Sample Questions for Nurse Peer-Interviews

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

Not all aspects of nursing, and certainly not all nurses, are the same. A diversifying field, both in terms of specialized types of care and advancement opportunities, means that nurses have more career paths and options than ever before. It also means that, when conducting nursing peer interviews, their potential future colleagues must be able to zero in on problem areas as well as those of excellence and expertise.

Peer interview nursing questions can be the doorway into assessing many different areas: mental preparedness, emotional state and physical well-being. Because the sessions are peer-led, they can be less formal than annual performance reviews, or even a walking check-in with a supervisor. But of them to work, the questions have to be on point. Here are some areas to explore:

Behavior-Based Questions Assess Competency

A good nursing peer interview question set will look at performance obstacles as well as competency. This way, the review team can identify roadblocks that are stifling growth and creating barriers to patient care. Consider these peer interview questions nursing candidates can be asked:

  • What would you say the chief barrier to your getting your work done is?
  • How would you remove that issue?
  • What’s an idea you’d love to put into place if you could do it tomorrow?
  • How’s the communication between you and your team, and your supervisors?
  • What’s the one thing you love best about every day at work?

Emotional Depth Can Be Harder to Gauge

Exploring a nurse’s emotional range is a tougher nut to crack. By nature, caregivers are empathetic, and can wear their heart on their sleeve. Still, the process of going through peer interview nursing questions can identify strengths and weaknesses here as well:

  • When you have been particularly challenged in the workplace, how have you practiced self-care?
  • Are you able to convey your thoughts and feelings about an issue to your team, or supervisor?
  • Do you see yourself as a diplomat in tense situations, either with the team or with a patient and his or her family?
  • If you get an answer you don’t like in a conversation with a peer or supervisor, how do you feel?

The Challenge of Assessing Physical Limits Without Setting Limitations

Nursing is a demanding job. Hours on your feet, moving heavy equipment, lifting patients — it can create significant health conditions. The goal for the nursing peer review team is to empathize and not make it appear that someone is being assessed purely on their ability to perform a specific task or set of tasks:

  • How important do you think it is to follow best practices around patient lifting and other strenuous tasks?
  • What is a task that is increasingly challenging for you, and how could that situation be improved?
  • Do you feel you are provided the equipment and tools necessary to limit the risk of injury?
  • And if not, do you feel comfortable raising that issue?

The nationwide nursing shortage continues. Hiring the best staff is vital to success for healthcare providers, and retention also plays a huge role. Using a series of challenging, thoughtful questions is essential at hiring, and also will play a role in successful peer interview nursing processes. Creating a dialogue provides the opportunity to not only assess competencies and strengths, it also allows the review team to learn a great deal about the person they are considering bringing onboard. And that, in turn, helps to develop a friendly and collegial environment from the very start.

Previously, HealthStream published a series of blog posts that included an even more exhaustive list of example peer interview questions nursing candidates can be asked, broken out by subject:

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