would make sure to let them know if it was something I wasn’t comfortable with because I wasn’t trained- I would request to watch and then do so I can learn and be available next time. If it is a task that I am not comfortable with because I think it is against policy, I would politely decline and follow up with why I am not able to perform the task and to let me know if the policy changes and I can review the task again.”
What are questions to ask your interviewer?
Interviewers love when the people they are interviewing have questions for them as well. It indicates a genuine interest in the company and that you’ve done your research. Asking the right questions is a great way to be a standout candidate.
So, what are the right questions? Questions that give interviewers the chance to describe their leadership and work environment are perfect. Asking these questions will also help you as well in deciding if the role is a fit or not. Remember, you’re interviewing them as well!
Here are some questions that are appropriate to ask and will resonate with your interviewer:
- How would you describe your style of leadership?
- What kind of culture do you facilitate in your unit?
- What kind of resources are available to me if I have questions about policies and procedures?
- Are there opportunities for participation in unit-based organizations (ie. unit council or spirit council)?
- How is employee morale prioritized?
- How do you and your leadership help incentivize the staff to do their best work during these hard times?
- What are some expectations you have for the staff under your leadership?
What are some other steps for interview prep?
During interviews, there are certain keywords and phrases that employers are looking to hear. A great tip for candidates is to review the keywords included in the job description. It will also be good to brush up on the qualifications of the job description before the interview.
Review the company’s mission and vision statements
In addition to reviewing the job description, you will also want to make sure you are familiar with the company’s mission and vision statements, as it will show you’ve done your research.
Looking presentable is one of the most important factors when it comes to acing the interview. This means no excessive makeup, hair looks neat, and so on. Overall, just look well-groomed.
What to wear
As for interview attire, there has been a trend of wearing more casual clothing. Although this is becoming more common, it’s still not advised! When you are picking out what to wear for your big interview, you want to think at least business casual.
Being on time is essential in almost every aspect of your life, but arriving late can be costly. As a potential candidate, you want to put your best foot forward and show you can be dependable on the job by showing up 15 minutes early. You only get one chance for a first impression, and this will ensure you start on the right foot.
We know the entire hiring process can be exhausting, so we’re here to help! Our talent advocate team is made up of experienced registered nurses with varying specialty experience who have been in your shoes. We offer 1:1 interview coaching, support, and advice throughout your decision-making process.
- “28 Nursing Interview Questions & Answers to Land Your Dream Job.” geriatricnursing.org. Accessed Mar. 24, 2022.
- “A Complete Guide to Answering “Tell Me About Yourself” in an Interview.” health.usnews.com. Accessed Mar. 24, 2022.