Physician Associate Interview Questions

Free physician associate interview questions and answers

1. Why do you want to be a Physician associate over a doctor?

  • Pa and doctors are trained under a similar medical model to work as part of a medical team in the diagnosis and management of patients, both involve close patient contact, caring patient-centred approach and you can say they have similar personal characteristics that make them good for the role.

  • However; what I like about the PA profession is the versatility in the role to work across any department in the hospital or GP surgery interchangeably. It really interests me, the generalist approach (and education) a PA has as opposed to a single field, but have the opportunity to become skilled in certain areas. I want to be part of the work and not interested in being a leader of the role. I just want to provide continuity for patients and this innovative role allows me to be flexible enough to be utilised by the NHS according to its needs.

  • PAs graduates into a defined clinical role with a degree of autonomy and degree of independence, which is unheard of for medical and nursing students. Lastly, I want a work/life balance because I work optimally when I have more time for my hobbies and interests to destress.

  • I recently went on a professionalism talk “working as a PA vs Doctor”. I understood doctors follow a more formal training plan to reach consultant level in a particular field, but instead, I want to maintain a generalist knowledge. When conversing with the PAs, what stood out to me was how passionate they were about the role and had an insight into the PA course and what a typical day would be like. It seemed demanding but rewarding, and this confirmed my choice to be a PA.

  • During my work experience at a local hospital on the urology ward, I was able to witness the collaboration of nurses and doctors to treat and manage patients with a range of issues and importantly saw what an NHS hospital was like, I love being exposed to a variety of patients with different health conditions, becoming a PA would let me to do so by allowing me to work in different specialities over the course of my careers.

2. Why have you chosen this university?

  • I want to study a Master course rather than a diploma because I enjoy scientific writing so really excited for the thesis. Also there is high quality stimulating teaching with patient contact from week 3, which will better prepare me for being a PA as I will see a different range of patients.

  • BSMS have a high success rate on the national exams and rank 11 in  the best small universities in the world. It is two universities so best of both worlds, as it allows access to a wider range of patients. And also there’s a 100% employment rate to Sussex hospitals and a great student satisfaction. I have spoken to some PAs and they spoke good things about the course.

  • When I was an activity leader, I led various tours in Brighton. I love the city and its landmarks. I love that it’s a combination of a busy city but also a close feeling of a town. Or if local: I have lived here for 10 years and I am very familiar with this area and having support through my family and friends will be very beneficial for this intensive course. Additionally, this is a better financial option as I can receive support from family and can then afford commuting and buy learning resources.

3. What are your views on euthanasia?

Autonomy – allows patients to make informed decisions about their own treatment. 

Beneficence – doctors must do good and act in the best interest of their patients and or society as a whole.

Non-maleficence – doctors should act in ways that do not cause harm to patients.

Justice – fairness of the population, only discriminating based on clinical needs.

Confidentiality – whilst not strictly off and ethical principle, it’s linked to several of them. 

  • First things first, All types of euthansia is illegal. Non-maleficence which is not doing harm and beneficence which is doing good are in conflict with each other. Because ending someone’s life isn’t really doing good and you could argue that ending someone’s life is not doing harm because you’re relieving the suffering, but you could also argue that ending someone’s life is precisely the definition of doing harm. Autonomy and justice comes into it. Autonomy - patient wants this, this is clearly what the patient and family wants. So in terms of intent to me, we should surely be helping her end her life but in terms of justice we could ask about fair allocation of resources and offence in general. Is it fair to take someone’s life regardless what the intention is or is it fair that she is using up resources despite not needing it.

FOR: yes because they are allowed to choose, also its unnecessary suffering, it gives them an option to die with dignity and it frees up beds and other NHS resources.

AGAINST: is that you’re playing God, or there’s a risk they might later change their mind, and there is unclear verbal criteria, or could feel pressurized. It is still a heated area that needs more research and enlightenment to develop these arguments so that the government can move in the right direction.  

4. How do you deal with stress?

  • I always find a bit of stress keeps me focused and gives me the adrenaline that I need to do well in my work. However, too much stress can potentially be destructive and I have learnt to deal with it in many different ways. I’ve always tried to keep calm, take a step back and evaluate the reasons behind the stress. Depending on the cause of the stress, I will react differently. For example, during my exam additions, I had to deal with many topics at the same time, which put a lot of pressure on me time-wise. Having drawn a revision plan at the start, I took some time to review my plan halfway through to make sure that I could remain on target. I also found it important to take regular breaks as it helps me relax and ultimately helps me concentrate better.

  • On a different note, a few years ago I had to deal with the stress caused by illness in my family and I coped with that stress by talking to a few trusted friends about the situation, which helped a lot. Generally speaking I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that I am truly fully prepared to handle stressful situations whenever they arise. It also helps me to minimize my ability to get stressed in the first place. I try to eat healthier and I’m more involved in extracurricular activities. I find running and playing football extremely helpful. They help me to keep calm and to the release my frustrations. I also love listening to jazz, in particular, I find most of Davids music extremely calming. Whenever I have had a difficult time, I find it useful to reflect on the situation and see how I can prevent something similar happening in the future. I find that by doing this, I grow more confidence in being able to handle the unexpected.

5. Describe a team you worked in a team

· Through my sporting activities like football, I had to collaborate and appreciate everyone’s position and values to the team. We created efficient action plans for success. I learnt that everyone had to contribute and actively listen to each other for there to be smooth running and execution of the plan. This enabled our team to win the league


· I also demonstrated team-working skills when I had a group project to create a website to raise awareness about GHB  during my undergraduate degree. Although, I delegated roles and  ensuring they were satisfied with their role, alongside, having my own independent tasks. I also took the initiative to liaise suitable days and times to have team meetings”  I also had to be an active listener and offer help when needed. I had to provide an open floor for my peers to voice their ideas and I respected that. My peers and I received a first class in the project and work really well together when we received feedback from each other.

· Working in a team for a PA is very important because they works in an immediate team of nurses, doctors, healthcare assistants and other healthcare professionals. A good PA invites and respects their colleagues and contribution to the team, keeps the members of the team informed with relevant information, offers help where needed and make themselves very approachable in a team environment. 

6. Do you have any questions for us?

Have about 2 or 3 questions! About the course, teaching, teacing, cohort size.

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