Interview Question: Why Do You Find Nursing Rewarding?

Nurse holding swaddled baby
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Congratulations! Your cover letter and resume got you noticed, and you’re ready to prepare for an interview for your dream nursing job. You’ll be asked a number of questions at your interview, and one very important question may be, “Why do you find nursing to be a rewarding profession?”

Thinking about possible questions and formulating answers will help you feel more confident and prepared to give your best responses to the hiring manager. Your answers should contain examples from your own experiences that you can share which highlight your qualifications for the position, including why you find nursing to be so rewarding.

How to Answer "Why Do You Find Nursing Rewarding?"

There are a number of ways you can answer this question. You might focus on how you feel when you work with a specific patient population or witness a specific joyful outcome. For example:

“The most rewarding thing for me as a nurse is seeing the joy when a family first holds their baby. The first volunteer job I had back in high school was helping in the maternity ward at the hospital in my hometown. The very first time I saw a new mother with her baby, I knew that I wanted to go into nursing to share this special time with families. Throughout my years as a maternity nurse, I have seen many heartbreaking times as well, and being able to help those families cope with loss has been very difficult, but also rewarding.”

Perhaps your favorite part of nursing is being able to help people through stressful situations or help them communicate with doctors. For example:

“As an Emergency Room nurse, one of the primary jobs that I have, besides helping the on-call doctor to treat patients, is interacting with the patients and their families. Often, the families need to wait for a diagnosis, and they look to the nurse for explanations and messages from the doctor. I find it very rewarding to be able to help the patients, as well as their families, be calm and well-prepared for when the doctor can speak with them.”

Maybe the reason you feel that nursing is your calling is because you know how to help people who are facing great challenges with their health and recovery. It takes a special person to handle situations like this. You could say:

“I find helping patients through recovery after surgery, which is often one of their greatest challenges, to be most rewarding. Many times, no matter how well-educated the patient is, and how well-prepared they are for what to expect during recovery, the reality of their post-surgical rehabilitation is overwhelming. I once worked with a patient after knee surgery who had some complications, which resulted in the need for an extended hospital stay, and much more physical therapy than she had been prepared for.

I was concerned for her mental state, and recommended that she speak with our social worker. After she had been released, she sent me a very nice note, thanking me for putting her in touch with the social worker, and letting me know that it had a positive impact on her recovery.”

Another rewarding reason for being a nurse might be working specifically with kids. It can be both painful and rewarding to work with young people when their health is fragile and future outcomes are unknown. You could say something like this:

“I love working with children, and the most rewarding part of being a pediatric nurse is watching how they process their illnesses and injuries, as well as how willing they are to take charge of their recovery. I remember one young patient who had been given a difficult diagnosis, and she had a lot of questions about her treatment. Her fantastic attitude, as well as the support of her parents, most likely contributed to her remission. I learned so much from that little girl, and I believe that I have been able to help other children better for having known her.”

Additional Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

In order to be fully prepared for your interview, you’ll need to consider a number of interview questions that are specifically geared towards nursing. For example, you may be asked how you handle the stress of being a nurse, what you do when patients have complaints, or how you deal with families who are worried about their loved ones who are sick and in the hospital.

Take some time to think about interview questions that may be specific to nurses. In addition, also prepare a list of all your nursing skills, including specific examples for your best five or six skills.