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Anesthesiologist Assistant Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by Heather Douglass

Updated February 17th, 2019 | Heather has over 20 years experience recruiting and hiring candidates,
specifically in the health care industry.
Job Interviews     Careers     Health    
Question 1 of 25
What hours are you available to work?
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How to Answer
Depending on the facility, the candidate may be required to work outside of standard business hours. It is very common for anesthesiologist assistants to work both evenings and weekends, especially if they are employed by a hospital or other 24-hour care facility. The interviewer is asking this question to determine the candidate's availability, flexibility, and if they fit the scheduling needs of your organization. It is important for the candidate to answer this question openly and honestly and tell the interviewer why they can or cannot work alternative shifts, such as evenings and weekends. If the candidate is unavailable to work regular evenings and weekends, they can inform the interviewer that they can pick up the occasional evening or weekend shift, but should still be honest about their ability to do so.
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Answer Examples
1.
What hours are you available to work?
Depending on the facility, the candidate may be required to work outside of standard business hours. It is very common for anesthesiologist assistants to work both evenings and weekends, especially if they are employed by a hospital or other 24-hour care facility. The interviewer is asking this question to determine the candidate's availability, flexibility, and if they fit the scheduling needs of your organization. It is important for the candidate to answer this question openly and honestly and tell the interviewer why they can or cannot work alternative shifts, such as evenings and weekends. If the candidate is unavailable to work regular evenings and weekends, they can inform the interviewer that they can pick up the occasional evening or weekend shift, but should still be honest about their ability to do so.

Heather's Answer #1
"Unfortunately, I am not able to work evenings or weekends right now. I am available to work day shift and am very dependable in doing so as I always arrive on time and only call out when there is a true emergency. But, due to obligations with my family, I am unable to commit to regular evenings and weekends. If we are in a bind, and several people are scheduled to be out, I can cover an evening or weekend shift every once and a while, but I will need to know well in advance, so I can make arrangements for my children."
Heather's Answer #2
"I can be flexible and am available to work days, evenings, or weekends. However, for continuity, I would rather not switch between evenings and days too many times in the same week, so I can maintain a regular sleep schedule, but otherwise, I am willing to work any shift. I do not have children or other personal commitments, so I can be flexible when needed."
2.
How many years of experience do you have as an anesthesiologist assistant?
This question is important to the interviewer as they want to assess the experience level of the candidate, as it relates to the role of anesthesiologist assistant. Depending on the type of facility the position is located in, and the complexity of procedures that the candidate will be assisting with, the required or preferred years of experience will vary. Information on required or preferred years of experience should be included in the position announcement, and the candidate should be aware of this figure prior to the interview. In order to successfully answer this question, the candidate should provide an honest answer and explain their experience only as it relates to providing care as an anesthesiologist assistant. In cases where the candidate is a new graduate or newly certified, it would be appropriate to use examples from their clinical training.

Heather's Answer #1
"I set my goals on becoming an anesthesiologist assistant very early in life, which led me to obtain applicable education and training relatively early on. I have already been working as an anesthesiologist assistant for more than fifteen years, and it is truly my passion. I am looking forward to many more years in this career, including many successful years at your organization."
Heather's Answer #2
"Becuase I just recently finished my AA program, my experience working as an actual anesthesiologist assistant is limited to the experiences I had in my clinical and academic training. While this training may seem limited, as it was supervised, I have worked in multiple settings and have assisted with multiple procedures. I am comfortable with administering local anesthesia, interpreting arterial blood gas, and initiating ACLS protocols in necessary situations. Through my training, I have learned to handle the stress and pressure of this career, and I am very excited to join your organization to gain my real-world position as an anesthesiologist assistant."
3.
Why are you the best anesthesiologist assistant for us?
The interviewer is asking this question to determine how the candidate feels about their qualifications, how well they would fit into their organization, and why they should hire them, versus another candidate. The interviewer is likely interviewing many candidates for the position, and they would like to understand why each candidate feels they are the best fit for the position. One can typically learn a lot about how a person feels about themselves if they directly ask them. To successfully answer this question, the candidate should focus on the unique skills that they possess as well as other achievements or professional accolades. The candidate should avoid comparing themselves to other candidates, as they are unaware of their skill sets and qualifications.

Heather's Answer #1
"I am your best choice for this position because I am a well-rounded anesthesiologist assistant with a lot to offer. I am passionate about my work and am deeply committed to my patients. Being bi-lingual in both English and Spanish has given me an advantage in my career because I can clearly communicate with patients and families, and I know this will be an asset for you, with the patients your facility serves. With my many years of experience, the wide-range of facilities I have worked in, and my bi-lingual language skills, I think I will bring a lot to your team."
Heather's Answer #2
"While I am committed to providing exceptional care to my patients, I am also committed to continuing education and ensuring that I am staying abreast of the newest and most innovative practices in anesthesiologist assisting. I think this is what makes me the best choice to join your team. I have attended many additional courses over the years to improve my knowledge and skills in my field, and when I take these courses, I do not simply keep the information to myself. After I finish a course, I bring the information back to my team and work with them to figure out how we can integrate the best practice information into our workflows. Through these additional educational courses, I have been able to improve the way we practice at my facility, and I will continue to do this if I have the opportunity to join your team."
4.
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Due to the wide range of operations, surgeries, and procedures that exist, the breadth of an anesthesiologist assistant's previous experience can vary greatly from candidate to candidate. The interviewer is asking this question to better understand what types of operations, surgeries, and/or procedures the candidate has assisted with throughout their career. Depending on their experience, the candidate may have had extensive or limited experience and could have potentially assisted with transplants, trauma, neurosurgery, cardiac, general surgery, pain management, patient monitoring, and a variety of other procedures. To successfully answer this question, the candidate should be open and honest about their experiences in assisting with procedures and should clearly articulate the types of procedures they have assisted with in the past.

For example, "Becuase most of my experience as an anesthesiology assistant has been in a large hospital, I have assisted with a wide variety of procedures, including transplants, trauma surgeries, neurosurgeries, cardiac, and general surgeries. I have worked on very complex cases who have large teams of doctors and working on then and on cases that are minor, routine surgeries, such as appendectomies. Because of my wide range of experience assisting with many types of procedures, I feel confident that I will be able to successfully care for patients who are undergoing procedures while I am employed at your organization."
Heather's Answer #1
"Becuase most of my experience as an anesthesiology assistant has been in a large hospital, I have assisted with a wide variety of procedures, including transplants, trauma surgeries, neurosurgeries, cardiac, and general surgeries. I have worked on very complex cases who have large teams of doctors and working on then and on cases that are minor, routine surgeries, such as appendectomies. Because of my wide range of experience assisting with many types of procedures, I feel confident that I will be able to successfully care for patients who are undergoing procedures while I am employed at your organization."
Heather's Answer #2
"Since my only job as an anesthesiologist assistant has been at an orthopedic surgery center, my past experience is limited to assisting with orthopedic surgeries. But, I have assisted with some complex cases that required long-term patient monitoring and post-op pain management. There have also been times where emergencies arose, and I followed appropriate ACLS protocols to administer life-saving care. So, even though my experience has been limited and I haven't worked on trauma patients or complex neurosurgery patients, not everything has been easy, and I have gained a lot of experience that will help me be successful as an anesthesiologist assistant at your organization."
5.
What injections have you performed to help relieve patients' chronic pain?
The interviewer is asking this question to determine which chronic pain injections the candidate has experience administering. There are many types of injections that an anesthesiologist assistant may need to administer to a chronic pain patient, such as epidural injections, facet injections, superficial injections, and trigger point injections. Not only is it important for the anesthesiologist assistant to be able to administer these injections, but it is also important for them to be able to make determinations as to which injections to administer. To successfully answer this question, the candidate should detail the types of injections they have experience administering.

Heather's Answer #1
"Because I have over ten years of experience working in pain management clinics, I have performed a number of different types of injections, including epidurals, facet injections, trigger point injections, and superficial injections. When I am working with a chronic pain patient and medications are not effective, I assess the specific clinical manifestations of their pain to determine which injection is appropriate and will provide them with relief. Performing injections for pain management is something I am very comfortable with, and I will be comfortable doing so at your organization as well."
Heather's Answer #2
"Since I have limited experience working in pain management clinics, my experience with pain management injections is also limited. However, in my clinical training, I administered epidurals for pain management and I also administered trigger point and superficial injections. While it has been a few years since I have administered injections to chronic pain patients, I am comfortable with doing so, and this also something that I enjoy."
6.
What types of airway management interventions are you comfortable providing?
The ability to properly maintain a patient's airway is a crucial skill for an anesthesiologist, due to the potential adverse outcomes that can occur during anesthesia. If an anesthesiologist assistant is unable to properly use an airway management intervention, it could lead to a fatal outcome for the patient, and the interviewer is asking this question to assess the candidate's airway management skills. It is expected that the candidate is able to manage airways using tracheal intubation, fiber optics, or ventilary support. To successfully answer this question, the candidate should describe their comfort-level in using these three types of airway management interventions, and a stronger answer would include an example of how one of the interventions was successfully used.

Heather's Answer #1
"I have extensive experience in airway management, as I have been working in the OR as an anesthesiologist assistant for many years. Most of my experience has been in tracheal intubation and ventilary support, but I do have experience with fiber optics as well. Since fiber optic intervention is much more complicated, and you must ensure oxygenation is maintained and the patient has to be vented until the airway is secured, I only use fiber optics in very specific situations."
Heather's Answer #2
"I am comfortable with all airway management interventions used by anesthesiologist assistants, including tracheal intubation, ventilary support, and fiber optics. Since fiber optics is the more complicated intervention of the three, I sought additional training and attended additional skills labs to become more skilled at the procedure. Just last week, during a procedure in the OR, I had to use an airway management intervention, and because of the specificity of the patient's condition and procedure, I chose to use fiber optics, and I was successful in securing and maintaining the airway."
7.
Do you have experience working with chronic pain patients? If so, please describe.
The interviewer is asking this question to determine if the candidate has experience working as an anesthesiologist assistant outside of the operating room. Many times, an anesthesiologist assistant will have responsibilities beyond the operating room and will be required to assist in pain clinics. If the candidate will be responsible for assisting with managing chronic pain patients, it is important that they have experience in such clinical settings. In order to successfully answer this question, the candidate should explain the experience they have in working with chronic pain patients and the settings in which they have worked.

Heather's Answer #1
"In addition to assisting with surgical patients in the operating room, I have over ten years of experience working with chronic pain patients in a pain clinic. My current position requires me to work in both the OR and in the pain clinic, so I am well-experienced in both environments. In the pain management clinic, I work with patients to get them on a pain management plan, which can include interventions such as epidurals, nerve stimulation, and medication therapies."
Heather's Answer #2
"Because I am a relatively new anesthesiologist assistant and have only been working in the field for a couple of years, my experience with chronic pain patients is limited to the time I spent working in pain clinics during my clinical rotations and assisting with pain management during the post-op period. However, the time I have spent with chronic pain patients has been very enjoyable, and pain management is something I would like to spend more time in. If given the opportunity to work more with chronic pain patients, I will do everything I can to ensure I get myself up to speed with the current practices by participating in continuing medical education programs."
8.
Do you have experience training other professionals on anesthesia practices? If so, tell us about your experiences.
The interviewer is asking this question to determine how much experience the candidate has in training other professionals on anesthesia practices. This skill is important because anesthesiology divisions in hospitals and medical facilities often rely on anesthesiologist assistants to train surgical support staff members on general anesthesia practices. In order to deliver training, an anesthesiologist assistant not only has to have the knowledge in which to deliver to the other professionals but also needs to understand how to effectively deliver training and education. Otherwise, educational efforts would be unsuccessful. To successfully answer this question, the candidate should provide specific examples of how they provided education on anesthesia practices to other professionals. If the candidate has never taught others on anesthesia practices, this question can be answered by using another example of when the candidate successfully presented information on a topic to a group of colleagues.

Heather's Answer #1
"In my current position as an anesthesiologist assistant, at a large academic medical center, I am lead for clinical education, so I have extensive experience in this area. I organize and develop a quarterly training program for newly hired employees who join the surgical team, including physician surgeons, nurses, and surgical techs. Anytime there is new anesthesia guidance or new monitoring systems we use, I am always sure to educate the surgical team in addition to the anesthesiology staff, to be sure they are aware of our practices and procedures."
Heather's Answer #2
"I don't have experience providing formal education on anesthesiology practices to my surgical colleagues, or any of my colleagues for that matter, but I do have experience developing education and training programs. While I was pursuing my master's degree, I had an assistantship that required me to teach college-level courses. While I did not teach any anesthesia-related courses, since I was enrolled in these courses, I taught undergraduate-level science courses. I feel like this experience applies, as I was responsible for developing my own curriculum and delivering content to my students, and I feel comfortable with applying this experience to develop anesthesia education programs for my colleagues."
9.
Do you use Atropine on a patient who has had a heart transplant?
The interviewer is asking this question to assess the candidate's knowledge on how to care for a patient during and after a heart transplant. Because the anesthesiology assistant is required to administer drugs and medications to patients during and after operations, it is extremely important that they understand which drugs are appropriate for which patients. In the case of administering Atropine for heart transplant patients, it is contraindicated, because the patients' hearts are denervated and will not respond to the drug. To successfully answer this question, the candidate should clearly state that they will not administer Atropine and provide an example of an alternative drug they would administer to a heart transplant patient instead.

Heather's Answer #1
"No, I would not use Atropine on a heart transplant patient, as it is not recommended. Working in a transplant unit, I have worked with many heart transplant patients and have never once considered administering Atropine, as I know it is contraindicated. Instead, I usually administer theophylline, as it offers effective and specific therapy for heart transplant patients, especially those with early bradyarrhythmias."
Heather's Answer #2
"While I have never assisted with a heart transplant patient, I am aware that they should not receive Atropine. Atropine is not effective for heart transplant patients and can put them in danger. Instead of using Atropine, I would use Dopamine or Epinephrine during and after the operation, as the patient's new heart has the ability to respond to these drugs, even though it is denervated."
10.
How do you handle conflict in the workplace?
Because anesthesiologist assistants often have to work in teams with other colleagues and with patients and their families, conflict often arises in the workplace. The interviewer is asking this question to determine how the candidate handles conflict between co-workers, patients, and/or families. The ability of an anesthesiologist assistant to effectively manage conflict in the workplace is an essential function of position. To effectively answer this question, the candidate should avoid venting or complaining about current or previous workplace culture or conflicts. Instead, the candidate should describe how they would take accountability during a conflict, whether or not they perceived being at fault for the conflict or not. The candidate can provide a stronger answer to this question by giving a concrete example of how they professionally resolved a workplace conflict in the past.

Heather's Answer #1
"Since the job of anesthesiologist assistant is is very team-based, it is common to run into conflicts in the workplace, and I have found myself in the midst of many workplace conflicts over the years. However, I am not the type of person who enjoys working in an environment that is riddled with conflict and dramatics, especially when there are patients to take care of, because I do not want the focus to be taken away from the patient. If I find myself in the middle of a conflict, even if a co-worker is being passive, I feel that it is best to address it head-on, with professionalism. Using open communication and a good attitude, I am typically able to work with my coworkers to resolve conflicts before they turn into larger issues."
Heather's Answer #2
"This question is actually very timely, as I recently dealt with a workplace conflict with one of my colleagues. Last week, one of my fellow anesthesiologist assistants did not show up on time for her shift, so I had to stay late to cover for her and was pulled into a complex procedure in the meantime. Because of this, I missed my daughter's first dance recital. The next day, my colleague did not mention my staying to cover for her, even though she was aware that I was upset that I missed my daughter's recital. When I approached her about her actions and told her how it impacted my day, she did not give me the response I wanted; however, rather than allowing it to cause additional anger and workplace conflict, I let it go after I had spoken my peace. I decided that I cannot change the actions of others, but I can take responsibility for myself and my own actions, so I decided to do the right thing and let it go."
11.
What experience do you have administering regional anesthesia during surgical procedures?
At times, for surgical procedures, it is necessary or more beneficial to perform the procedure using regional anesthesia rather than general anesthesia. With regional anesthesia, the patient remains alert or can be sedated during the procedure, and medication is injected near a cluster of nerves to numb only the area that requires surgery. This type of anesthesia can be used on many types of surgical procedures, including but not limited to: orthopedic, gastrointestinal, gynecological, vascular, and urological. The interviewer is asking this question to determine how much experience the candidate has with administering regional anesthesia and what types of procedures they have administered regional anesthesia for. To successfully answer this question, the candidate should describe their experience, in detail, with administering regional anesthesia, including the types of procedures they have administered regional anesthesia for.

Heather's Answer #1
"There have been many surgical procedures that I have administered regional anesthesia for, and I am very comfortable with doing so. I started out administering this type of procedure when performing nerve blocks during orthopedic surgeries; however, as I have gained more experience over the years, I have been able to use regional anesthesia in many more cases, such as gynecological, urological, and vascular procedures. When using this type of anesthesia, I am sure to speak with the patient beforehand to determine if they need to be sedated, so I can administer the appropriate sedation medication as well."
Kelly's Answer #2
"Up to this point in my anesthesiologist assistant career, my experience with administering regional anesthesia has been limited to administering epidurals and nerve blocks for orthopedic surgeries. While my experience in administering regional anesthesia is somewhat limited, I am interested in expanding my skills in this area. In particular, I am interested in administering regional anesthesia to patients undergoing more complex procedures, such as gastrointestinal and vascular surgeries, and I hope I would have the opportunity to gain this experience with your organization."
12.
Are you comfortable organizing staff and workload?
The interviewer is asking this question to assess the candidate's potential for taking on a leadership position. If the candidate is an experienced anesthesiologist assistant and has the capacity for leadership, they may be expected to fill a leadership position at some point in the future. In a leadership position, the candidate would be responsible for leading and mentoring staff, dividing workload, and ensuring that all team members are contributing and following proper protocols. In order to successfully answer this question, the candidate should detail their comfort level and experience organizing staff and workload. A stronger answer to this question would include a specific example of how the candidate specifically organized staff or workload in their career as an anesthesiologist assistant.

Heather's Answer #1
"I am very comfortable with organizing staff and workload. While I am not currently in a management position, I have had previous positions where I was lead anesthesiologist assistant, and it was my responsibility to manage and schedule staff, organize workload and ensure everyone was following protocols. Even though I do not currently work in such a position, I enjoy this type of work, and if the opportunity arises for me to take on such a role for your organization, I would be happy to take on the challenge."
Heather's Answer #2
"When my supervisor, who is team lead for the anesthesiology assistants at the hospital that I work, is off or away on business, I am the one who is typically appointed to assume her supervisory responsibilities. While staff schedules are typically already set, I am responsible for making adjustments to the schedule when emergencies and other unforeseen circumstances arise. Also, it is my responsibility to organize the workload and assign each individual on the team to the cases that are scheduled. This experience has allowed me to become very comfortable with organizing staff and workload, and I feel comfortable that, if needed, I can continue to take on responsibilities at your organization."
13.
What are vasoactive drips and when would you use them?
The interviewer is asking this question to gauge the candidate's knowledge of vasoactive drips and their use. It is important that the candidate understand the proper indications of vasoactive drips and when they should be used. Vasoactive drips affect the vascular system and control heart rate, heart rhythm, and blood pressure. Anesthesiologist assistants may use vasoactive drips when patients cannot maintain stable blood pressure or heart rate/rhythm on their own during a procedure. To successfully answer this question, the candidate should share their knowledge about vasoactive drips and their use, and a stronger answer would include a specific example of how the candidate used vasoactive drips to manage to control a patients' heart rate/rhythm or blood pressure during a procedure.

Heather's Answer #1
"In my experience as an anesthesiology assistant, I often use vasoactive drips in procedures that are performed on cardiac patients. Most commonly, I use the medication Vasopressin in the drip, and I use the medication when the patient needs assistance in managing their heart rate, heart rhythm, or blood pressure. If administered appropriately, through the vasoactive drip, the medication can be very effective at helping manage the patient's vital signs."
Heather's Answer #2
"Just this week I had to start a vasoactive drip on a patient when we were having a difficult time managing their heart rate during their operation. I have done this many times, so I was very comfortable in doing so. I titrated by slightly increasing and decreasing the dose of medication in order to help regulate the patient's heart rate during the procedure, and was successfully able to maintain a stable heart rate for the patient. This is only one example of how I have managed a patient's vitals using a vasoactive drip, as I have done so many times before, managing heart rate, rhythm, and blood pressure."
14.
What is your experience using ACLS protocols?
The interviewer is asking this question to assess the candidate's knowledge and skill level of Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS). Early in every anesthesiology assistant's training, they should have received ACLS training, which includes a set of clinical interventions for the urgent treatment of cardiac arrest, stroke, and other life-threatening emergencies, as well as the knowledge and skills to deploy those interventions. The candidate's ability to effectively respond to a crisis, using ACLS interventions directly correlates to patient outcomes. To effectively answer this question, the candidate should articulate their knowledge of ACLS protocols and how they have used them in the past, such as managing airways, initiating VI access, reading and interpreting electrocardiograms, and understanding emergency pharmacology.

Heather's Answer #1
"As an experienced anesthesiology assistant, who is trained in ACLS, I am comfortable using these protocols in an emergent situation with any patient. In my previous experience, I have followed appropriate ACLS protocols to manage patient airways, start IVs, read electrocardiograms, and determine which medications to administer. Due to my quick actions and adherence to ACLS protocols, I have been able to intervene in dangerous situations and save many patients' lives."
Heather's Answer #2
"One of the first things I learned in my anesthesiologist assistant training was ACLS protocols, and ever since, I have used these protocols to intervene on patients during life-threatening emergencies. ACLS protocols are posted in each surgery suite in my current facility, for reference; however, I am very familiar with them, so I rarely need to reference these guides. I am fully comfortable with intervening and administering life-saving care, such as managing airways, starting IV's, reading electrocardiograms, and administering appropriate medications."
15.
What positive impacts have you made in your current or previous position as an anesthesiologist assistant?
The interviewer is asking this question to determine how the candidate views him/herself as a professional and an anesthesiologist assistant. It is important to learn how the candidate views him/herself, as it can help the interviewer gauge their confidence and their values as a professional, teammate, and a person. In order to successfully answer this question, the candidate should describe a contribution they have made to their team or their department.

Heather's Answer #1
"I would say the most positive impact I have made in my current position as an anesthesiologist assistant is building continuity with the mid-level team of anesthesiologist assistants and getting us recognized as a separate team. When I first joined the team where I currently work, the anesthesiologist assistants were not recognized as a separate team with our own unique needs and abilities. However, a few months after joining the team, I spoke with the chief anesthesiologist and told her why the assistants should be recognized as our own, separate division within the department. After having this conversation, I was allowed to form a separate division, which allowed the assistants to establish more effective processes, streamlined education programs, and ultimately increased morale."
Heather's Answer #2
"I would say my most important contribution to my current department has been leading multiple quality improvement projects to improve patient care. Before I started my educational program to become an anesthesiologist assistant, I worked in quality improvement and quality measurement, so I was able to use this experience to help improve processes and outcomes. Now that these quality improvement projects have been successful, the department is looking into starting a full-time quality initiative, so we can continuously improve our practice."
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25 Anesthesiologist Assistant Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Interview Questions
  1. What hours are you available to work?
  2. How many years of experience do you have as an anesthesiologist assistant?
  3. Why are you the best anesthesiologist assistant for us?
  4. th
  5. What injections have you performed to help relieve patients' chronic pain?
  6. What types of airway management interventions are you comfortable providing?
  7. Do you have experience working with chronic pain patients? If so, please describe.
  8. Do you have experience training other professionals on anesthesia practices? If so, tell us about your experiences.
  9. Do you use Atropine on a patient who has had a heart transplant?
  10. How do you handle conflict in the workplace?
  11. What experience do you have administering regional anesthesia during surgical procedures?
  12. Are you comfortable organizing staff and workload?
  13. What are vasoactive drips and when would you use them?
  14. What is your experience using ACLS protocols?
  15. What positive impacts have you made in your current or previous position as an anesthesiologist assistant?
  16. How do you interpret arterial blood gas?
  17. Describe your experience administering general or local anesthesia.
  18. In addition to collecting history, physical, and pre-op lab tests on a patient, what do you do to prepare for a procedure?
  19. What do you feel is the most important skill an anesthesiologist assistant should possess?
  20. Do you prefer working alone or working on a team?
  21. Tell me about a patient situation where you were unsure of how to proceed. How did you manage and resolve the situation?
  22. What was your greatest accomplishment as an anesthesiologist assistant?
  23. How do you handle stress and pressure as it relates to your job as an anesthesiologist assistant?
  24. How do you approach a difficult patient or family member?
  25. Are you a Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant?
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