Operating Room Nurse Interview Questions

Ready to find your next team-player Operating Nurse? These sample interview questions will help you find the best person for the job.

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Operating Room Nurse Interview Questions

Operating room nurses (or perioperative nurses) are experienced registered nurses who work in the OR to provide care before, during, and after surgical procedures. 

OR Nurses fall into two categories: 

  • Scrub Nurse: works in a sterile environment
  • Circulating Nurse: works outside a sterile environment 

A Bachelor's degree in nursing and a state license are essential requirements for this position. Top candidates will also be trained in BLS/CPR and be ACLS-certified. 

📌Don’t forget: Check local legislation as licensure requirements vary per location and job description. 

Keep an eye out for candidates who are:

  • Critical thinkers  
  • Strong communicators
  • Good with people 
  • Detail-oriented
  • Compassionate
  • Knowledgeable about procedures

Top tip: Hire candidates willing to grow by making sure their personal career goals align with your company's mission.

Role-specific interview questions

  • Why are you interested in OR nursing? 
  • In what types of operations do you have experience?
  • What experience do you have that prepared you for this role?
  • Give me an example of a break in the sterile technique. Why is this an issue and how do you handle it? 
  • What’s a “time out”? When is it useful? 
  • What are the legal aspects of a perioperative nurse’s role? Why are they important? 
  • Can you explain the use of a surgical safety checklist? Why is it important? 
  • Why is surgical skin preparation important? Walk me through the process for it.

Behavioral interview questions

  • Describe a time you spotted an inefficiency of the operating room. What happened and how did you handle it?  
  • How do you handle high levels of stress at work?
  • What steps do you take to calm an anxious patient? Can you recall a specific incident when you had to do this? 
  • Have you ever had a conflict with a surgeon or nurse? How did you resolve it?
  • Tell me about the biggest challenge you’ve faced in the past as a nurse. How did it help you grow in your career? 

Problem-solving interview questions

  • How do you prepare a patient for a surgical procedure?
  • How do you handle preparing for a procedure you aren’t familiar with? 
  • What’s the protocol if you noticed the sterile field was contaminated?
  • What are a few critical questions to always ask a patient before surgery?
  • What’s the protocol if you see changes in your patient’s vital signs during surgery?
  • What’s the protocol to prepare the OR if a patient has a known latex allergy? 

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