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Top OR Nurse Interview Questions & Expert Answers

OR Nurse With Note And Pad Preparing For Interview

Preparing for an interview as an operating room (OR) nurse requires thorough preparation and an understanding of the types of questions that might be asked. This article provides a comprehensive guide to the most common interview questions for OR nurses, along with detailed advice on how to answer them effectively. By following this guide, you can enter your interview with confidence and demonstrate your qualifications for the role.


The role of an operating room nurse is both challenging and rewarding. As an OR nurse, you are responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of patients before, during, and after surgery. This role requires a unique set of skills, including attention to detail, the ability to work under pressure, and strong communication skills. Preparing for an interview in this field involves understanding the specific demands of the job and being able to articulate your experience and skills clearly. This guide covers the essential questions you may encounter and provides tips on how to answer them effectively.

Q[1]. Why Do You Want to Be an Operating Room Nurse?

This is a common opening question in many interviews. It’s designed to gauge your passion and motivation for choosing this specialty. When answering this question, focus on your personal and professional motivations.

Sample Answer:

"I have always been fascinated by the intricacies of surgical procedures and the critical role nurses play in ensuring patient safety. My interest in perioperative nursing began during my clinical rotations in nursing school, where I had the opportunity to observe several surgeries. The teamwork and precision required in the OR inspired me to pursue a career in this field. I am motivated by the challenge of providing the highest level of care to patients during such a critical time in their lives. Additionally, I find great satisfaction in knowing that my work directly contributes to successful surgical outcomes and improved patient health."

Q[2]. Describe Your Experience in the Operating Room

Interviewers want to know about your hands-on experience in the OR. This is your chance to showcase your background and highlight your expertise.

Sample Answer:

"I have worked as an operating room nurse for the past five years at XYZ Hospital, where I gained extensive experience in various types of surgeries, including orthopedic, cardiovascular, and general surgeries. My responsibilities included preparing the operating room, sterilizing equipment, and ensuring all necessary supplies were available. I also assisted the surgical team by passing instruments, maintaining the sterile field, and monitoring patients' vital signs. One of my key strengths is my ability to remain calm under pressure, which has been crucial during complex and high-stakes surgeries. For example, during a particularly challenging cardiovascular surgery, I was able to quickly and efficiently provide the necessary instruments and support to the surgeon, contributing to a successful outcome."

Q[3]. How Do You Handle Stressful Situations in the OR?

Operating room nurses often face high-stress situations. This question assesses your ability to manage stress effectively and maintain composure.

Sample Answer:

"Working in the OR can indeed be stressful, but I have developed several strategies to manage stress effectively. First and foremost, I rely on my training and experience to guide my actions during high-pressure situations. I also practice mindfulness and deep-breathing techniques to stay calm and focused. Additionally, I believe in the power of teamwork and clear communication. For instance, during a particularly intense trauma surgery, there were moments when the patient’s condition rapidly deteriorated. By staying calm, following established protocols, and maintaining clear communication with the surgical team, we were able to stabilize the patient and complete the surgery successfully. Outside of work, I engage in activities like yoga and running to keep my stress levels in check."

Q[4]. How Do You Ensure Patient Safety During Surgery?

Patient safety is a top priority in the OR. This question evaluates your knowledge of safety protocols and your commitment to patient care.

Sample Answer:

"Ensuring patient safety during surgery is paramount, and I adhere strictly to all established protocols and guidelines. Before each procedure, I conduct a thorough check of the operating room to ensure that all equipment is sterilized and functioning correctly. I also verify patient information, surgical consent forms, and preoperative instructions to prevent any errors. During surgery, I maintain constant vigilance, monitoring the patient’s vital signs and communicating any concerns to the surgical team immediately. For example, in a recent case, I noticed a sudden drop in the patient’s blood pressure. I promptly alerted the anesthesiologist and the surgeon, allowing them to take corrective action and stabilize the patient. Additionally, I participate in regular training sessions to stay updated on the latest safety protocols and best practices."

Q[5]. Can You Describe a Time You Had to Handle an Emergency in the OR?

Emergencies in the OR require quick thinking and decisive action. This question tests your ability to respond effectively in critical situations.

Sample Answer:

"During my tenure at ABC Hospital, we encountered an emergency when a patient undergoing a routine appendectomy experienced an unexpected cardiac arrest. As the scrub nurse, I immediately initiated the emergency protocol. I assisted the surgeon by providing necessary instruments while the circulating nurse called for additional support and the crash cart. I maintained a clear and calm communication with the entire team, ensuring everyone was aware of their roles. The anesthesiologist and surgeon performed CPR and administered medications, while I monitored the patient’s vital signs and kept the area sterile. Thanks to our swift and coordinated efforts, we were able to revive the patient and proceed with the surgery. This experience underscored the importance of teamwork, preparation, and staying calm under pressure."

Q[6]. How Do You Stay Current with Medical Advancements?

Staying updated with the latest medical advancements is crucial in the field of perioperative nursing. This question assesses your commitment to continuous learning.

Sample Answer:

"I am committed to staying current with medical advancements and continuously improving my skills. I regularly attend workshops, seminars, and conferences related to perioperative nursing. Additionally, I am a member of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), which provides access to a wealth of resources, including continuing education courses and professional development opportunities. I also subscribe to several medical journals and newsletters to keep up with the latest research and trends in surgical procedures and patient care. For instance, I recently completed a course on the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques, which has enhanced my ability to support surgeons during these procedures. Staying informed about new developments allows me to provide the highest quality care to my patients and contribute effectively to the surgical team."

Q[7]. How Do You Communicate with Patients and Their Families?

Effective communication is essential for OR nurses, not only with the surgical team but also with patients and their families. This question evaluates your interpersonal skills.

Sample Answer:

"Communication with patients and their families is a critical aspect of my role as an OR nurse. I strive to be clear, compassionate, and reassuring when discussing surgical procedures and patient care. Before surgery, I take the time to explain the process to patients and their families, answer any questions they may have, and address their concerns. I believe that providing clear and honest information helps reduce anxiety and build trust. For example, I recently worked with a patient who was very nervous about undergoing a major surgery. I took the time to explain each step of the procedure, the expected outcomes, and the post-operative care plan. By providing this information in a calm and empathetic manner, I was able to alleviate the patient’s fears and ensure they felt supported throughout the process. After surgery, I also communicate with families to update them on the patient’s status and recovery."

FAQs: Top Interview Questions for Operating Room Nurses

Q[8]. How to Answer Questions About Infection Control?

When discussing infection control, emphasize your knowledge of sterilization techniques, proper handling of surgical instruments, and adherence to hygiene protocols.

Sample Answer:

"Infection control is a critical aspect of perioperative nursing. I adhere strictly to all infection control protocols, including proper hand hygiene, sterilization of instruments, and maintaining a sterile environment in the OR. I also ensure that all team members follow these protocols and address any breaches immediately. For example, I consistently monitor the cleanliness of the operating room and ensure that all instruments are properly sterilized before and after each surgery. Additionally, I stay updated on the latest guidelines and best practices in infection control through continuous education and training."

Q[9]. How to Discuss Teamwork and Collaboration in the OR?

When asked about teamwork, highlight your ability to work effectively with diverse team members and your role in fostering a collaborative environment.

Sample Answer:

"Teamwork is essential in the operating room, and I prioritize clear communication and collaboration with all members of the surgical team. I make sure to communicate effectively with surgeons, anesthesiologists, and fellow nurses to ensure that everyone is on the same page. I also value the input of each team member and encourage open communication to address any concerns or issues promptly. For instance, during a complex surgery, I made it a point to regularly update the team on the patient's status and any changes in their condition. This ensured that we could make informed decisions and work together seamlessly to achieve the best possible outcome for the patient."

Q[10]. How to Address Questions on Ongoing Professional Development?

Emphasize your commitment to lifelong learning and staying current with industry trends and advancements.

Sample Answer:

"I am dedicated to ongoing professional development and continuously seek opportunities to enhance my skills and knowledge. I regularly attend workshops, conferences, and training sessions to stay updated on the latest advancements in surgical nursing. I also take advantage of online courses and resources offered by professional organizations such as the AORN. Additionally, I actively participate in peer review and quality improvement initiatives within my workplace to ensure that I am always providing the highest standard of care. By staying engaged in professional development, I can contribute more effectively to the surgical team and provide the best care for my patients."


Interviewing for a position as an operating room nurse can be a daunting process, but thorough preparation can make a significant difference. By understanding the types of questions you may be asked and preparing thoughtful, detailed answers, you can demonstrate your qualifications, experience, and commitment to patient care.

Remember to highlight your passion for the role, showcase your hands-on experience in the OR, and emphasize your ability to handle stress, ensure patient safety, and communicate effectively with both the surgical team and patients’ families. Additionally, staying current with medical advancements and engaging in continuous professional development will show your dedication to the field.

By following this comprehensive guide, you can approach your interview with confidence and stand out as a strong candidate for the position. Good luck with your interview and your career advancement as an operating room nurse!

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