The role of a Nurse Assistant is a vital – and often undervalued – position which keeps the medical world turning. These unsung heroes of nursing are not only proficient all the basic nuts and bolts of patient care, but they also perform the manual tasks and daily procedures which make life in a hospital as comfortable for the sick and injured as can be (or, all the gross and monotonous duties that no one else wants to do). When hiring a new Nurse Assistant to be a part of your team, you’ll want to know that your candidate is dedicated, knowledgeable, and in it for the right reasons.

What is a Certified Nursing Assistant?

Certified Nursing Assistants (or CNAs) are lower-division nursing professionals. They do not need to hold a license in order to practice — however they must still be certified by an officiating organization. Additionally, they will be required to register in their state.

CNAs must earn an Associates of Science in Nursing degree from an accredited institution, and then complete clinical training in a hospital, clinic, or nursing home. CNAs do not need to take the NCLEX, unless they wish to become RNs.

The duties described in CNA job requirements involve assisting patients with daily activities, providing and changing bedpans, bathing and dressing patients, serving meals and helping patients eat, taking vital signs, answering patient calls, examining patients, changing bed sheets, turning bedridden patients, administering medication, and other essential daily tasks.

Best Practices for Nurse Interviews

When interviewing a CNA candidate, it is important to do so as a team. CNAs wear many hats, and are often the intermediary figure between different hospital departments and advanced staff members. As a result, you should make sure to have multiple perspectives on a potential new hire.

A hiring nurse, laboratory head, supervising doctor, and a member of the administration should all be present during the interview to make sure all the relevant questions are being asked during the CNA interview. Afterwards, the interview team should meet and compare notes to determine whether the candidate is the right one for the job. Below you will find a sample interview to help you get started.

Nurse Assistant Interview Questions

Nurse Assistant Interview Questions for Patient Care

  • As a CNA, what was the most difficult patient interaction you had? What steps did you take to resolve the circumstances of the difficulty?
  • Please describe your routine as a CNA when caring for a bedridden patient.
  • Please describe your routine as a CNA when caring for an elderly patient with severe mobility issues.
  • What is your strategy for dealing with a confused, frightened, or anxious patient? Has this been a successful method of intervention for you?
  • Tell me about the most rewarding experience you’ve had in patient care as a CNA.

Nurse Assistant Interview Questions for Communication

  • CNAs often act as intermediaries between doctors, and patient’s families. Tell me about a time when you had to deliver information to a relative on behalf of a patient’s attending physician.
  • A patient has expressed to you dissatisfaction with the care provided by their attending physician. How would you go about relaying this information?
  • A patient is undergoing a test which temporarily limits the amount of water they can drink. How would you go about explaining this restriction to them?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to explain an activity or procedure to a confused patient. What language did you use? Was your strategy successful?
  • You are changing a bedpan for a new patient, who feels embarrassed about the interaction. How would you go about providing them with ease and reassurance?

Nurse Assistant Interview Questions for Adaptability and Interpersonal Skills

  • Tell me about a time when you experienced a conflict with a Registered Nurse. What did you do to find a resolution? What was the outcome?
  • Imagine that you receive several work orders simultaneously: one for vitals, two for sheet changes, one for a fresh bedpan, and three for surface examinations of varying urgency. How do you go about prioritizing these tasks? Where do you start?
  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake as a CNA. How did you go about correcting your mistake? What was the outcome?
  • Tell me about the last time you received critical feedback. How did you react? What steps did you take to improve your performance?
  • Please describe how you might go about calming an angry patient or their family member.

Nurse Assistant Interview Questions for Core Values and Motivation

  • What is the most difficult aspect of your job as a Certified Nursing Assistant? What is the most rewarding?
  • Why did you decide to become a CNA? Do you plan to advance your education?
  • What qualities do you possess that you feel makes you the ideal candidate for a CNA position?
  • Please describe your idea of excellent patient care.
  • Working as a CNA can be emotionally and physically taxing. What do you do to care for yourself and stay positive and motivated so that you can be fully present at work?

Final Thoughts: Nurse Assistant Interview Questions

Finding qualified Nurse Assistants who love their jobs is easy. Use our sample interview as a guide, and find the perfect candidate for your organization before you can say “clear!”

Medely is a nurse staffing solution that lets CNAs and RNs alike take control of their work week, as well as let organizations find nurse staff as easy as calling an Uber. Sign up for free here and find our why Medely is being called the Uber for Nursing.