Job interviews can be intimidating, even for a fierce travel nurse like yourself. Whether you’re fresh in the nursing game or a seasoned professional, feeling prepared for your travel nursing interview can make or break your experience. That’s why we put together the most common travel nurse interview questions to help you prepare for your big moment.
- Different types of travel nursing interviews
- Interview questions you may need to answer
- Interview questions you may want to ask
- ✨BONUS ✨Post-interview next steps
Common Travel Nursing Interview Questions (+ Sample Answers!)
Different types of travel nursing interviews
While some people may think of job interviews as a test, it’s even more helpful to think about them as an opportunity. Sure, job interviews are where facilities can get to know you and vet your credentials. But they’re also a chance for you to decide if the hospital is a good fit for you!
When it comes to travel nurse job interviews with a facility’s hiring manager, you’ll likely interview via phone. These phone interviews can last anywhere from five minutes to an hour long and consist of three different types of interviews: interviews by unit managers, interviews with a managed service provider (MSP), and automated interviews.
Unit manager interviews
If your interviewer is a unit manager or another leader linked to the hospital or medical facility you want to work in, they’ll be the ones to fill you in on the juicy details of the assignment. Additionally, they’ll be the ones to answer your burning questions. From this type of interview, you can expect to answer a series of questions about your experience, behavior, and skills.
MSP travel job interviews usually take place when someone from the facility is unable to do it. Because this representative doesn’t work directly for the hospital, they may not have all the information you’re looking for about the job. The upside is these interviews can be a little easier to prep for, but the downside is you may not receive direct answers to specific questions during your travel nurse interview. Instead, you’ll send a list of questions to your recruiter, and they’ll do their best to find answers.
The last and least common type of interview are automated interviews. Here, you’ll chat with an interactive voice recording who will ask you a series of standard interview questions. During the call, your responses are recorded and listened to later by a hiring manager.
No matter when type of interview you go through, be sure to make note of the name of whoever conducts the conversation. That way, your Fusion Medical Staffing recruiter can reach out to the interviewer and follow up accordingly.
Interview questions you may need to answer (+ sample answers!)
1. What qualifies you for this position?
This can seem like a silly question when you know the hiring manager has a copy of your healthcare resume. However, what they really want to know is how well you can apply your experience and knowledge to their patients. In other words, they want to know if you understand what the job entails.
“I have 8 years of experience working with and caring for a range of patients. I’ve also been a travel nurse for 5 years, and the experience of working in a variety of facilities across the country has taught me to be flexible and ready for anything. My experience treating patients combined with my passion for nursing would make me a great asset to your hospital.”
2. What’s your specialty and what certifications do you have?
In addition to your associate or bachelor’s nursing degree, it’s likely that you have extra certifications depending on what units you’ve worked in. If you’re interviewing for a specialized unit, like the neonatal intensive care unit or labor and delivery, make sure you show off your qualifications.
“As a nurse, my specialty lies in [your specialty]. I find immense gratification in providing care for patients going through a hard time and being a source of comfort and support for their families during challenging times. When it comes to my qualifications, I’m a certified [type of nurse], and I also hold a [certification]. My certifications, as well as several years of hands-on experience, have equipped me with the necessary skills to deliver the highest level of patient care in any setting.”
3. What type of healthcare settings do you have experience working in?
A career in travel nursing can take you to medical facilities all over the country. And with each different healthcare setting comes different experiences and patient cases. When answering this question, don’t be afraid to highlight both your general nursing skills and patient situations you've experienced.
“I’ve had the privilege of working in a diverse range of healthcare settings. My experience spans from large, urban teaching hospitals to small, rural community health clinics. This exposure has provided me with a nuanced understanding of patient care and has honed my adaptability to different work environments. I’ve also had the opportunity to work in specialized areas, which has greatly enriched my nursing skills.”
4. What characteristics would you say makes a good travel nurse?
If your interviewer asks you this question (or something similar), they may be trying to assess if you have the traits required for success in the role. Be ready to talk about your flexibility, excellent communication skills, and high degree of mental health resilience.
“One of the most important traits of a travel nurse is adaptability since travel nursing often requires frequent changes in environment, staff, and patient demographics. A successful nurse should also possess strong clinical skills and knowledge that can be applied to any situation. Additionally, communication is crucial in a role that demands interaction with a variety of professionals and patients, and a good travel nurse should be able to communicate clearly and effectively. Lastly, a sense of adventure and curiosity can make the experience of travel nursing even more fulfilling.”
5. Tell me about a time you and a coworker disagreed. How did you respond?
No matter where or what kind of facility you’re working in, you may run into a sticky situation with a coworker. This question gives the interviewer insight into your sense of teamwork and conflict resolution, so be ready to wow them with all the ways you work well others.
Related: 3 Ways to Bond with Perm Med Staff
“In one of my previous travel nursing roles, a fellow nurse and I disagreed on the prioritization of patient care. We had a high patient load and we both felt strongly about who needed care first. We each outlined our reasons and, after acknowledging her concerns, I explained why I believed my patient’s condition was more critical at that moment. My colleague realized she hadn’t had all the information and agreed to revise the care schedule. This experience reinforced the importance of clear communication and the sharing of information as a team, especially in a healthcare setting where lives may be at stake.”
6. Describe a time you’ve had to deal with sudden changes on the job. How did you handle it?
There’s never a dull moment as a travel nurse. From emergency situations to patient outcomes, things change suddenly during your shift. This question helps the interviewer get a picture of what you would do during these unexpected times. When responding, emphasize your flexibility.
“Handling sudden changes on the job is part and parcel of a travel nurse’s role. Personally, I strive to adapt quickly by maintaining an open mind, staying calm and collected, and relying on my strong clinical skills. This profession encourages me to be a lifelong learner, continually updating my skills and knowledge to meet unexpected challenges head-on. I also lean on the support of my team members, who provide invaluable guidance.”
7. How do you manage stress?
It’s no secret that you work in a high-stress environment and an in-demand career. You know it, and so does the hiring manager. This question gives the interviewer an idea of how you maintain high performance levels under pressure to ensure optimal patient care, as well as protect your own physical and mental health.
“To keep stress at bay, I prioritize maintaining a healthy work-life balance. When off-duty, I like to explore my new city, immersing myself in local culture and cuisine. I also like to keep in touch with family and friends back home who help me stay grounded and connected.”
8. In what ways do you treat anxious or difficult patients?
Most of the time, patients don’t want to be sick in the hospital, and that can make them fearful or anxious while they’re there. And as a travel nurse, there’s a chance that you may encounter patients under high stress or with complex health conditions. Describing your experience with those patients shows your interpersonal skills and your ability to keep your cool in challenging situations.
“Dealing with anxious or difficult patients is part of the nursing experience. I approach these situations with empathy, communication, and patient-focused care. I take time to listen to my patients’ concerns and fears. I also make sure to explain all procedures and treatments clearly to reduce uncertainty. Sometimes, a patient’s anxiety can be alleviated just by having someone who understands their feelings.”
9. How do you stay up to date on the latest medical technology and nursing trends?
The field of medicine is constantly evolving with new advancements and discoveries and each facility you visit may have something different. Learning these technologies and trends gives you the power to provide the best patient care regardless of where you are. Pro tip: if you really want to wow your interviewer, include the importance of continuing education units (CEUs) and professional development.
“It’s so important to stay up to date on medical technology and travel nursing trends. The ways I do this is by subscribing to reputable nursing and medical journals to learn about the latest research, treatments, and technology in healthcare; attending continuing education courses to refresh CEUs; and engaging with online travel nursing communities and forums where nurses share their knowledge.”
10. In your opinion, what has been your greatest accomplishment and why?
Think of something you’re proud of but you don’t get to brag about very often. There’s your answer to this question! By asking, interviewers are giving you the spotlight to share your values, dedication, and success in achieving tangible results. Plus, they can learn more about your passions and what motivates you as a travel nurse.
“My greatest accomplishment has been successfully treating young patients in the PICU. One patient comes to mind who was severely ill and not reacting positively to any treatments. My team and I initiated a plan to engage the child in a care plan, explaining medical procedures in an age-appropriate manner and turning daily routines into interactive activities. My patient’s morale improved significantly, and we eventually saw a positive response to treatments. This experience reinforced the significance of patient engagement in healthcare delivery and was a profound accomplishment in my nursing career.”
Interview questions you may want to ask
Just like the hospital hiring manager is trying to get to know you better, a job interview is a great place for you to get to know them better, too. These are some examples of questions you may want to ask in your travel nurse interview.
❓What is the orientation and onboarding process like for travel nurses?
❓How is scheduling done?
❓What are weekend requirements for travel nurses?
❓What is the nurse-to-patient ratio?
❓What’s the average acuity of the patients on the unit?
❓What type of charting system is used?
❓What are the most common challenges of working in this unit?
❓Is floating required and will travel nurses float first? If yes, which units would I float between when census is low?
❓How many other medical travelers are working or have worked in your facility? How often do travelers extend their contracts?
❓What is the parking situation like? Do I need to pay for a parking pass?
Post-interview next steps
So, you’ve nailed your travel nurse interview — now what? First, take a deep breath. Interviews can be nerve-wracking, and you just accomplished a major step. Take a second to acknowledge your win!
Next, follow-up with a thank you note to your interviewer and let them know how you appreciate them for taking time out of their day to meet with you. This small gesture can leave a lasting impression and show your continued interest in the travel nursing job.
Now that you’ve reached out to the hiring manager, hit up your travel nurse recruiter. During your chat, give them all the deets and share how you think the interview went. You can also double-check the job details and make sure you have your facts straight before committing to anything. The last thing for you to do is sit back, relax, and wait for your offer!
It’s natural to feel a tad nervous about what questions may come up in a travel nurse job interview. Next time you find yourself preparing for an interview, use this guide to get an idea of what to expect. Remember, it’s not an interrogation, but a conversation. Be yourself and show them that you’re ready for the journey that awaits!