Assessing and planning nursing care requirements is not something that everyone can do. Hence, candidates for mental health nurse positions are scrutinized during the interview process to determine what their skills are.
As an interviewee, it is your job to know the work inside out and to prepare for possible questions.
A set of interview questions and answers for a mental health nurse position is given below to help you get prepared for the interview:
40 Common Interview Questions and Answers for Mental Health Nurse
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am a compassionate and driven mental health nurse. I have worked in this capacity for 10+ years, and these years have been quite emotionally fruitful.
2. What duties have you performed in this role?
As a mental health nurse, I have assessed patients’ conditions and handled plan development for them. I have also helped patients manage their emotions, and have helped with evidence-based anxiety therapy. Moreover, my work involves preparing and maintaining patients’ records and helping them come to terms with their conditions.
3. What skills do you offer us?
I am a highly-skilled mental health nurse, with excellent knowledge of providing one on one mental health therapy. I am well-versed in developing specific mental health plans for each patient, and can effectively provide support for intervention. Furthermore, I am adept at advising educators on the potential side-effects of medications and can also skillfully provide mental health consultation.
4. What do you like most about this work?
I love the fact that I am in a position to help people with something that was considered taboo not too long ago.
5. What do you dislike about this work?
I must admit that I do not like seeing people lose control of themselves. Unfortunately, that is the main problem with mental health, and it cannot be avoided.
6. How do you handle conflict at the workplace?
Being a patient individual by nature, I ensure that I take conflict with a pinch of salt.
7. What is the most challenging part of working as a mental health nurse?
I feel that working with people with mental health issues is challenging on a daily basis, and on many levels. So, I am unable to pinpoint just one area that is more challenging than the other.
8. How do you handle your own emotions when working on a case?
I must admit that it wasn’t easy to do this in the beginning. Over the years, I have trained myself to work superficially, while exercising some form of compassion. This way, I remain as detached as humanly possible.
9. Do you feel overwhelmed by the work?
At times, yes. I sometimes feel that I need a break. And at that time, I do take a break so that I am ready for the next round of work.
10. How do you handle difficult patients?
Refusal to eat or take medication is common with mental health patients. I am trained to exercise patience and ensure that the work is done, even if it takes a while.
11. Do you have any liaison with educators?
All the time. I work with educators to provide them with information on mental health disorders, and how to help people, especially families understand them.
12. As far as administrative work is concerned, what is your experience?
Part of my work includes setting up appointments and making follow-ups. My work also involves creating and maintaining patient charts.
13. As far as self-harm is concerned in patients, what has been your experience?
I have worked with many patients who were in danger of harming themselves and others. My plan to look after them is more profoundly handled. I ensure that they are constantly monitored and that they remain as calm as possible.
14. Have you ever wanted to do something else?
Never. Working in mental health had been my goal forever, and I have never wanted to do anything else.
15. Describe your perfect work environment.
To be honest, I do not look for perfect work environments. I just make sure that whatever environment I am working in is conducive to providing excellent patient care.
16. How do you approach family members with bad news about patients?
It is unfortunate that is a big part of my work. I am trained in breaking bad news to family members, easing the blow as much as I can. After that, I provide as much support as I can.
17. What is your biggest strength?
My biggest strength is my ability to remain professional even when I feel that I am on edge.
18. What is your biggest weakness?
I feel that I cannot ask for help, even when I know that I need to. But I am working on it.
19. How do you motivate patients?
The fact that I have a pleasant demeanor helps greatly. I make sure that I keep a continuously positive outlook, which helps keep patients motivated.
20. What do you do to keep yourself motivated?
I do not have issues staying motivated. I love my work, and doing it every day is all the motivation that I need.
21. What is your management style?
My management style changes with what works best in which situation.
22. Which is the most successful aspect of your work?
I believe that reaching out to mental health patients and their families is the most successful part of my work, as I have been quite efficacious in performing this feat.
23. Tell me of a time when you went beyond the call of duty.
I was once assigned to a mental health patient who had no family. I felt a personal attachment to her and gave the case all that I had until she was ready to go out into the world. I believe that I spent a lot of emotion and time in this case, and I am happy that I did.
24. Why did you leave your last job?
I wanted to work in an environment where my skills as a mental health nurse will be put to good use.
25. Why do you want to work with us specifically?
I appreciate your stance on mental health awareness and assistance, which is why I want to work with your facility specifically.
26. Have you attended any mental health conferences?
Many. I make sure that I attend as many workshops and conferences as I can.
27. Do these events help you?
Absolutely. These events give me great knowledge, which makes it easy for me to apply my skills with patients.
28. Who is your career role model, and why?
It may sound cliched, but I really do consider Florence Nightingale my role model. This is because of how selflessly she helped her patients, which is how I think things need to be done, especially when one is working in mental health.
29. How do you help your own family with emotional issues?
As far as I possibly can, I provide emotional support. When I see that me being a service provider who is also a family member isn’t working, I suggest therapy.
30. Do you need to be closely supervised?
Not at all. I can work with minimal supervision, and even without it.
31. How do you set priorities in your work?
I am great at setting priorities, as I know which cases need me the most, and in what capacity.
32. Who was the most difficult person that you have worked with?
I must say that I have never worked with a person whose difficulty level I could not handle.
33. Have you ever led a team of nurses?
I have led 3 teams of nurses over the last few years. It has been quite a journey training and mentoring them.
34. Do you like working in a team environment?
Mental health caregiving can be a bit difficult when provided in a team environment. To gain a patient’s trust, one needs to work with them on a one on one basis.
35. What has been your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement has been to rehabilitate 100+ patients over the last 15 years.
36. What do you do apart from nursing?
I cycle to let off steam. Music production is a hobby too.
37. What is the most important lesson that you have learnt in your career?
I learned that mental health is taken non-seriously by the masses and that it needs as much attention as any other form of illness.
38. When can you join us?
I need to provide a 30-days’ notice at my present workplace. Once I do that, I will be able to join you as soon as the notice period is over.
39. What are your plans for the next 5 years?
I am hoping to train as a mental health nurse manager within the next 5 years.
40. Do you have any questions for me?
I am interested in knowing about the steps that your facility has taken to increase awareness about mental health issues.
Related: Mental Health Nurse Resume Sample