Have a travel nurse interview coming up? Set yourself up for success and prepare answers for these 10 common travel nurse interview questions. Keep reading for the best methods for answering these questions, sample answers, and a downloadable master list with over 60 travel nurse interview questions.
Tell me about yourself
This is a good opportunity to highlight any relevant travel nurse experience you have. You only need to briefly run through your past assignments, as this question is mainly a refresher of your resume for the interviewer.
If you don’t have any prior travel experience, share skills gained from your perm experience that will make you a great traveler. You can also touch on why you’re excited to be a travel nurse and what you want to learn from this new experience.
Stick to relevant information as it relates to the job. This is an easy one to ramble on, so stick to your main points and keep it short and sweet!
"I am a pediatric RN with 10 total years of experience, five of those as a travel nurse. My most recent experience was a 13-week assignment at (insert facility), but I’ve worked at numerous facilities across the country in the past five years."
What types of hospital settings have you worked in?
This is a great time to mention any relevant hospital settings you’ve worked in before. For instance, if you’re interviewing for a long-term care facility and you’ve worked in that setting before, let your interviewer know.
If you’re interviewing for a setting you’ve never worked in, explain how your previous experiences and skills will serve you well in the new setting.
Why do you think you're the best fit for this job?
Your answer to this question should match the expected job duties with your current skills.
You could mention your:
- Technical skills
- Relevant certifications
- Experience with this patient group
- Passion for this type of healthcare
- Soft skills (communication, time management, leadership, etc.)
This is also a good time to express what you want to learn from this job. Make it clear in this answer both why you’re qualified for the job and why you want the job.
What is your biggest strength as a travel nurse?
To answer this question, you’ll need to dig into the job description for this role. From the job duties, find a common strength that someone would need to be successful in that role. Then think of a time you put this strength into action! This story will help demonstrate how you practice that strength.
"One of my biggest strengths is the ability to adapt. In my last role as a travel nurse, I had to float between units often. This required me to adapt quickly to the needs and procedures for each unit to be successful."
What is your biggest weakness as a travel nurse?
This common interview question can trip people up if they don’t know the right way to answer. The key to answering this question is a three-part formula:
- Name a skill that is a work in progress
- Describe how you are building that skill
- Positive results you’ve had
This method will show your prospective employer that you’re not only self-aware, but you’re also working to improve yourself.
Additionally, you want to pick a weakness that wouldn’t prevent you from succeeding in the role. It should be a real weakness, but it doesn't need to be your worst flaw.
"In the past, I’ve had trouble maintaining work-life balance. I’ve started to combat this by making sure I take my breaks at work and disconnecting from work when I’m off the clock. By doing so, I’ve noticed that I’m more productive when I’m at work and feel truly rested when I’m home."
How do you stay up to date on the latest medical technology and skills?
When explaining how you stay up to date in the healthcare industry, you can list any relevant:
- Publications you read (or blogs like this one!)
- Conferences you attend (ex. TravCon)
For bonus points, brush up on some healthcare publications and have some takeaways from a recent article to reference during this question.
Why do you want to work with us?
Your pre-interview research will come in handy for this question. It’s important to be familiar with the facility you’re interviewing for and what sets them apart from other employers.
When answering this question, reference what you know about the facility and explain why you’re excited about:
- The team
- The company
- The role
Addressing all three of these components demonstrates a passion for this job, not just any position! Remember, employers want employees that want to work for them.
Describe a time that you were a team player
This is an example of a behavioral question, or a question the interviewer asks to see how you react in certain situations. The best way to answer behavioral questions is with a story.
Try using the CAR method:
- Challenge – What problem were you up against?
- Action – What steps did you take to resolve the challenge?
- Results – What was the impact of the action you took?
For this specific question, think of a story that demonstrates how you work well within a team. This story will provide solid proof that you’re a team player, which is more impactful than just stating the fact.
How do you handle high-stress situations?
This is another great question to answer with a story. Use the CAR method again and share a time when you were in a stressful patient situation and saved the day with critical action.
Tell me about a time you made a mistake on the job. What happened and how did you resolve the situation?
Use the CAR method for this question as well. Be careful in picking your example, however.
You want to pick a situation that demonstrates you can take accountability for your mistakes and learn from them, not a situation that makes you sound like a risk to patient safety.
Questions to ask in a travel nurse interview
Asking your interviewer relevant questions during and after the interview is just as important as answering questions well. Not only does it show the facility that you care, but it also gives you important insights into what it would be like to work at that facility.
It’s also a good opportunity to gather information about what that facility is looking for in a job candidate. If you ask questions throughout the interview, you can adjust your answers to better appeal to what they want.
- What qualities does the ideal candidate for this job have?
- What are the main needs and responsibilities of this job?
- How do you measure job performance?
- What are some common challenges for nurses at this facility?
- What kind of support do nurses receive in this healthcare setting?
- What’s the typical nurse-to-patient ratio?
- What is the patient population? The average census? The average length of stay?
- What is your facility’s floating policy?
- Which units will I float between when census is low?
- What is this facility’s scheduling process?
- What shifts are available, and which shift am I being considered for?
- How many other travelers do you have at this facility? Have any of them extended?
- What is the job turn-over like at this facility?
- How many days of orientation are there and how are travelers transitioned to the floor?
- Is on-call required? How often?
- What is the policy for breaks/lunch?
- What type of charting system is used?
- Is there a possibility for an extension with this assignment?
For more preparation, download our Ultimate List of Travel Nurse Interview Questions. With the proper research and interview prep, you’ll be well on your way to landing jobs at top healthcare facilities!