7 Important Director of Nursing Interview Questions to Ask
Organizations need effective leaders to operate smoothly, which makes a reliable director of nursing (DON) a must-have for a healthcare facility or residence. If your facility is in the market to hire a new DON, targeted and insightful director of nursing interview questions will help you navigate the hiring process.
DONs are registered nurses who take an administrative role within a facility and are part of a nursing management team. They’re involved in a variety of key tasks related to staffing, budgets, compliance, and policy. With all this role entails, it’s important to not only find the right fit for the position, but also to support the DON’s success once they’re hired.
To help you prepare, we’ve provided some tough nursing leadership interview questions (and answers). You’ll want to move beyond the basics and get to the heart of the candidate’s qualifications. Use the following questions as a guide as you search for the right fit.
Interview Questions for a Director of Nursing
- Why are you seeking a director of nursing position?
- Could you explain the responsibilities of a director of nursing?
- How do you plan for and evaluate new initiatives within your facility?
- What considerations are most important when delegating responsibility among nursing staff?
- What do you look for when conducting staff performance reviews?
- Could you provide an example of a time you dealt with conflict among nursing staff or patients?
- What challenges do you expect to face as a director of nursing and how will you address them?
Director of Nursing Interview Questions and What They Reveal
1. Why are you seeking a director of nursing position?
By asking the candidate to consider, Why do I want to be a director of nursing? you’ll gain insight into their commitment and motivation. This can be a good indicator of whether they’ll be a good fit for your organization, as some candidates may focus on the increased status and salary while others may prioritize building a positive work environment for their nursing staff.
2. Could you explain the responsibilities of a director of nursing?
The responsibilities of a DON are extensive and vary by practice setting. In the long-term care setting, a DON may handle duties like developing procedures and budgets, managing inventory, monitoring compliance, employee education, performance review, staffing decisions, conflict resolution, and more. A director of nursing in a hospital oversees several nursing units and departments. Although they have less day-to-day interaction with nursing staff, their decisions directly impact a nursing unit’s operations.
Answers to this question will provide insight into candidates’ understanding of the role and whether they’re up to the task. Be sure to clarify the expectations for the DON role if the candidate’s background is in a different type of healthcare setting.
3. How will you plan for and evaluate new initiatives within your facility?
The healthcare industry is always changing, so it’s important for your DON to be able to implement new initiatives aimed at improving patient care. Listen for answers that reference staying up to date on innovations and how they’ll evaluate a plan’s effectiveness by analyzing data on patient outcomes.
4. What considerations are most important when delegating responsibility among nursing staff?
Delegation is an essential leadership skill. A candidate’s answer to this question should include a reference to prioritizing patient-centered care — focusing on each individual patient’s holistic needs. Also, a quality candidate may reference the need to maintain a manageable workload for the nursing staff within their department, which is a key factor in reducing nurse turnover rates.
5. What do you look for when conducting staff performance reviews?
Performance reviews can have a significant impact on staff morale and satisfaction. In fact, studies have shown that, compared to their managers, nursing professionals have a less-positive perception of performance reviews, so it’s important that your DON is tactful and respectful. Pay attention to a candidate’s response related to identifying skills and competencies, areas of growth, collaboration, and interpersonal skills.
6. Could you provide an example of a time you dealt with conflict among nursing staff or patients?
Conflicts will inevitably occur in your facility from time to time, and the director of nursing may play a part in resolving them. Conflict resolution is an essential component of leadership and this question will shed light on whether the candidate’s approach aligns with your organization’s values.
7. What challenges do you expect to face as a director of nursing and how will you address them?
Of all director of nursing interview questions, this one will provide the most insight into the applicant’s ability to forecast obstacles — an important skill for a leader. Additionally, candidates want to feel that they ended the interview on a positive note, and this question will give them an opportunity to highlight how they are uniquely suited to rise to the challenges of the role.
While these questions are focused on the DON role, you could also use these ideas if you’re searching for assistant director of nursing interview questions. This list of questions gets to the heart of a candidate’s leadership qualities, which are necessary in both roles.
Need Some Staffing Support?
Once you’ve used these director of nursing interview questions to fill your open position, you might also need to hire nursing professionals to round out the team. Through a partnership with IntelyCare, you can find qualified staff with ease. Discover how we can help you transform your staffing today.