Sample CNA Interview Questions and Answers

Here’s how to be attentive to nursing assistant interview questions and answer them with care.

Sample CNA Interview Questions and Answers

Nail these CNA interview questions.

Certified nursing assistants provide comfort, compassion, and hands-on care to patients in hospitals, long-term care facilities, adult daycares, and rehab centers. A CNA job is a great way to enter healthcare and gives you a solid base to build on for the rest of your career. But before your first day, you'll need to interview with a hiring manager and your future team to make sure you're the right fit for the job. Here's a list of the most common CNA interview questions and answers to help you plan what you're going to say.

CNA Interview Questions

  1. Why Do You Want to Be a CNA?
  2. How Do You Handle Difficult Patients?
  3. What Should You Do When Entering a Patient’s Room for the First Time?
  4. What Is a CNA Responsible For?
  5. Are There Any Duties You Are Not Willing to Perform?
  6. If You Were Managing Several Patients and Things Got Busy, How Would You Decide Who to Attend to First?
  7. Are You Thinking About Pursuing Education to Become an LPN or RN?

Question #1: Why Do You Want to Be a CNA?

This is one of the common CNA interview questions because your answer will show how committed you are to the position:

  • Start with a story that shows you like caring for people.
  • Give examples of how you have been a caregiver.

How You Could Answer

"I have always been interested in caring for others. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents while growing up and enjoyed helping them around the house as they got older. During high school, I volunteered at a local hospital in the geriatric unit. I'm looking forward to making caregiving my career."

Question #2: How Do You Handle Difficult Patients?

Certified nursing assistants encounter uncooperative patients all the time. The hiring manager will ask you situational CNA interview questions to ensure you can remain calm and turn a negative situation into a positive outcome. Answering using the STAR method can help you form a perfect answer:

  • Acknowledge that difficult patients are part of the job.
  • Recount a situation in which you successfully handled a difficult patient.

How You Could Answer

"Patients who are in pain or anxious can become difficult. I was caring for a patient who did not want to take her medication. I stayed positive and calm, asked why she didn't want to take the medication, and listened to her answer. She didn't like how it made her sleepy. I agreed that was indeed a side effect, but I was there to help her. When she continued to refuse, I explained her options. When that didn't work, I decided to try again later. I came back in 30 minutes when she was feeling better and gave her the medication. If it had been urgent, I would have asked my supervisor to help."

Question #3: What Should You Do When Entering a Patient's Room for the First Time?

Your answer to CNA interview questions about bedside manner lets the interviewer know that you care for patients as individuals and help them maintain their dignity.

  • Walk through your actions when entering a room.
  • Show empathy for the patient.
  • Demonstrate your professionalism.

How You Could Answer

"It's important to be respectful to every patient, so I always knock to let the patient know I'm there. I walk in with a smile on my face and introduce myself. I say I'm there to provide care and ask if they need anything—even if they can't respond. I'll make a positive statement like, 'Look at that sunshine coming through the window,' to get a conversation going. When I'm sure the patient is settled, I let them know I'm leaving and will be back if they need anything."

Question #4: What Is a CNA Responsible For?

The hiring manager will ask you nursing assistant interview questions like this one and Question #5 to confirm you understand the job description and are willing to do what it takes to get the job done right.

  • Focus on the patient being the number one priority.
  • List tasks, being sure to include any that were in the job posting.
  • Let them know you understand the chain of command.

How You Could Answer

"A CNA's priority is always caring for the patient. This includes basic personal care like hygiene, giving a backrub, assisting them to the bathroom, or changing a bedpan. I dress wounds, apply ice packs, and update patient charts, documenting vital signs. I help clean and restock room supplies and whatever my supervisor needs me to do. I also keep my license and education requirements current."

Question #5: Are There Any Duties You Are Not Willing to Perform?

The interviewer wants to make sure you understand some CNA tasks can be unpleasant and that you are willing to do what the job requires.

  • Acknowledge you know some tasks are not as pleasant, but they're part of the job.
  • Assert that you have done these types of tasks.
  • Assure the interviewer you will do everything you are assigned.

How You Could Answer

"CNAs have to do all kinds of things other people would not be willing to do! But it's part of the job. I'm trained and ready to do what the job takes. And I grew up with two brothers, so nothing shocks me!"

Question #6: If You Were Managing Several Patients and Things Got Busy, How Would You Decide Who to Attend to First?

This is another situational CNA job interview question. The interviewer wants to know you organize, juggle several tasks, and handle a heavy workload while staying composed.

  • Emphasize that a CNA should always base priorities on patient health.
  • Talk about how your education has taught you to identify urgent health conditions.
  • If you're new to the job, give an example of how you manage multiple tasks and stay organized in other parts of your life.

How You Could Answer

"That is certainly a frequent scenario on a hospital floor. I always have a plan for what I need to do during my shift. When things get busy, I use what I learned in class to assess which patient has the most urgent need from a health and safety standpoint. And I'm used to juggling several things at once—I worked a full-time job and raised my daughter while attending CNA school."

Question #7: Are You Thinking About Pursuing Education to Become an LPN or RN?

CNA jobs have high turnover because they can be a springboard to a nursing career. When an interviewer asks CNA interview questions about you career goals, they really want to know if you'll be leaving in a few months, requiring them to fill your position again.

  • Continuing in healthcare and advancing your career is honorable and can be shared. It shows dedication and a desire to learn more.
  • If you're planning on returning to school, give a timeline and plan for working while taking classes.
  • Affirm that they won't have to replace you anytime soon.

How You Could Answer

"I've thought about becoming an RN and decided to work as a CNA for a couple of years to learn more about nursing. If I do go back to school a few years from now, I plan to work part-time as a CNA until I graduate."

Are You Ready to Take Care of That CNA Interview?

Now that you know some of the most important CNA interview questions and answers you can expect to encounter, you should be ready to go on that interview. Get more invitations to interview from recruiters and employers by creating your Monster profile. We'll also keep in touch with job alerts and helpful tips.