The Top 30 Pulmonary Nurse Interview Questions You Should Prepare For

Landing your dream job as a pulmonary nurse starts with acing the interview. As a specialty field employers want to make sure you have the right skills, experience and temperament to succeed.

I’ve compiled the 30 most common pulmonary nurse interview questions along with tips on how to craft winning answers. With preparation and practice you’ll be ready to impress interviewers and launch your pulmonary nursing career.

1. Why are you interested in becoming a pulmonary nurse?

This open-ended question allows you to share your passion for pulmonary nursing. Focus on what draws you to this specialty, such as:

  • Want to help people who have long-term lung diseases like asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, and more

  • Interest in the mechanics of breathing and the respiratory system.

  • Reward of seeing patients improve lung function and quality of life.

  • Excitement of working in a fast-paced critical care environment like the ICU.

  • Satisfaction of educating patients on disease management and prevention.

2. What relevant experience do you have in pulmonary nursing?

With this question, interviewers want to gauge your hands-on expertise in respiratory care. Highlight experiences like:

  • Administering treatments like oxygen therapy, chest physiotherapy, and breathing exercises.

  • Assisting physicians with procedures like endotracheal intubation and bronchoscopies.

  • Monitoring and adjusting ventilator settings for critically ill patients.

  • Educating patients with COPD, asthma, pneumonia and other pulmonary diseases.

  • Responding swiftly to respiratory emergencies and monitoring effectiveness of interventions.

3. How do you stay up-to-date on developments in pulmonary care?

Lifelong learning is key for nursing excellence. Share examples of how you stay current, like:

  • Reading scientific journals such as Respiratory Care, Chest, and Journal of Pulmonary Medicine.

  • Attending conferences hosted by organizations like the American Thoracic Society.

  • Completing continuing education courses on new treatment guidelines.

  • Participating in in-services at work focused on pulmonary care updates.

  • Joining professional associations like the American Association for Respiratory Care.

4. How do you handle the emotional needs of patients with serious pulmonary diseases?

Nurses don’t just provide clinical care – they offer emotional support. Share your approach to addressing patients’ psychosocial needs:

  • Active listening and empathy when patients share fears or frustrations.

  • Involving social workers, counselors, and palliative care specialists for comprehensive support.

  • Educating family members on how to provide care and emotional support.

  • Connecting patients with support groups to find encouragement from peers.

5. What qualities make an excellent pulmonary nurse?

This question allows you to highlight your top strengths. Focus on must-have qualities like:

  • Excellent respiratory assessment skills and clinical judgment.

  • Ability to respond swiftly and stay calm under pressure.

  • Strong understanding of cardiopulmonary pathophysiology.

  • Compassion and emotional intelligence.

  • Outstanding communication and patient education abilities.

  • Commitment to professional development and best practices.

6. How do you provide culturally competent care to diverse patients?

Your ability to connect with and care for diverse patients is key. Share how you:

  • Avoid stereotyping or assumptions based on demographics.

  • Learn about patients’ cultural needs, beliefs and perspectives.

  • Use translator services or patient education materials in different languages as needed.

  • Adapt care plans to be sensitive to cultural preferences.

  • Advocate for patients if they experience discrimination.

7. What do you do if you disagree with a doctor’s treatment plan?

Nurses often need to diplomatically advocate for patients. Discuss how you would:

  • Ask the physician open-ended questions to understand their rationale.

  • Present your concerns and evidence in a clear, non-confrontational way.

  • Suggest compromises or alternatives that meet the patient’s needs.

  • Loop in the nurse manager if disagreement persists and impacts patient care.

8. How do you respond when a patient or family member becomes angry?

De-escalating conflict is an invaluable nursing skill. Share how you:

  • Actively listen to understand their frustrations.

  • Speak calmly and acknowledge their concerns.

  • Apologize for any lapses in care or communication.

  • Involve your manager or social worker if needed to mediate.

  • Document incidents thoroughly in the patient record.

9. What’s your experience with mechanical ventilation and caring for ventilated patients?

Ventilator care is a core pulmonary nursing responsibility. Discuss experiences like:

  • Managing vent settings, alarms, humidification, suctioning.

  • Recognizing signs of complications like pneumothorax.

  • Monitoring patients’ cardiopulmonary status.

  • Educating families on ventilator care.

  • Assisting with liberation from mechanical ventilation.

10. How do you prioritize tasks when multiple patients need assistance?

Time management and multitasking skills are vital. Share how you:

  • Quickly assess which patients have the most urgent needs.

  • Efficiently cluster care activities when possible.

  • Communicate with your team to collaborate on care.

  • Reassess priorities if a patient develops new symptoms or issues.

  • Document clearly so other nurses can pick up where you left off.

11. What’s your experience with arterial blood gas analysis?

Blood gas analysis is key in pulmonary nursing. Discuss your skills in:

  • Drawing ABG samples from arterial sites like radial arteries.

  • Analyzing results and interpreting values correctly.

  • Making appropriate clinical decisions based on findings.

  • Educating patients on the purpose and process.

  • Ensuring proper sample handling procedures.

12. How do you contribute to a culture of patient safety?

Patient safety is a top priority for all nurses. Share how you:

  • Follow infection control best practices, like hand hygiene.

  • Use the “five rights” approach to medication administration.

  • Speak up immediately if you notice errors or risks.

  • Report adverse events or close calls to improve systems.

  • Participate in drills to refine emergency response skills.

13. What do you do when you don’t know the answer to a patient’s question?

It’s impossible to know everything. Discuss how you would:

  • Admit when you’re unsure instead of guessing.

  • Promise to follow up once you’ve looked into their question.

  • Consult sources like senior nurses, protocols, or clinical resources.

  • Provide the patient with the information once you find the answer.

14. How do you stay motivated on difficult days?

Healthcare can be emotionally taxing. Share healthy coping methods you use:

  • Communicating openly with colleagues for support.

  • Taking brief mental breaks when possible.

  • Focusing on patient successes and positive outcomes.

  • Practicing mindfulness or meditation during shifts.

  • Pursuing hobbies and interests outside of work.

15. What do you want to accomplish in your first six months as a pulmonary nurse?

This shows your eagerness to dive in and learn. Goals may include:

  • Shadowing experienced nurses to refine skills.

  • Building strong rapport with patients and fellow staff.

  • Further developing time management abilities.

  • Gaining confidence responding to emergencies.

  • Volunteering for unit committees like quality improvement or education.

16. Describe a time you made a medical error. How did you respond?

We all make mistakes, but learning from them is key. Discuss an error, being sure to:

  • Take responsibility for your actions.

  • Explain how you immediately corrected it and notified providers.

  • Share the protocol changes implemented afterwards to prevent recurrence.

  • Emphasize how the experience made you a more diligent, safety-focused nurse.

17. Why should we hire you over other candidates?

This is your chance to stand out from the competition. Focus on one or two top strengths, such as:

  • Specialized certifications like Adult Critical Care Nursing (CCRN).

  • Breadth of pulmonary nursing experience in various settings.

  • Reputation as a compassionate patient advocate.

  • Leadership abilities and team collaboration skills.

18. What questions do you have for me?

Always prepare thoughtful questions, such as:

  • How would you describe the ideal candidate?

  • What patient population does this role serve?

  • What opportunities are there for professional development?

  • What qualities make nurses successful here?

19. How do you respond when a confused patient becomes combative?

Compassion and quick thinking are key here. Discuss how you would:

  • Speak calmly and non-confrontationally, without taking it personally.

  • Seek backup from security or other staff if needed.

  • Evaluate potential causes like delirium or dementia that may be triggering aggression

Interview Questions for Pulmonologists:

Shows interpersonal skills and ability to empathize.

Top 20 Respiratory Therapist Interview Questions and Answers for 2024


What questions are asked in a respiratory interview?

Role-specific interview questions How do you stay updated with the latest technologies and techniques in respiratory therapy? How do you assess the oxygenation and ventilation status of a critically ill patient, and what interventions do you take based on the results?

What is the hardest part of a nursing interview question?

The hardest part about answering why you want to be a nurse is that you need to be honest, without sounding trite. “I just want to help people” is a phrase that has been heard far too often in nurse job interviews.

What is your strength and weakness nursing interview?

What are your strengths and weaknesses as a nurse? My greatest strength as a nurse is my ability to connect with patients and provide them with compassion and care. I am also very patient and efficient in my work. My greatest weakness is that I sometimes have trouble dealing with the emotional aspects of the job.

What questions do interviewers ask a respiratory therapist?

Related: How To Become a Respiratory Therapist in 6 Steps Interviewers typically ask general questions about your professional experience and background to learn more about you. Your answers can provide them insights into your work style or personal and professional traits.

What do lungs with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease look like?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease also called COPD is typically caused by chronic smoking making the patient difficult to breathe. The airways in the lung are narrowed due to inflammation and damage, with an increase in production of mucus. The appearance of the lungs however depends on the severity of the disease. In an X-ray of a patient with COPD the lungs typically appear more whiter than the lungs of a normal person with decreased air spaces (black/dark spaces) indicating narrow air ways. In a CT the lungs show diffuse hazy pattern with mosaic appearance due to small airways with thick walled bronchi.

What questions should a nurse ask a hiring manager?

Your answers are valuable so the hiring manager can understand more about how your personality will fit in with the rest of the staff, as nursing often requires a great team effort, collaboration and communication to make sure patients are receiving the highest quality of care. Example questions include: What are your greatest strengths as a nurse?

How does a nurse perform a respiratory assessment?

RESPIRATORY ASSESSMENT With an understanding of the basic structures and primary functions of the respiratory system, the nurse collects subjective and objective data to perform a focused respiratory assessment. Collect data using interview questions, paying particular attention to what the patient is reporting.

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