Nurse Job Interview Questions About Stress

stressed nurse on computer with doctor looking over shoulder
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Nursing is not an easy job, juggling communication with doctors, patients and families, all while potentially dealing with life and death on a daily basis. An interviewer is looking for three things when asking you about stress on the job as a nurse:

  1. Whether you acknowledge that stress is an actuality at work

  2. If you have a good handle on how stress affects you personally

  3. If you can rise to the challenge in dealing with stress

    Techniques for Answering Questions About Stress

    • Describe a particular incident when you were under significant pressure and how you dealt with it.
    • Discuss your strategies for prioritizing work so you don't become overwhelmed.
    • Give examples of your problem-solving abilities.
    • Describe how a stressful work environment motivates you and enables you to thrive.
    • Talk about how you perform under pressure and what abilities you draw on.
    • Talk about specific things at work that stress you and the reasons why.
    • Describe how you are able to identify a problem and address it when it's minor to prevent it from becoming large, unmanageable and stressful.
    • Describe how you're able to deal with many tasks and responsibilities in a limited period of time.

    How Do You Handle Stress? Sample Answers

    Here are some sample answers to an interview question about how you handle stress.

    • I handle stress by focusing on the most important thing, the care of the patient. I feel I owe it to my patients to stay calm and focused on them.
    • In the ER setting, there are often stressful situations that arise. I just make sure that the stresses of the job don't interfere with the care of the patient.
    • I find that I don't react to stress in the moment; when I'm under pressure, I focus and rise to the occasion.
    • I like a fast-paced, pressure-filled environment--it makes my job invigorating.
    • I make sure to exercise every night which helps me reduce stress.
    • I am generally an easy going person, and I don't allow on the job stress to interfere with my work.
    • I thrive on stress and it enables me to do the best possible job. I just need to make sure that I balance positive and negative stress as the former keeps me motivated and productive.
    • I respond to situations as opposed to stress.
    • I talk with my team to see how together we can reduce stress as a whole.
    • As long as I can prioritize, I feel like I have a stressful situation under control.
    • Stress makes me feel alive and I thrive on that energy.
    • I tend to stay calm under pressure which makes it easier to get the job done.
    • I up my game under pressure and succeed in a challenging environment that comes with stress.