Top 25 ICU Nursing Interview Questions and Answers in 2024

Editorial Team

ICU Nursing Interview Questions and Answers

Critical care units are looking for a nurse who enjoys treating patients with life-threatening diseases and working on challenging cases. Be ready with various behavioral, patient care, and stress-related interview questions for ICU nurses and inquiries about how you handle high-pressure circumstances. Here are 25 interview questions and answers for ICU nurses to help you during your interview.

1. What Is Your Greatest Nursing Strength?

My greatest strength, I believe, is my compassion for patients. I am aware that this position entails working with pediatric patients and their families, and I believe that my commitment to providing compassionate care and support to children and their loved ones qualifies me for this position. My other strengths are empathy, good communication skills, dedication, and patience.

2. What Responsibilities Have You Had As An Icu Nurse?

I am accountable for the following as an intensive care unit nurse:

  • Keep track of and evaluate the patient’s progress.
  • Give treatments.
  • Recognize and respond to changes in a patient’s condition.
  • Keep patient records.
  • Complete all paperwork required for the patient’s transfer out of the intensive care unit.

3. How Do You Deal With High Stress While Performing Your Duties As An Icu Nurse?

It is undeniable that being in an ICU is very stressful. Therefore, as an ICU nurse, I will take a break and do a quick exercise. Finding time to exercise can be difficult, especially when I am already working long hours doing physically demanding work, but the benefits are significant. But simple stretching and light exercises can help me release my stress and improve my mood.

4. What Do You Believe Are The Most Challenging Issues Confronting Nurses Today?

There are a few issues that are challenging for ICU nurses, and I hope they can be resolved quickly. The challenging issues are:

  • Short staffed – I understand that there is a need to cut costs, but I don’t think any organization should do it by reducing nurses. Being short-staffed for short periods is common in most professions and is often a minor inconvenience. In nursing, however, insufficient staffing can mean the difference between life and death.
  • Workplace violence – No staff nurse should deal with workplace violence from coworkers, patients, or visitors. This violence will increase stress and will jeopardize our mental health. 

5. Have You Ever Had A Patient Who Was Dissatisfied With Your Care? How Do You Handle The Situation?

Yes, I have encountered a situation where a patient was dissatisfied with my care. Firstly, it is best to wait until they’ve calmed down before responding so I can take a deep breath and gather my thoughts. I will make eye contact and speak softly. I will acknowledge their complaints and will remain calm. I will also maintain a clear perspective and focus on a suitable solution to their problem. Even if I am sure I did nothing wrong, it is always best to respond with care and concern.

6. Patients Can Have Difficulty Understanding What Nurses And Other Medical Personnel Tell Them About Their Situation. How Do You Communicate With These Patients To Achieve A High Level Of Understanding?

Medical terms are indeed complicated to understand by commoners. Therefore, it is my duty to make them understand their medical conditions. There are a few ways that I practice which are:

  • Use analogies that the patient can understand and identify with.
  • Draw a picture if patients need to see what you’re saying.
  • Request that patients repeat instructions to me. If they don’t understand my instructions, I will repeat them using less technical language.
  • Practice using laymen’s terms and find as many words that are easy to understand by the patients and their families.

7. What Is Your Technique For Educating Your Patients And Their Families?

It is crucial to educate the patients and their families because the care is in their hands after being discharged from the hospital. To educate, we must include families in all discussions. Any person who plays an essential role in the patient’s life is considered family. The information provided to the patient and families should be age, literacy level, education, and language skills appropriate. I will avoid using medical terminology or jargon. What I will include while educating them are:

  • Safe and effective use of medications
  • How to operate medical equipment
  • Diet and nutrition that the patients need
  • Pain management
  • Hygiene

8. How Would You Evaluate A Patient Who Had A Heart Attack?

There are eight things that I will assess for a patient who has a heart attack. My assessments include:

  • Examine for chest pain that is not relieved by rest or medication.
  • Keep an eye on vital signs, especially blood pressure and pulse rate.
  • Check for shortness of breath, dyspnea, tachypnea, and crackles.
  • Examine for nausea and vomiting.
  • Look for signs of decreased urinary output.
  • Examine the patient’s medical history.
  • Perform a thorough physical examination to detect complications and changes in the patient’s condition.
  • Periodically monitor IV sites.

9. Can You Describe A Time When You Took On An Unofficial Leadership Role In The Workplace?

I can still remember when we were at the beginning of the Covid-19 attack when we had a lot of people in the ICU due to respiratory problems. One night, I realized that one of the patients had low saturated oxygen and had difficulties of breathing. I quickly screamed for help and got my fellow nurses to help with the intubation process since the doctors were not there. I instructed the nurses on what to do until we successfully intubated the patient. It was a chaotic night, but we managed to overcome it.

10. Tell Me About A Time When You Added A New Service To The Hospital For The Benefit Of Its Patients.

While working as a NICU nurse at XYZ Hospital, I realized that babies that got to hear their parents’ voices often seemed to heal quickly. Because parents cannot always be present at the hospital, we created the idea of incorporating a button into a baby’s stuffed animal or blanket that, when pressed, would play an audio recording of their parent’s voice reading stories or singing a lullaby. We later presented our idea at an evidence-based practice conference and received funding to implement it.

11. What Do You Believe Is The Best Way To Build Rapport With Patients?

I believe the best way to build rapport with patients is by being human and treating them as how we want to be treated. I usually introduce myself to the patients and let them know they are under my care for the next eight hours. I will listen carefully whenever they speak and understand their concerns, fears, and desires. Sometimes sick people want to be heard and have someone to talk to.

12. How Do You Deal With Patients’ Family Members Who Make Unreasonable Demands?

It is possible for the relatives of intensive care unit patients to behave impolitely toward the medical staff at times because they are worried about the state of their loved ones. Patients who have had their airways intubated may be unable to express what they want, placing significant stress on the patient’s family members. Because of this, if the requests are unrealistic, I will explain why we cannot satisfy them and make sure they understand why.

13. What Do You Understand About Critical Care Nurse?

Intensive care Nursing is a nursing subspecialty focusing on critically ill, complicated patients suffering from life-threatening complications. Nurses in critical care settings must have advanced nursing skills and a thorough understanding of the sophisticated electronic equipment required to monitor and treat critically ill patients. Population-level certifications are needed in the adult, pediatrics, and neonatal critical care sectors.

14. What Inspired You To Pursue A Nursing Career?

One of the primary reasons I want to become a nurse is that I have always had the impulse to lend a helping hand to others and provide comfort to those suffering. During my senior year of high school, I volunteered at a local hospital, and during that time, I saw firsthand the positive impact that nurses had on the lives of their patients. Because I enjoy a good challenge and am constantly setting new objectives for myself, the nursing field is a fantastic fit because there aren’t many other jobs that offer as much variety and opportunity to grow professionally.

15. Can You Tell Me A Time When A Patient Or Their Family Was Particularly Pleased And Grateful For Your Care?

Working in pediatrics can be both challenging and rewarding. Because of work, other children, or previous commitments, parents sometimes cannot stay by the bedside 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Once, I took care of a six months old baby. Since the mother was at home with other children, I played with the infants and gave her soft toys we had in the ward. When her mother called in, I put the phone next to the infant so the mother could hear her child and sang to her. She stated that no other nurse had done anything like that during her child’s hospitalization and that she would be eternally grateful.

16. Give An Example Of A Time When You Had To Deal With A Difficult Patient. What Was The Outcome Of Your Handling Of The Situation?

I once had a patient who refused to take her medications. I tried everything, but she spits them out at me when she tries to take them. I informed my charge nurse, the physician in charge of her care, and the social worker about her behavior. Following numerous conversations and phone calls, it was determined that the patient was spitting out the medication because she preferred it mixed in chocolate pudding. The older woman had dementia. After speaking with the social worker, we only found out about her medication preferences. She could not communicate her wants and needs to us, resulting in hostility.

17. What Steps Would You Take To Improve Your Nursing Knowledge?

I frequently enroll in advanced-level nursing courses to sharpen my nursing skills and adapt to new industry standards. In addition to nursing classes, I attend management and personality development seminars. Such seminars help me to grow professionally while also assisting me in interacting with patients more professionally.

18. What Would Your Ideal Work Week Look Like?

A workweek, in my opinion, and based on my previous experience, begins on Monday morning and ends on Saturday evening. When I arrive at work on Monday morning, I go through all of my emails, take instructions from seniors, and get feedback from colleagues who were present the night before to follow up on the patient’s progress. Based on the tasks assigned to me by my seniors, I meticulously plan out the rest of my week and keep a to-do list prepared, so I don’t miss anything.

19. Why Do You Believe You Are Qualified For This Position?

I am a very dedicated and committed person who has always been highly passionate about working to help the sick and needy. Even as a college student, I visited nursing homes and pediatric facilities to assist the ill and elderly. Even after all these years, I still look forward to getting out of bed each morning and going to work to help patients get better and heal faster. I’m also willing to work longer hours if the hospital is understaffed. I can come to work early and leave late because I don’t have any children or domestic responsibilities.

20. What Is Your Biggest Weakness?

Even after years of experience as an ICU nurse, I’m still perplexed when I see severely injured accident victims. When I started working as an ICU nurse, seeing a patient with horrific injuries made my mind numb, I couldn’t even be proactive and handle the situation wisely at times. When I realized this weakness, I began meditating regularly to train my mind to remain calm in emergencies. The meditation truly helped me over the years, and I was better able to handle gory wounds and accident cases.

21. What Aspect Of Your Job As An Icu Nurse Gives You The Most Satisfaction?

One thing that satisfies me as an ICU nurse is seeing a patient’s health improve over the critical care days. I have a very extroverted personality, making it a point to make ICU patients in pain or trauma smile or laugh. Many patients have expressed gratitude for my warm and friendly demeanor, claiming that it has aided their recovery. When given a feedback form at discharge, most patients rate my nursing services as 5-stars. Receiving this excellent rating for my skills and services provides me with the highest level of professional fulfillment.

22. Do You Believe You’re Prepared To Lead A Small Team Of Junior Icu Nurses?

I am prepared to take charge of a modest group of less experienced intensive care unit nurses. I have been employed in the intensive care unit for the past five years. I have the ability to lead in a focused direction. In addition, I have outstanding listening abilities. I believe that strong communication skills are essential to the development of a culture that encourages improved care outcomes.

23. Do You Frequently Take Leave?

My absence from work is not too often. I am a lady who is not married and has very few responsibilities in the home. The only exception to this rule is when I take a week off to go on a brief vacation and clear my head, but other than that, you can find me at work every day.

24. Are You Comfortable Working With Clinical Nursing Students In A Critical Care Setting?

Definitely! I’d love to be a student mentor! At the hospital where I worked, clinical students were only given to nurses with managerial positions. I am aware of the logistics involved in pairing students with appropriate supervisors, but I have always harbored the desire to be the one to precept them. I hope they can pick up new skills and get invaluable experience while working in intensive care units.

25. What Do You Think Is The Most Difficult Aspect Of Being A Nurse?

The most challenging thing I’ve had to deal with is feeling helpless. While it is my responsibility to provide the best medical care and comfort possible, there are times when you cannot do more. The most challenging thing I have to deal with is seeing someone in pain or unhappy and knowing there is nothing you can do to help. I became a nurse because I genuinely care about people and want to help them, and it’s difficult for me when I can’t.


During an intensive care unit nurse interview, demonstrating commitment, experience, and a personal touch with patients will position you as a standout candidate. We hope our questions and answers can help you with your interview. All you have to do is be confident and show them what you can do. If there is anything you would like to know in detail about the job, go ahead and ask because the interviewers are always ready to answer all of your questions. Good luck to us.