Tips for Your Travel Nursing Job Interview

The most important thing to know about the travel nursing job interview is that it’s your time to find out everything you possibly can about the hospital, the unit, and the expectations they have. Even if your recruiter has given you answers to certain questions you had about these subjects, you should still address all your questions during the interview. This is because, given the fluid nature of the travel nursing job market and the various managed vendor relationship models, it’s very difficult, and sometimes impossible, for  recruiters to get timely and accurate answers to questions you may have about the hospital, the unit, and various policies that may be important to you.

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Can’t I just ask my recruiter?

It’s common to assume that a recruiter can provide answers for all job related questions. Unfortunately, this is not the case. You see, it’s extremely rare for a recruiter to be permitted to contact the hospital directly. Imagine how many calls unit managers and hospital staffing offices would be fielding if the hundreds of recruiters engaged in staffing a particular travel nursing job were to have the ability to call with any question they didn’t have an answer for.

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Instead, there are several common scenarios when recruiters answer hospital related questions and few of them are 100% reliable. In almost every situation, the recruiter must go through an intermediary to get your questions answered. First, it’s standard for agencies to employ “Account Managers.” An account manager is responsible for communicating with the agency’s clients. So all questions that need to be answered by the hospital get routed through an agency Account Manager.

Second, many hospitals utilize Vendor Management Services. These services are designed to help hospitals manage all the staffing agencies they work with. When hospitals use a Vendor Management Service, then all communication with the hospital must be routed through the service. This adds yet another layer of insulation between the recruiter and the hospital.

Finally, most hospitals rout all incoming inquires through their staffing offices. This means that Unit Managers, the ones ultimately capable of answering the most important questions you may have, are rarely, if ever, directly contactable.

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These layers of insulation can cause two significant  problems. First, you may not get the correct information. Your question may get answered by someone along this chain who doesn’t really have the correct answer, or important details may get lost in translation. Second, this process can result in significant delays that could ultimately cost you the assignment.

In some cases, your recruiter may feel that they are able to answer your questions on their own. Recruiters may rely on generic unit descriptions provided by the hospital. Recruiters may also rely on their own past experiences with other travelers at the same hospital. In both cases, there may have been significant changes that the recruiter is unaware of that could impact issues important to you. And in the worst case scenario, the recruiter may just fabricate an answer in order to avoid the potentially lengthy delays in getting an answer directly from the hospital.

It’s also important to note that when a job opening is made public, the notice often includes little more than the unit, the shift, the desired start date, and the contract length.

This all means that travel nurses must take the interview as an opportunity to get their questions answered, especially if the issues are important in the decision-making process.

What not to ask

First, it’s important to note that there are subjects that you will not be able to address in your interview. Questions regarding the travel nursing pay package and anything related to the services provided by the agency should be taken up with your recruiter. For all intents and purposes, only questions pertaining to the hospital itself should be taken up with hospital personnel. It’s not the end of the world if you ask them other questions; they just won’t have the answers.

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Questions You May Want to Ask During a Travel Nursing Interview

What’s the name and title of the person interviewing you?

Verify the name and location of the hospital. This doesn’t need to be done with the interviewer. However, it should be verified with someone. Mistakes are made.

  1. Do they use travelers often?
  2. How many travelers are there now?
  3. What’s the shift?
  4. Why is there a need for a traveler?
  5. What’s the float policy?
  6. What units will I be expected to float to?
  7. Will I be working the same shift times/schedule as your permanent staff?
  8. What’s the nurse to patient ratio on the unit?
  9. What type of support staff is available?
  10. What types of patients does the unit typically see?
  11. What charting system is used?
  12. What medication system and protocols are in place?
  13. How many beds are in the hospital? (It’s probably best to look this up before the interview along with things like the trauma level, teaching status, etc.)
  14. How many beds are in the unit?
  15. Is there call? If so, how often?
  16. Will you take charge duty?
  17. Is overtime available and/or required?
  18. What is the policy for meals and breaks?
  19. What’s the report process?
  20. Are you invited to attend unit meetings? If so, how often are they?
  21. What’s the orientation process?
  22. Will I get the contracted number of hours during my orientation week?
  23. Are there any examinations given prior to starting the assignment?
  24. If the examinations are failed, is the traveler sent home, or does the hospital remediate and retest?
  25. How is the schedule determined?
  26. Did you see my requested time off? Can it be approved?
  27. What’s the parking situation at the hospital, free or paid?
  28. What are the uniform requirements?
  29. Ask any questions that are specific to your unit.

Finally, if you want anything related to your working conditions to be added to your contract, then you should ask the interviewer if it’s possible to do so. This can include things like requested time off during the contract, specific agreements regarding the hospital’s float policy, or issues pertaining to scheduling.

The importance of getting your questions answered

You may be wondering why it’s so important to get some of these questions answered directly by the hospital. After all, you’ll be signing a contract that could address some of these issues whether you cover them with the hospital or not. However, the contract that you sign is between you and the agency, not you and the hospital.

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This is an important distinction. You see, the agency has a separate contract with the hospital that governs the working relationship between them and the hospital, which includes issues pertaining to the agency’s travelers. These agreements can be amended on a case by case basis through the “Confirmation.”

Agencies send confirmations to their client hospitals for each and every travel nursing contract that is offered and accepted. The confirmation includes basic variables like the traveler’s name, the start date, the end date, the shift, etc. It can also include any agreements you make with the hospital during the interview. Variables like time-off, float policies, etc., can all be included in the confirmation. And a hospital representative signs the confirmation and returns a copy to the agency.

This way, if something doesn’t go according to your agreements, you have a document to hold the hospital accountable. Without this, the hospital could just ignore the agreements in your contract leaving you in a sticky situation.

Types of Travel Nursing Interviews

Getting the answers to your questions can prove difficult in some cases depending on who you actually get to speak with. There are several interview scenarios. Let’s take a look at what you can expect out of each of the scenarios:

Interview scenario 1: The Preliminary Interview

Preliminary interviews are typically conducted for initial screening purposes and to schedule a full interview for a later date/time. The initial screening questions are often designed to ensure that the candidate meets some standard level of requirements. The preliminary interviewer may ask if you have certain certifications required by the unit, if you have ever participated in a code blue, if you’re proficient with IVs, or any number of other questions that are deemed important for the particular job. If all questions are answered as needed, then the preliminary interviewer will schedule a time for a full interview. As long as you’re going to get a full interview, you can reserve any questions you have for the full interview.

Interview scenario 2: Full Interview with the Unit Manager/Supervisor

This is the best case scenario for you. My experience indicates that this is the scenario under which the majority of interviews are conducted. However, this scenario is losing ground to the scenario 3 which is described below.

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There are several things worth noting for this scenario. First, you really won’t know what to expect in terms of the interview itself. Different managers and supervisors approach interviewing in different ways. There is no uniform set of questions that you can expect to be asked. Second, you shouldn’t have a problem getting your questions answered and getting all the details ironed out because you’re speaking directly with the person in charge. Third, you may receive a verbal job offer from the interviewer on the spot during the interview. You should not accept the offer immediately unless you already have 100% of the details worked out with your recruiter and you are 100% certain that you’re going to accept the assignment. If you do not have the details worked out and/or are unsure if the assignment is right for you, then politely request the interviewer to send the offer to your agency so that you can work out the rest of the details with them.

Interview scenario 3: Full interview with the Managed Service Provider (MSP)

In this scenario, you will interview with a representative from the MSP. Interviewing services are one of the services that MSPs offer to their client hospitals. The interviewer is typically a healthcare professional licensed in the field for which the interview is being conducted. You can expect these interviews to be very structured.

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Typically, there is a standard template of questions that the hospital and MSP have agreed will be asked. The interviewer will record the answers provided and probe for further information where necessary. You can expect questions about medications specific to your unit. They may even ask for medication measurements. You can also expect situational questions like, “What would you do if the doctor gave an order you knew was incorrect?”

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Unfortunately, this scenario almost never affords you the opportunity to get your questions answered because the MSP interviewer does not work directly for the hospital in question and most likely does not have answers to specific questions . However, you should always ask the interviewer if they are able to answer your questions. They will sometimes have the answers albeit infrequently.

In this case, you’ll need to convey your questions to your recruiter who will forward them through the chain to a point where they can be answered. The predicament here is that it may take quite some time before answers are received. In the mean time, the job offer will be extended and the MSP will put pressure on your agency for an answer. You’ll have to decide for yourself how best to proceed in this situation.

Interview scenario 4: No Travel Nurse Interview

Believe it or not, there are some instances in which a job offer is extended without an interview ever taking place. There are many reasons this can happen, but the bottom line is that the decision maker is comfortable enough with the submission profile to simply make an offer on the spot. Many travelers that I worked with took this as a horrible sign, thinking that perhaps the hospital was unorganized and/or unprofessional. However, this is not the case. I’ve had this happen at some of the most reputable healthcare organizations in the country. Again, there are many reasons that this can happen and they’re not all bad. In any case, your only course of action is to send your questions to your recruiter who will forward them along in an effort to get them answered.

General issues to consider

Now that we have an idea of the various interview scenarios, we can take a look at some of the more general issues that we haven’t covered yet. First, don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a call for an interview. I often got the impression from travel nurses that they thought they were the only candidate, or one of a few candidates, that was being considered for the job. Hospitals may receive a large or small number of submission profiles depending on the job market and the desirability of the particular assignment in question.

Second, don’t be discouraged if you don’t receive a call for a scheduled interview. Things come up in the work place and sometimes interviews need to be rescheduled as a result. Third, do a little research on the hospital you’re interviewing with. You may not need to know everything you would for a permanent job interview, but you should know the basics.

Finally, be ready to discuss your work history and details about your former employers in particular.  I recommend knowing the number of beds in the hospitals you’ve worked for, the units you’ve worked in, as well as whether or not the hospitals were teaching hospitals and/or trauma hospitals. This is all information that you can use in effort to relate how your experience fits with the interviewing hospital’s circumstances.

— Update: 16-03-2023 — found an additional article How to Nail Your Travel Nurse Interview from the website for the keyword how to nail a travel nurse interview.

The market for travel nursing can be competitive, especially when there’s multiple nurses vying for the same position. Travel nursing interviews are different from a typical healthcare interview. Most travel nurse interviews are conducted over the phone, which presents its own set of challenges. You don’t have any face to face interactions with your potential nurse manager or the staff on the floor. Without being able to physically see anyone or the environment you will be working in, phone interviews present a whole new set of challenges. Keep reading to discover new tips and tricks on how to nail your travel nurse interview.

How to nail a travel nurse interview

Scheduling Your Travel Nurse Interview

Your recruiter will keep you updated on your submission and let you know if your resume gets sent to the facility. Depending on the manager, they may schedule an interview with you directly or they will just give you a call at any given time. Regardless, when your recruiter tells you to keep your phone nearby, listen to them! Make sure you are in a quiet space with no distractions and have good cell phone reception. If you get a call from a number you don’t recognize, answer it! It’s the facility manager calling you. If you happen to miss the call, make sure you call back immediately. When they don’t hear back from you, they will move on to another candidate.

Travel Nurse Interview Tips

Phone interviews make it difficult to show your true personality. During your interview, be engaged with what the manager is saying, sound bright, and express your enthusiasm for the position. This is your opportunity to show off your skills and everything you bring to the table. Highlight your strengths, exemplify how you are a team player and shine. Throughout the interview, be honest with the manager about your abilities. Be willing to explain your experiences and how it has shaped you into a well rounded healthcare professional. The more you are able to advocate for yourself, the better chance you have of landing the job!

Ask Questions During Your Interview

The most important aspect of any travel nurse interview is asking questions. When you ask questions, it’s a sign to the interviewer you are genuinely interested in the position. Plus, this is your opportunity to get a glimpse of what life looks like on the unit. Here are some questions to consider asking:

  • What does the day-to-day look like for this position?
  • What is the typical patient ratio?
  • Are you able to accomodate my requested time off?
  • Will I be able to pick up overtime?
  • Can you tell me what my schedule will look like?

While you miss out on face to face interactions during travel nurse interviews, there are plenty of ways you can express your excitement and eagerness over the phone. Preparing yourself for the interview and being your own advocate is the best way to land the travel nursing job of your dreams. If you’re on the hunt for your next gig, our job board has thousands of positions available nationwide. You’ll have your own recruiter dedicated to you 24/7, and a whole SQUAD there for you when you need us the most.

— Update: 18-03-2023 — found an additional article 10 Important Travel Nursing Interview Questions to Prepare For from the website for the keyword how to nail a travel nurse interview.

Congrats! Your résumé has piqued the interest of a medical facility’s hiring manager. The next thing you need to do is prepare to answer the travel nursing interview questions.

The hiring manager will have shortlisted a number of candidates for the job. Therefore, it’s important that you use the interview as an opportunity to set yourself apart in the best way possible.

You want to make yourself a memorable, first-choice candidate. 

Preparing for common travel nurse interview questions is key.

How to nail a travel nurse interview

Establishing Rapport with the Hiring Manager

A recent study showed that the impression you make during the introductory part of the interview strongly influences hiring managers’ overall impression of you.

That’s why you should reserve some time to research the hiring manager’s background.

Begin by asking your recruiter what he or she knows about the interviewer. Then, head over to LinkedIn and review his or her profile.

Look for things that you have in common. You can begin the conversation with an icebreaker, prior to fielding your travel nursing interview questions.

For example, perhaps you’re both from Chicago, or maybe you both enjoy playing golf.

Be thorough, and prepare a number of causal speaking points, such as, “I heard you’re from the Windy City. So am I! Do you miss it?”

Or, “What’s the golf like out in the Chicago area?”

The hiring manager will do most of the asking, but consider different kinds of nursing interview questions that you can.

How to nail a travel nurse interview

Research the Medical Facility

It’s also critical to know as much as possible about the medical facility where you’re applying for a job.

Every organization has its own culture, so it’s useful to get in-depth information ahead of time.

For example, a facility that combines holistic health with traditional healthcare will have distinctly different values from a research hospital that’s affiliated with a university.

Knowing what the culture is like will help you tailor your own approach to the interview appropriately.

To research the facility, go to its website and read the “about us” section. Pay special attention to the history and mission.

Talk to your recruiter to find out what he or she knows about the organization.

See if you can get first-hand, insider information by contacting people in your professional or extended network who have worked there (or who are familiar with the leadership team).

SEE ALSO: 10 Highest Paying Travel Nursing Jobs to Boost Your Career

Remember: if the organization is looking to hire a travel nurse now, it’s probably done so in the past. So, there’s a good chance one or more of your acquaintances have a connection to the facility.

How to nail a travel nurse interview

Do Your Homework About the Position

Before preparing for the travel nursing interview questions, you should learn everything you can about the position and what kind of skills the hiring manager is looking for.

Your best source of information for this is your recruiter.

He or she can tell you what “must-have” qualities a good candidate needs. Such as five years of experience in an ER or a specialization working with seniors.

It’s also advisable to find out why the position is open.

Sometimes it’s because the employer is coming up on a busy season or because the regular nurse is on leave. Perhaps the employer is looking to fill the position because the previous nurse didn’t work out.

Knowing precisely why he or she wasn’t a match can provide you with valuable information on how to show that YOU are the perfect professional for the position.

Consider this as one of the questions to ask at a nursing interview when you’re preparing.

SEE ALSO: 5 Least Stressful Nursing Jobs in the Healthcare Field

How to nail a travel nurse interview

Travel Nursing Interview Questions and Answers

The hiring manager will want to know you possess the technical and soft skills for the position. And, that you’ll fit into the company culture.

In addition, you should prepare some questions about the position and organization to show you’re truly interested in what it takes to do the job well.

Here are some examples of travel nursing interview questions you can expect:

1. How do your qualifications and work experience make you a good candidate for this job?

Answer this question by highlighting only your most relevant training and experience.

For example, if the job is in a senior care facility specializing in patients with dementia, discuss your 3 years as a hospice nurse—not your six months in a pediatric ward.

2. What do you consider to be your strengths as a nurse?

Again, make sure to list relevant strengths.

If you’re going to be working with seniors, you could mention your patience and optimism. You could also mention your ability to bond with seniors over things that are culturally relevant to them, such as 1940s and ‘50s songs and movies.

3. How would you approach this specific situation?

Hiring managers often describe a hypothetical challenge to see how you’d respond.

Before answering, think the challenge through to determine what the best outcome would be for both the facility and its patients.

4. What do you do to stay up to date on the latest developments?

Clearly, part of your answer should involve your professional development courses.

But it’s also a good idea to mention trade publications that you read and conventions you attend, in order to know what’s happening in your professional sphere.

Read more  How to Nail Your Travel Nurse Interview

5. Why do you think you’re the best person for this job?

Your answer should involve a combination of your knowledge of the position and what you want to learn from this job.

For example, you could answer by mentioning your:

  • Technical skills
  • Experience with seniors (or other age patients)
  • Ability to engage patients
  • Desire to learn more about caring for people with [specific illness]
  • Passion for healthcare
  • Willingness to go the extra mile

6. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment and why?

This doesn’t necessarily have to be a professional accomplishment, so long as you can tie it into your work.

An example would be, “Taking care of my 85-year-old grandfather and making sure his last years were as healthy, comfortable, and filled with love as possible.”

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

As any nurse knows, this is a crucial aspect of the job.

The best answer highlights the fact that you’re a team player who can also take on a leadership role, for example, “By prioritizing what needs to be done and ensuring my team and I have all the support we need.”

8. Are you willing to learn?

The hiring manager wants a candidate who can quickly learn the ropes and who’s adaptable to new situations.

Your answer should definitely be affirmative and contain an example of how you were quickly able to absorb new information in a previous position.

9. Do you consider yourself a good team player? Why?

As a nurse, being a good team player is critically important not only to your colleagues but also to the people in your care.

Answer this by giving a good example of how you place your team’s needs before your own.

10. Why do you want to work with us?

This is one of the more important travel nursing interview questions. It’s your opportunity to show you know what the organization’s mission and values are—and how they match your own.

A sample answer could be, “Your organization is one of the best in the country when it comes to senior care specializing in patients with dementia. I strongly believe in providing quality, compassionate care for our elders, and I want to learn more about the most effective dementia treatments so I can add more value.”

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Guide to New Grad Nurse Interview Questions

Questions for You to Ask During the Interview

  • What specific qualities make for a good candidate for this job?
  • What’s the typical workload like?
  • How do you measure job performance?

Set the Scene

After preparing for the travel nursing interview questions, it’s time to set the scene for the interview.

Since you’re unlikely to be in the same city as the facility where you’re applying for the job, you’ll probably be invited to interview by phone or video conferencing.

While this might feel less intimidating than an in-person interview, you should make sure to create a quiet environment where you can have an undisturbed conversation.

SEE ALSO: What are the Requirements for Travel Nursing Success?

If you’re interviewing by phone, make sure you have a good connection and that your phone’s fully charged.

Choose a place inside with no ambient noise, and have your notes in front of you so you can refer to them if necessary.

And while the interviewer won’t be able to see your face, remember to smile now and then! Smiling changes the tone of your voice and makes you sound friendlier and more empathetic.

If you’ve been invited to interview via Skype or another video conferencing app, then you should treat it just like an in-person meeting.

Find a well-lit space with no visual or audible distractions. Dress professionally, and set up your computer or device so you’re face to face with the interviewer.

And as The Guardian advises in the article “How to master a Skype interview,” practice the technology a couple of times to make sure you’re comfortable with the setup and can complete the interview without any glitches.

How to nail a travel nurse interview


As a travel nurse working multiple short assignments per year, you’ll be interviewing much more frequently than the average person. Use our list of interview questions to prepare.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll stand a good chance of being the hiring manager’s top choice for the positions you really want.

Have you been asked any unique travel nursing interview questions?

Share with us in the comments below!

— Update: 18-03-2023 — found an additional article 4 Common Travel Nurse Interview Questions, Plus How to Nail Your Interview from the website for the keyword how to nail a travel nurse interview.

How to nail a travel nurse interview

The phone rings.  It’s an unknown number but the area code signals that it is from California.  Quickly, you realize, it’s the manager calling you to interview you for that dream travel nurse position you just applied for.  You’ve been dying to go to California ever since you became a travel nurse!  And your recruiter just submitted you!  But you start to panic.  What types of travel nurse interview questions they are going to ask?  How do you nail this interview to ensure that you get this job?

When I was a brand new travel nurse, each time I interviewed for a coveted position, I would panic.  I would forget how qualified I was, and how much I deserved to be in the hospital I wanted to be in.  It wasn’t until I had interviewed 10+ times that I started to relax and also started to notice trends in how these interviews would go.  Now, I can confidently say that I can 100% nail a travel nurse interview every single time I apply for a job.  I’m going to share with you the most common travel nurse interview questions that are asked by managers and give you the tools you need to nail your travel nurse interview.

Before reading further, please note that this post is an amazing starting point for those looking to take the leap from staff nurse to travel nurse.  If you need more guidance and more information, consider purchasing The Ultimate Travel Nurse Bundle

4 Common Travel Nurse Interview Questions (and How to Answer Them)

How to nail a travel nurse interview

While I sometimes interview with managers who ask questions that I’m not prepared for, more than likely all questions that I get asked are similar.  Below is a list of travel nurse interview questions I get asked over and over again and the answers that managers are looking for.

1. Tell me about your experience? – This is not the time to be shy and humble.  This is your time to shine!  I always answer this question by stating how long I’ve been a nurse and then start with the experience I gained at my home hospital.  I don’t give too many details (now that I’ve been a nurse for 5+ years, this list goes on), but I give a general idea of my skillset.  Plus I always end with, “the only things I don’t have experience with are XYZ” so that the manager knows I’ve covered everything.  An exact example of my answer would be this:  “I’ve been a NICU nurse for 5+ years.  I started in KC where I worked as a staff nurse for 2 years taking care of babies as young as 24 weeks.  It was a surgical floor so I got to take care of a lot of surgical patients.  Mostly g-tubes, bowel perforations, and VP shunts.  We did everything besides hearts.  I then started as a travel nurse where I worked on a level III surgical unit in Santa Barbara where I also floated to the PICU and peds floors.  Then I completed a level III surgical unit in Phoenix, then a level IV surgical unit in Austin where I floated to the PICU.  Next, I moved onto a level III surgical unit in Seattle, then a level III unit in Boston, and most recently I just wrapped up a year at a level IV surgical unit in Seattle where I also floated to the PICU and CICU.  The only things I don’t have experience with are cooling babies, the jet ventilator, and it’s been some times since I’ve had an oscillator but I’m sure I could reorient to it pretty quickly.”

2. Tell me about a time where you saw a co-worker do something wrong. – Now they are trying to get to know what type of a nurse you are.  Are you the type to turn a blind eye?  Or are you the type to correct your co-worker?  I believe that in this case, they want to know that you are kind and helpful to your co-worker but will also stand up for what is right.  If I have never had a co-worker do something wrong in front of me I would say, “That is a great question.  I haven’t had that happen yet but if I did I would approach my co-worker and ask for an explanation of what happened.  I would then tell him/her that I don’t agree with what they did.  If this threatens the life of the patient I would take it to management, but if it didn’t I would approach my co-worker and then choose to keep it to myself.”

3. What kind of patient ratios are you used to? – When management asks you this kind of question, they want to know that you can keep up with the workload.  I truthfully say what patient ratios that I’m used to, but I also point out that if I need help I’m not scared to ask for help and that if my co-worker needs help I am the first to jump in and help.

4. Tell me about a time where you felt like a provider ordered something you didn’t agree with. – Here, they want to make sure that you can stand up for your patient and advocate for them.  They want to know that in the case of a dangerous situation, you can take the issue to someone else.  The type of answer I would give would be this:  “If that happened to me I would ask the provider to please explain their reasoning behind ordering XYZ.  If I still didn’t agree or understand I would ask another nurse for his/her understanding of the situation.  I know that if needed and I was worried this would gravely affect my patient, I would approach another provider or take the issue to my charge nurse.”

While you may or may not get asked each of these questions (plus other random ones at times), generally, managers are wanting to know – are you a safe nurse?  Can you stand up for yourself and your patient without knowing the other nurses and providers?  Can you work efficiently?  What type of experience do you have?  If you get asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, just say that you don’t know.  That is an acceptable answer and if you try to make something up, more times than not the manager will be able to tell.  If I’m asked a scenario question, I usually clarify that “that has never happened to me, but if it did… this is how I’d react”.

5 Steps to Nail Your Travel Nurse Interview

How to nail a travel nurse interview

Now, more importantly, how do you take your answers and make sure that you stand out from the rest of the nurses interviewing for the same job?  What sets you apart from everyone else?  I have interviewed for 8 travel nurse assignments and have gotten every single one of them because I bring passion, excitement, and confidence to the interview.  Below are 5 things I bring to every interview, and things that you should apply to your interviews too.

1. Confidence.  In this case, when you are being interviewed in a matter of 2 minutes and being compared to many different nurses, confidence is key!  Before picking up the phone, repeat to yourself “I am qualified.  I can do this job better than anyone else.”  Believe in yourself and sell it!  If you don’t think that you could do a better job than everyone else or you feel like you have room for improvement, there are plenty of things you can do to make yourself the best candidate.  Get another certification, learn a new skill, float to a new floor.  You’ll never know everything but the more confident you are at your job, the more it will show in your interview.

2. Enthusiasm.  If you want this job more than any job out there, you have to show it.  Now isn’t the time to play coy.  Let them know how excited you are that they are interviewing you and how much you want this particular job.

3. Tell the truth.  At all times during your interview, you need to tell the truth.  There is no room to lie and why would you want to?  You may get asked tough questions that you don’t know.  And you will probably be stumped at some point.  But if you lie, the manager is going to be able to tell.  And if they aren’t able to tell then they will learn once you get to the unit that you had lied in your interview, which will be grounds for dismissal.  It is 100% okay to admit that you don’t know something.  That is being human and that is being a safe nurse.

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4. Sell yourself.  Throughout the interview, you should be selling yourself.  What is a positive trait about you that you’ve heard about yourself from a manager?  A co-worker?  Or a patient?  Use that to your advantage.  It’s necessary to have a humble brag moment.  I sell myself at the end of the interview by saying, “I just want to let you know that I’m a quick learner and I get along with everyone.  I have a lot of experience but I admit that I don’t know everything.  I’d be honored for the chance to work on your floor, but I am wondering if there is anything else you need to know about me to make your decision?”

5. Be thankful.  At the end of the conversation don’t forget to thank the manager for spending time on the phone with you.  Even if your interview didn’t go the way you wanted it to go, make sure not to burn any bridges.  Managers are busy and the one that just called you is taking time out of their day to speak with you just as you are to speak with them.

Things aren’t always going to go your way.  Somebody else might out-interview you or may just have way more experience than you.  That is something that you can’t control.  Think of every interview as practice and continue to improve.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  Keep applying and interviewing, and eventually, you will ace the process too.

For those of you just beginning, or those who would like more guidance on what it takes to be a travel nurse, these articles may be helpful:

How to Become a Travel Nurse

Why Travel Nursing?  Taking the Leap from Staff Nurse to Travel Nurse

Travel Nursing – Where Do I Start?

Common Travel Nurse Questions Answered by a Recruiter

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— Update: 20-03-2023 — found an additional article 17 COMMON TRAVEL NURSING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS from the website for the keyword how to nail a travel nurse interview.

How to nail a travel nurse interview
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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    About the Author: Tung Chi