Crack the competency questions

It doesn’t matter how many interviews you have been to but when you are asked a scenario-based question we all stumble at one point or another. I would think for any healthcare professional this is much harder than it seems. Your role is not limited to a job description, there is no limitation as to what you deal with on a daily basis, this makes it much more harder when answering a question like “tell me about a situation where you felt you went over and above your job role?”

Competency based questions are essential for the employer to understand how you perform and behave under specific circumstances. However, one thing you must remember is that it’s okay to stop and think, ask for a quick moment to re-cap the situation in your mind before you start.

Below are some areas that will generally be covered in a healthcare interview, along with some example questions.

  • Teamwork

Tell me about a time you stepped into a leadership role. Describe a time when you were particularly proud of your healthcare team? What was your role in this situation?

  • Patient-care

Tell me about a situation when someone was not satisfied with your patient care? What approach do you take in communicating with people who do not know medical jargon? Give an example of a time you explained medical terminology to someone who is not medically trained.

  • Adaptability

Describe a time when your facility was undergoing some change. How did that impact you, and how did you adapt?

  • Time management

How do you manage the stresses of the job? Talk about a time you worked in a fast-paced setting. How do you prioritize tasks while maintaining excellent patient care?

  • Communication style

How would you deal with a Doctor who was rude?  Talk about a time when you had not communicated well. How did you correct the situation?

  • Motivation and core values

Why did you decide on a career as a nurse? What do you find rewarding about this job?  What do you find most difficult about being a Nurse? How do you overcome this difficulty?

Key to answering questions?

It may not always be possible, but try to train yourself to use the below model when answering these questions. It will keep your answer structured and clear.

Situation – describe the background

Task – what was it you had to do?

Action – What action did you take?

Result – summarize the outcome


I hope this has got you thinking about some of the questions you may get asked and how best to structure your answer with a real example.

Hope this has helped…..Why not leave your hints and tips at