OB GYN Interview

20 Questions and Answers by
| D. Leo is a retired Physician and Health Educator. He has also served on Admissions Committees for Medical School and Residency Programs. As a retired Physician, he enjoys writing and helping students prepare for their medical interviews.

Question 1 of 20

How is your attendance at general staff and department meetings?

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OB GYN Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    How is your attendance at general staff and department meetings?

      Running a group or a hospital, unfortunately, requires significant bureaucracy. The doctors are needed to make that run, which means a responsibility to the clerical drudgery involved. This means meetings--lots of meetings. And they're always at night or worse, during office hours which can cut into your income. Note that the question doesn't ask whether your attendance will be good, but how it has been in the past. This implies that your answer may be verified by a phone call or two, so tell the truth. (Most likely, no one will be checking up on your answer, so even if you've been truant in the past, pledge to do better.)

      D.'s Answer

      "I may have missed meetings from time to time--usually due to my being occupied in clinical duties or vacation. However, I realize how important the business of the hospital (or group) is, and I will make every effort to improve my attendance."

  2. 2.

    Tell me about yourself.

      This should be answered briefly and succinctly, and it should include why you want this position and the circumstances behind your leaving your current situation (they will want to know--and will ask, if you don't say why).

      D.'s Answer

      "I come here a few years delayed, as medicine wasn't my initial goal--I initially earned a different degree. So, I had to go back to school to acquire some of the pre-requisites for my application to med school. Since then, I have been on track. I am married with one child. After finishing my residency, I joined the staff of the school for a year until I could decide where I wanted to go next. That brings me here."

  3. 3.

    Were you involved in any lawsuits, in the past or currently, including any settlements?

      This is a straightforward question. No one wants someone certain to lose them money or jeopardize their reputation. However, it is a truism that all OBGYNs are at one time or another the target of malpractice suits, whether these actually come to pass or not. The interviewer will not dismiss you for lawsuits--he or she just doesn't want someone who is sued so frequently, as to suggest there's a problem. That being said, not all suits come to pass, and a lawsuit filed is not a deal breaker. Many are just filed for the purpose of initiating and accomplishing discovery to see if there really is merit to a case. If there isn't merit to a case, these lawsuits go away or prescribe, and your interviewer will know this. A settlement, on the other hand, can be just as bad as a lawsuit you lose, because most settlements are made to mitigate the damage of a likely unfavorable outcome.
      If there are suits, losses, or settlements, be truthful, but half of the truth is your side of the story, so make sure you give it. Do not blame your previous institution or group--that just looks bad for you. Take ownership, but if you can explain why a lawsuit occurred due to a complication and not overt malpractice, this is something any hospital administrator will understand.

      D.'s Answer

      "I have three lawsuits, each one of them is due to a complication--one was an allergic reaction to surgical tape, another was due to a bowel injury during a surgery for a frozen pelvis, and another was due to the need for a transfusion in an obese patient having surgery. After discovery, I expect all three to prescribe without incident or settlement."

  4. 4.

    How would you handle a problem in which Utilization Review wants you to discharge a patient who you feel isn’t medically ready for discharge?

      This pits you against the hospital, but you want to propose a solution that is safe, while considering insurance complications. UR actions are usually based on dollar issues, protecting the hospital bottom line from insurance denials.

      D.'s Answer

      "If I felt it would be dangerous to send a patient home, I would write a note of necessity for continued admission, on medical grounds, so that UR could submit it for approval from a third-party payer. If the patient just wanted to stay for his or her convenience, I would explain that he or she has satisfied criteria for discharge, but I would also offer home health follow-up, if the patient desired and it were allowed."

  5. 5.

    Why do you want to be a part of this practice/organization/hospital?

      You must assume the interviewer thinks his or her hospital or group is absolutely wonderful...or potentially wonderful with the addition of the right person. You can stroke the corporate ego and begin endearing yourself to the interviewer by invoking the Mission Statement and/or Vision of the hospital or group. Most hospitals will have these, prominently displayed on the landing pages of their websites; they are brief and easy to imbue into your interview strategy. You can tell the interviewer that the values you saw in the Mission Statement and/or Vision Statement align with your personal views of how you want to lead your professional life.
      Don't actually refer to the Mission Statement and/or Vision when you answer, just state that you find this group's values align with yours, and you can paraphrase the values you saw displayed.

      D.'s Answer

      "I know that the values of this practice align with my own. I have done a lot of research and I especially resonate with your dedication to community interaction and embracing diversity. I think I'd be very happy here with the professional mindset, and I'd be a good fit."

  6. 6.

    If you were to see a peer doing or saying something inappropriate, how would you respond?

      A situation like this is not your problem to fix. You can't go wrong answering this question by saying you would go up the chain of command. A hospital or group wants something like this handled a certain way, and their best assurance that this will happen (when you're involved), is to pledge yourself to that chain of command, i.e., up the ranks to department chairman, Executive Committee, administrator, etc.

      D.'s Answer

      "First, I would make sure I saw or heard correctly. Depending on the transgression, I would either confront him or her discretely to resolve it vs. report it up the chain of command. I would report up if I felt it compromised patient care, would reflect poorly on the hospital (group), or be unethical, immoral, or illegal."

  7. 7.

    Are you willing to back up midwives doing deliveries?

      Another love-hate relationship. Home births and natural childbirth are constantly in vogue with varying percentages of a hospital's demographics. When you appreciate that the only reason you'd become involved is when a serious problem came up, you will realize that being a part of this scheme means accepting that increased liability. This shouldn't bother you if it's part of the hospital service, but home deliveries are a different liability altogether. You can accept this or not in your personal practice, but if the policy of the hospital is to support them, it is most likely a dollar decision and you should state that you will comply with policy.

      D.'s Answer

      "I would be committed to backing up any midwife delivery on the premises of the hospital. For home births I would have a problem, because medicolegally, I would be putting myself at the mercy of someone else I don't work with. However, should someone land in the unit from a complicated home birth situation and I was assigned to cover for such admissions, I would honor it."

  8. 8.

    What would be your response to hearing a code being called in the middle of the night as you’re getting ready to go home after a delivery?

      This is a no-brainer question. Of course you would respond. It is tempting to assume that certainly someone else would be there to respond, and that is typically true, but you don't want to be seen as the type of person who would need to hear the code called repeatedly before you would respond.

      D.'s Answer

      "Unless I was managing a clinically unstable situation or in the middle of a procedure, I would respond, and then only drop out if there were colleagues there who I felt were more qualified to attend the code."

  9. 9.

    Would you be willing to serve on a committee investigating an issue with one of your colleagues?

      Internal affairs and investigation are just necessary. Things happen, and when patient care is affected or jeopardized, they must be explored and dispositions made so that they don't reoccur. Besides Joint Commission accreditation and insurance reimbursements, a public reputation is jeopardized by uncorrected omissions or errors in care. The interviewer wants to know if you'll have the courage to step up and do what is right.

      D.'s Answer

      "There is not an easy answer for this, only a difficult one: yes, I would have an obligation to do what's right when it comes to patient care and safety, even if that means being resented by a colleague. If it were a close personal friend being targeted by the investigation, I would ask to recuse myself, but I would be prepared for that not to be granted. The only thing I would want is to not be the only one making a judgement. Having more than one investigator, I feel, is necessary to take politics out of such an inquiry and give it additional objective credibility."

  10. 10.

    How timely is your practice to sign off on chart entries and make all of your dictations current? Have you ever been suspended from a staff for failure to do these?

      This type of suspension is not a 'hard' suspension, per se; it doesn't mean there are any deficiencies in your medical care or expertise. Most physicians get a little behind from time to time, and it could be that the only thing lighting a fire under them to get these clerical tasks done is suspension. However, although this is frowned upon but not necessarily condemned, it does impact the hospital or group's bottom line, so the question is one of fiscal importance.

      D.'s Answer

      "Although I've been occasionally remiss in keeping all sign-offs and dictations current, I feel it is important for me to do so. It is not lost on me how reimbursement by third-party payers can be affected by incomplete charts. Just as important--to me--is the need for accuracy and trying to remember specifics from a procedure or rounds can become spotty if too much time has passed. For these reasons, I agree that keeping current is important, and I strive to do just that."

  11. 11.

    If you were to receive a communication from the Executive Committee about a practice issue of yours that it seems could have clinical repercussions, how would you address the members when meeting with them?

      This is more than just hospital policy, but a challenge to your clinical authority, which is traditionally up to the physician alone. Therefore, this can be upsetting. It is a question of how you handle personal challenges to your privileges.

      D.'s Answer

      "Prior to my meeting, I would research the literature about what I was doing in this particular practice, be it off-label prescribing or using protocols not considered to be evidence-based. My authority allows for some latitude. If in researching this I discover a serious problem that justifies their concern, I would report that I have learned from this and will not be repeating the practice(s) of concern. If I found that I can defend the practice based on my research, I would make my case, but communicate that I would abide by their final decision regarding the practice."

  12. 12.

    Would you be willing to accept whatever electronic medical record process is in use here?

      Another test of your willingness to comply with policy, so you should agree.

      D.'s Answer

      "Of course. If I am part of this organization, I want to be all in as far as my compliance to all the protocols."

  13. 13.

    If you’re on a rotational call for indigent patients or patients without a doctor, how would you feel about having to see a patient in the ED whom you had dismissed from your practice?

      This is a test of your willingness to comply with policy.

      D.'s Answer

      "Although I would not choose to do this electively, I would follow policy and accept, without any personal asides to the patient. If the patient chose not to accept me as his or her doctor for this episode, I would call the Patient's Advocate and arrange a consultation with the patient to remedy the conflict."

  14. 14.

    Are there any substance abuse, domestic violence, or other background items that could impact the integrity of our hospital (or group)?

      Such situations are a reason for running away from a current situation. If there is such a damaging component in your history, own it and explain the steps you took to eliminate the risk of it recurring, i.e., rehab, successfully completed therapy, etc. Let the interviewer know you are comfortable with a probationary period or supervision, if deemed necessary.
      The most likely answer, of course, is 'no'. However, for the sake of example, here is a sample answer of someone with a DUI history:

      D.'s Answer

      "I have a DUI arrest in my past as a teenager. I do not have a problem with abuse, but my arrest required I partake in prevention programs, which I completed successfully."

  15. 15.

    How do you feel about VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarian)?

      Since VBAC is fraught with liability (higher morbidity and mortality), hospitals have a love/hate relationship with it. They love to advertise they do them but hate the extra liability. You should know the hospital policy on them and agree with it. Even if you refuse to do them, you should state you have no problem with doing them according to hospital protocol and safeguards, should you 'inherit' one from a colleague for whom you're covering.

      D.'s Answer

      "I personally would rather not manage a VBAC because it requires more in-person surveillance which would limit my office hours and negatively impact my productivity. If I were to inherit one in progress, I would honor the commitment of the doctor I'm covering for and follow the established standard of care and local protocol."

  16. 16.

    What is your C-section rate?

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  17. 17.

    Do you have any personal problems with our seeing or our assigning you indigent or “charity” cases?

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  18. 18.

    If you’re not available, due to illness or vacation, for example, how will your patients be cared for?

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  19. 19.

    Here we have a policy of _______. Do you have a problem with that?

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  20. 20.

    What can you bring to this practice/organization/hospital?

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