Sample Hospice Nurse Interview Questions

Both hospice administrators and prospective hospice nurses benefit from having a thorough understanding of interviewing conventions in hospice care. While cover letters and resumes provide administrators with a robust overview of a nurse’s skills and experience, the interview is where the candidate’s unique personality truly shines through. During the interview process, administrators will assess whether a candidate is open minded, team oriented, personable, and level headed—qualities that are some of the clearest indicators of a great hospice professional.

When administrators assess what interview questions to ask a hospice nurse, they must consider the unique role this professional plays as part of a hospice team. Hospice nurses engage with patients, primary care providers, hospice volunteers, and caretakers during a very vulnerable time in a patient’s life. To perform their jobs successfully, hospice employees must possess a mix of interpersonal skills and medical experience.

Common Hospice Interview Questions

Nearly all hospice interview questions fall into one of two categories: skill-based and interpersonal. Skill-based interview questions examine a candidate’s experience and comprehension of hospice care best practices, while interpersonal interview questions assess their social skills and compatibility with the organization’s workplace culture. The following lists feature some of the most frequently asked hospice interview questions in each category.

Common skill-based interview questions:

  • What is your history of experience with hospice care?
  • What would you do if a patient died suddenly under your care?
  • How would you inform a patient’s family members of their loved one’s death?
  • What role does a hospice nurse play in the overall hospice care team?

Common interpersonal interview questions:

  • Why have you chosen to pursue hospice nursing?
  • Can you describe a time when you had to collaborate with other hospice care professionals?
  • Let’s say a patient’s family member disagrees with the patient’s preferred form of treatment. How would you deal with that family member?
  • How do you react to stressful situations?

How Do I Prepare for a Hospice Nurse Interview?

Nurses interviewing for a position in a hospice setting must be prepared to discuss their work and educational experience in detail while ensuring their responses do not appear rote or robotic. To prepare appropriately, candidates are encouraged to:

Analyze Their Most Challenging Experiences

Before interviews, nurses should plan how they will recount some of their most challenging experiences in hospice and the way they responded. If a nurse is new to the hospice community, reflecting on other relevant healthcare examples is appropriate. By analyzing these difficult experiences, candidates are better prepared to answer questions like, “What did you learn from that experience?” and, “How would you respond to similar situations in the future?”

Brush Up on Hospice Care Best Practices

Nurses must remember that the goal of the interview is not to test their knowledge of specific facts and figures, but rather to assess their understanding of essential hospice care concepts and protocols.

Conducting an informal review of key concepts and protocols before interviews will help nurses more accurately explain how to identify the right time to administer morphine, when it is appropriate to perform CPR, what the differences are between various forms of palliative care, and more. Even a small amount of studying sets nurses up for a smoother interview experience.

Identify Their Strengths

Not everyone can build meaningful relationships with terminally ill patients. Those who do should be prepared to highlight this strength and explain how they can help elevate the performance of the hospice team as a whole.

In preparation for interviews, candidates may find it helpful to write an informal list of the unique qualities they bring to the hospice profession. Reviewing their strengths in this way helps many individuals more eloquently articulate them when it comes time to discuss them in the interview context.

What Should I Say in a Hospice Nurse Interview?

Whether a prospective hospice nurse is interviewing for a position in a home healthcare organization or a nursing home, they must be prepared to answer both skill-based and interpersonal questions. Entering the interview with a strong understanding of the hospice interview process helps candidates avoid being caught off guard and appear more relaxed and confident. Below are a few sample hospice job interview questions and the types of answers interviewers can expect to hear:

Question 1 (Skill-Based): When should a hospice nurse begin to administer morphine?

Answer 1: While every case is unique, morphine is typically appropriate for hospice patients who do not have a history of substance use and are experiencing chronic or severe pain. In these cases, hospice nurses can work with a patient’s primary care physician to obtain a morphine prescription. When delivering morphine, it is important to come prepared with naloxone to prevent the risk of overdose.

Question 2 (Interpersonal): Why have you chosen to pursue hospice care?

Answer 2: No two answers to this question are the same. The call to hospice care is often a deeply personal one, and nurses need to answer this question as authentically as possible. Perhaps a death in the family taught them the importance of end-of-life care, or their passion for caregiving prompted them to serve patients during what is a very difficult period of time for many. Whatever the reason, the answer to this question should highlight why the candidate was attracted to the profession.

Ultimately, interviews benefit both parties involved, providing candidates with an opportunity to bring their resume to life and allowing administrators to evaluate a candidate’s social skills and tactical knowledge. Both sides are gathering information and insights to ensure a good fit.

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Jeff Sandstrom

Strategic Product Marketing Manager for Post-Acute Care, Relias

Jeff Sandstrom is the Strategic Product Marketing Manager for Post-Acute Care at Relias. He's a passionate advocate for e-learning, wound care education, and clinical and behavioral assessments in post-acute care settings. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science of Business and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota.

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