MockQuestions

Physician Assistant Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Physician Assistant interview, here are 40 interview questions and answer examples.

Physician Assistant was written by and updated on November 9th, 2022. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 40

What are your weaknesses as a physician assistant?

How to Answer

Today's physician assistants are as overwhelmed as ever with ever-growing patient loads, demanding administrative duties, and fast-paced technology changes. As healthcare organizations consider great pools of applicants with their PA recruitment efforts, they know that no candidate is perfect. The important factor they are looking to hear is that their top candidate is aware of any potential shortcoming they would have upon hire and that the candidate has a distinct plan for addressing that shortcoming upon hire. Before your physician assistant interview, put some thought into what aspect of the role you are interviewing for would be difficult for you from the start and come to your interview prepared to openly discuss the weakness and how you would plan to attack it if hired.

Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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40 Physician Assistant Interview Questions & Answers

  • Behavioral

    1. What are your weaknesses as a physician assistant?

      How to Answer

      Today's physician assistants are as overwhelmed as ever with ever-growing patient loads, demanding administrative duties, and fast-paced technology changes. As healthcare organizations consider great pools of applicants with their PA recruitment efforts, they know that no candidate is perfect. The important factor they are looking to hear is that their top candidate is aware of any potential shortcoming they would have upon hire and that the candidate has a distinct plan for addressing that shortcoming upon hire. Before your physician assistant interview, put some thought into what aspect of the role you are interviewing for would be difficult for you from the start and come to your interview prepared to openly discuss the weakness and how you would plan to attack it if hired.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "While I did have a great endocrinology rotation last year during my schooling, I realize that I would have so much to learn if I'm fortunate enough to be offered this position. But, I'm confident that my excellent PA program and other rotations in family practice, ENT and infectious disease have prepared me for a practice like this. From my first day on the job here, I plan on being a full student of the practice, soaking up as much knowledge as possible from my new APP colleagues, physician staff and nurses here."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      General Example

      "I tend to be a people-pleaser on the job as a physician assistant, particularly with the physicians I collaborate with, and it has gotten me in trouble when I have taken on more than I can handle at times. I'm continuously learning my limitations and how to say 'no' or 'let me check my schedule' before saying yes to anything, and I know this would be vital for me here in my initial weeks and months on the job as your next physician assistant."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Experienced Example

      "Knowing that your organization utilizes the EPIC EMR system, I know that would be an initial deficiency for me, and I'm willing to put in the time and training to become proficient from the start. I have first-hand experience in the PrognoCIS, ChartLogic, and MD Connection systems, and it would take time for me to connect the dots on their similarities and differences to EPIC. I have watched a lot of online tutorials already and will seek the advice of my new colleagues from my first day in orientation here."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My greatest weakness as a physician assistant is that I am an over worker. I tend to accept all types of shifts on any day of the week. I have to learn how to have a break and say no when shifts are offered to me."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      It's clear that you're a very hard worker! You do a good job of highlighting a weakness that could also be viewed as a strength, however, the wording could be a bit clearer, so I have included a suggested way to restate this in the "Revised Answer" box below.

      "I am an extremely hard worker! While I consider this a professional strength, it can also present as a weakness, as I tend to accept all types of shifts on any day of the week. I have had to learn how to take a break and say no to shifts that are offered to me. While I am passionate about the profession, I am also learning the importance of balance and self-care."

  • Behavioral

    2. How do you feel when a physician criticizes your work?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is asking this question for a few different reasons. They want to hear how well you handle criticism, if you name-drop or speak poorly of the one that challenged you and if you seem to hold a grudge over the situation. If you choose to give an example, be sure it allows you to demonstrate your ability to handle criticism with style.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I am newer to my career as a PA, and with that information sometimes comes additional critiques from physicians. I take every critique as a learning opportunity. I am thankful for any feedback that helps me to become a better healthcare practitioner."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      General Example

      "It is never easy to be criticized or to receive unfavorable feedback. However, I believe that I can learn from each experience and constructively move forward. For example, a physician recently mentioned that my notes in the database were not as detailed as she would prefer. I had to take a minute and breathe because I spent extra time on those notes and felt frustrated by the feedback. However, I knew this physician could be tough to please, so I asked her to show me exactly how she preferred the notes in the system so that next time, as a team, we could be more efficient."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Experienced Example

      "It depends on how the criticism is delivered. I am thankful for the learning opportunity if it's given in the sense of constructive feedback. If the feedback comes to me as rude or unforgiving, that can be tough to swallow. I am always prepared to defend my work because I know it's good, but I would never be unprofessional to save face."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      User-Submitted Answer

      "While it is never easy to receive criticism as a new provider, I expect to receive a lot of feedback. I have found that when I can take a step back from criticism or feedback, I can usually grow and become a better provider."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Perfect response!

  • Career Goals

    3. How do you plan to continually grow as a physician assistant?

      How to Answer

      You have an elevated degree; however, that doesn't mean you stop learning once you have reached the top. Discuss your plans to take professional courses, obtain new certifications, or focus on personal growth. You may also mention a class or volunteer position to highlight your commitment to professional development.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I never stop learning and believe that, especially in the healthcare industry, one must stay up to date on new trends and discoveries. I plan to continually grow as a physician assistant by taking monthly courses on various related topics. If there are any courses you recommend, I would be happy to hear your recommendations."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      General Example

      "I am happy to have completed my Master's Degree in Genetics. I recently enrolled in a course that will increase my knowledge of the relationship between pharmacology and biomarkers."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Experienced Example

      "I grow as a PA by reading medical journals every day. I am also interested in taking additional coursework related to pediatric oncology. Education is important to me, and I will never stop learning."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      User-Submitted Answer

      "What I like about being a physician assistant is that you are continually learning about different specialties, and you continuously learn on the job. I plan to continue growing by reading current medical journals, taking courses, and possibly getting my doctorate in physician assistant studies."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It sounds like you have a great plan already in place for flourishing in this career. Well done :)

  • Compatibility

    4. What are some of the challenges of working as a physician assistant?

      How to Answer

      This question is similar to the interviewer asking what your weaknesses are. Because this is one of the most common interview questions, you'll want to have a few examples prepared. Consider a few examples of patients coming in with a variety of unexpected ailments, technology going wrong, or a coworker showing up late for work. Tell the interviewer how you handle these situations.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "My biggest challenge is having to prioritize on a daily basis, in hopes of getting everything done. No two days are the same as a physician assistant, so I can use a plethora of skills, which is amazing. I have become very proficient at prioritization and delegation."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      User-Submitted Answer

      "As a PA, you are trained as a generalist provider, and possibly a given specialty if you so choose. However, as a PA, you may encounter cases that are complex and beyond what you may feel comfortable treating and diagnosing. You can collaborate with other providers and do the best you can to treat the patient. Sometimes patients may be too complicated, and you may have to refer them to another provider.

      Also, in any health profession, patients maybe not wanting to deal with their health condition, and you have to do the best you can to treat, educate, and provide resources. It is challenging to figure out how to best manage and help each patient, but as a provider, you should do your best to provide individualized care to have the best outcomes for patients."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      These are real work challenges, indeed. You do a nice job offering up options on how to overcome situations like this.

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  • Compatibility

    5. This position requires out-of-town travel at times. Will traveling be a problem for you?

      How to Answer

      If the interviewer asks this question, they want to ensure you know the job requirements regarding travel and ensure that will not be an issue if hired. Often, physician assistants will need to travel to attend work-related conferences or continuing education training. If traveling is one of the job requirements, the agency should have put that in the job description, so it should not surprise you in the interview. Let the interviewer know you will not have an issue traveling when needed.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I saw that requirement listed in the job description, and traveling will not be a problem for me. I look forward to that aspect of the job."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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  • Compatibility

    6. This position requires a great deal of compassion. Would you describe yourself as a compassionate person?

      How to Answer

      Working in the healthcare industry requires great compassion, and the interviewer wants to see if you will be a good fit for the role. Focus on ensuring the hiring manager understands you are a compassionate person. You can say you are compassionate, but giving an example where you have helped others is a better way to let them know. For example, you can describe your volunteer experience, how you cared for an elderly relative, held the hand of dying patients, or comforted a grieving family member. Give your personal example that shows you have compassion for others.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "Yes, I most certainly consider myself a compassionate person. I take the opportunity to understand and help others whenever possible. While attending University, I spent a lot of time volunteering at a local hospice - not only for the added experience but also to give back to others. I would comfort patients and their family members during the patient's last moments, brush their hair, hold their hands, and read and sing to them. I look forward to continuing this level of compassionate care with your organization."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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  • Competency

    7. How would you describe your communication skills?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer asks this question to see that you have the solid verbal and written communication skills required for physician assistant positions. Your job duties include speaking to your physician, coworkers, patients, and family members. You will also be responsible for written communications when writing reports and communicating by email. The interviewer wants to hear that you have the necessary communication skills for the role.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I have worked hard on my verbal communication skills over the past few years as I used to be extremely shy. I took public speaking courses and now feel very comfortable communicating with others. My written communication skills have always been strong, and now my verbal communication skills are as well."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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  • Competency

    8. What are your strengths as a physician assistant?

      How to Answer

      The strengths and weakness interview question is one of the most popular questions, so you must have your answer rehearsed and ready to go. Being a good physician assistant means that you are observant, decisive, and knowledgeable. Tell the interviewer a few of your strengths and how they help you do your job. Use strengths that are unique so that you are a stand-out candidate.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "My strengths include collaboration and communication. I work well as a team member and always complete my tasks on time. In addition, I have an excellent educational record and can remember the most minute details from my physician assistant courses."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am a hard worker, focused, and capable of producing high-quality and thorough work under time constraints. I am highly emphatic to patients and their healthcare. I also pay close attention to even small details."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      These are all fantastic strengths for a PA to possess. To round out your answer, I recommend discussing how these strengths will come into play should you be hired. I have provided a starter, below.

      "What highlights my strengths is that I am a hard worker, focused, and capable of producing high-quality and thorough work under time constraints. I am highly emphatic to patients and their healthcare. I also pay close attention to even small details. When it comes to my work as a PA, these strengths are beneficial since (discuss the ways that your strengths benefit you as a PA)."

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  • Competency

    9. How would you rate your performance in this interview so far?

      How to Answer

      This question is a stress test! You need to be honest about your feelings about this meeting while maintaining an air of confidence at the same time. Be honest. It's okay to ask the interviewer to circle back if you aren't pleased with your initial response to a question.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I am not sure if I have been able to portray myself 100% accurately in this interview; although, I am trying my best. If there is anything more that I can clarify for you, I would be happy to do so."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I believe that this interview has been going great and has been quite informative for me. I am happy to provide further explanation or clarification on anything you would like to know more about or if you have any other questions or concerns."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good response! Your approach is to the point and confident while keeping the door open for feedback or further queries.

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  • Conflict

    10. Have you ever had a disagreement with a physician? If so, how did you handle it?

      How to Answer

      It is not uncommon for physician assistants to disagree with a physician. The interviewer knows this and would like to see how you have handled disputes in the past. How you respond gives the interviewer insight into your problem-solving, communication, and conflict-resolution skills, which are essential skills to possess in any profession.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "Luckily, I have had good coworkers and supervisors in the past with minimal conflict. If there is an issue with a physician, I like to nip it in the bud. I ask them to speak in private, address the issue, and come up with a resolution that makes us both happy."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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  • Critical Thinking

    11. What is an issue in the current healthcare system that you would like to see change?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is looking for you to identify a struggle you may have and share how you constructively handle this challenge in your typical workday. Be careful not to complain. Instead, present a solution to a challenging situation.
      Don't be afraid to share a controversial topic, but be aware of your audience. If you know that your interviewer is passionate about nutrition, consider sharing how you have researched the ingredients included in feeding tubes for patients who cannot swallow or are in a coma. Talk about how nutrition needs to be a higher priority, and how the food quality needs to change.
      Whatever it may be, share your knowledge and experience about the topic. Tell the interviewer how you are going to help change this particular issue in healthcare.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Entry Level Example

      "I am new to my career as a physician assistant. However, I am not new to the healthcare industry. I would say that the most challenging factor at the moment is the budgetary needs of my department. We are a small medical facility with limited resources."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      User-Submitted Answer

      "One issue in the current healthcare system is the lack of diversity among providers which contributes to healthcare disparities. As a Somali native, I have seen and experienced firsthand how communication barriers and cultural differences can cause frustration and misunderstanding for underserved communities when accessing healthcare."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      You make an excellent point in your response, and you deliver your thoughts very well. If it were up to you, what would you do to help create positive change when it comes to this concern?

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  • Diligence

    12. The medical industry is constantly evolving. How do you stay current on medical advancements?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer asks this question to see how you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and medical advancements. There are publications, webinars, conferences, podcasts, in-person training, and continuing education courses to offer physician assistants training in the latest advancements and techniques used by other healthcare professionals. The interviewer wants to see that you take your profession seriously by staying current on the latest trends. Describe the various ways you stay current on medical advancements as a physician assistant.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I stay current on medical advancements by completing my required continuing education hours each year and speaking daily with my physician. She has daily team meetings and will inform the staff of any current or upcoming changes affecting how we treat patients. I also read online peer-reviewed medical journals that cover changes in the medical industry."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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  • Direct

    13. What is a dependent practitioner, and how do you feel about practicing as one?

      How to Answer

      As a physician assistant, you are, by definition, a dependent practitioner. You rely on your supervising physician to make decisions about your patients. Many PAs are given the liberty to handle a variety of situations with patients, making recommendations similar to a doctor. However, ultimately you will be referring to the doctor on final decisions. Let the interviewer know how you feel about practicing as a dependent practitioner.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "To me, a dependent practitioner is a medical professional who still works under the supervision of a physician. I feel very prepared to work as a dependent practitioner. My education and practicum have both prepared me for the opportunity."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      User-Submitted Answer

      "A dependent practitioner is someone that works under supervision or in collaboration with a doctor. I am extremely excited to take on this opportunity and work with brilliant minds and gain a new perspective on various topics. I love to learn! I have worked as a medical assistant with NPs, PAs, and doctors, and as a CNA under the supervision of nurses. I love having a team that I can count on."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your passion shines through in this response! It's great how your answer came to life, showing just how eager you are for this type of opportunity.

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  • Direct

    14. Why did you leave your last job?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know why you left your last job to see if you were fired, given notice, or were laid off. If you were fired, they want to know if you will admit why you were fired, if you take responsibility, and what you learned from the experience. If you gave notice, they want to understand what you did not like about your job to see if you would fit in with the company culture.

      Focus on being direct and honest, and explain why you left your last place of employment. If you gave notice, were laid off, or fired, describe the circumstances behind your leaving. Be sure to end your response positively and tell the interviewer how excited you are to have the opportunity to interview for the position with their company.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I left my last job as an EMT to go to school full-time and pursue my career as a physician assistant. I saved up enough money to attend school without needing to work. I am still friends with my former coworkers and supervisor and have an excellent letter of recommendation if you would like a copy for your candidate file."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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  • Direct

    15. We conduct early-stage criminal background checks, credit checks, and drug tests on all of our candidates. Is there anything you'd like to talk about at this time?

      How to Answer

      Working in the healthcare industry means you are in contact with vulnerable people, children, pharmaceutical drugs, drug-related equipment, confidential information, and other areas of sensitivity. If you have a criminal record, bad credit, or an issue with drugs, you must disclose this. Assure the interviewer that you are able and willing to pass a complete background check. If you have a criminal record, you can say something like: 'I have a misdemeanor on my record from 15 years ago. I am happy to continue the interview process and comply with your background checks if you allow for some exceptions.'

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I am happy to comply with any background check required. My criminal record is clean, but I did have poor credit eight years ago. I went through a nasty divorce, and our house went into foreclosure. I have been slowly building my credit up and recently qualified for a mortgage to purchase another home. I do not participate in drug use, and you can be assured that I will maintain a clean record if you hire me for this role."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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  • Direct

    16. Are you available to work nights?

      How to Answer

      This could be tricky to answer if you cannot work nights. Answering this question with a 'no' isn't necessarily a deal breaker. The interviewer may know of a day shift opening in a few weeks and will keep your name on the back burner until then. Or, the interviewer may be able to work with your shift request. You must be honest to guarantee you end up in a role that will suit your scheduling needs.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "As I am new to my career as a physician assistant, I believe that I should make myself available for any shift options. Could you provide me with further details on your night shifts?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am eager to obtain all of the experiences as a new PA. I believe working some night shifts will allow me to get a broader perspective."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Very positive response! Although night shifts may not always be ideal, you do a fantastic job spinning the situation into a positive one. Your interviewer should greatly appreciate this trait!

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  • Direct

    17. Why should we hire you to be our next physician assistant?

      How to Answer

      The interviewers are likely considering many qualified physician assistants to join their team. The job market is very competitive for coveted positions, and your interviewer wants to ensure they hire the best fit for their team. To separate the top candidate from the pack, they now give you a chance to give your best sales pitch on what makes you the best candidate for their opening. To best answer this question, you want to come at it from two sides. First, you want to reiterate what clinical skills and abilities you possess that make you the perfect physician assistant for the role you are interviewing. Then, you want to ensure your interviewer understands that you will be the ultimate team player and a great cultural fit with the organization. This is where your homework on the role and the organization will pay dividends.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I pride myself on being a collaborative physician assistant and a dedicated individual contributor. Throughout my clinical rotations, I've proven my ability to work cohesively among a large team of providers while leading and respectfully directing nursing staff. As I embarked on a career search following my graduation, the two important things to me were long-term stability and a great culture. Your long-standing success in the region as one of the top hospitals and your reputation for being an outstanding employer speak volumes. I can guarantee that I would be dedicated to this role for years to come."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am passionate about orthopedics, and I completed my elective orthopedic rotation with a foot and ankle surgeon. I am a dedicated team player who enjoys collaboration, and I am eager to work with the cutting-edge surgical team here."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      The specifics on your skills is a nice touch. Well done!

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  • Direct

    18. Tell me about yourself.

      How to Answer

      Healthcare institutions looking to hire physician assistants often end up with pools of very highly qualified candidates from a clinical perspective. The decision can sometimes come down to the PA that is the best cultural fit for the organization and personality fit for the team. In asking you to describe yourself, you are getting an opportunity to discuss your motivation for pursuing a career in healthcare as a physician assistant, your path up to this interview, and some bits and pieces about yourself that make you both a good fit for the organization and the department you are interviewing with. Talk openly about these things to sell yourself as the top PA for the position.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Entry Level Example

      "From an early age, I always gravitated towards the sciences like biology and chemistry. I decided on a healthcare career after some volunteer experiences at a nursing home during high school. Unsure of my exact direction entering college, I took some opportunities to shadow a couple of physician assistants during college and knew this was a career I could thrive in. If I'm fortunate enough to be hired for this role, you'd be getting a nurturing and skilled PA with a competitive side, as I'm a competitive golfer and water skier."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I love medicine as we are constantly learning new things about diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of ailments. I love challenges and am looking for avenues to grow and learn in the field of medicine. This passion is what made me want to come back after a hiatus."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your passion for medicine is very evident, which is wonderful. However, since this question is a bit broad ("Tell me about yourself,") I suggest adding a bit more about your professional background and the skills and positive characteristics that you'd bring to a workplace setting. I have created an example in the "Revised Answer" section to show what this might look like.

      "I'm a hard-working physician assistant who is passionate about the evolving field of medicine. I love learning new things about diagnoses, assessment, and treatment of ailments. I am energized by challenges, and I am seeking a new avenue to grow and learn within the field of medicine. My passion for this career field is what made me want to return to work after a hiatus. My colleagues and former supervisors would describe me as being inquisitive, relational, and an active problem-solver. I bring my best self to work every day."

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  • Discovery

    19. Who is your mentor in the healthcare industry?

      How to Answer

      In this particular situation, your interviewer is looking for a mentor in the same career field. If your crazy best friend is who you look up to, you may want to censor and save those stories for another time. The interviewer wants to know who you get your professional direction and advice from. Perhaps a professor took you under their wing and guided you, or maybe a family member has overcome challenges in life and has pushed you to become the person you are today.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "My professional mentor is my former pharmacology professor. I excelled in his class which prompted a great relationship between us. He offered me more advanced work and helped me find an excellent practicum placement. Even though I have graduated, we still meet once per month to discuss changes in the healthcare industry."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I had the opportunity to have a PA as a mentor in my senior year of college. She worked as a family medicine PA at a small clinic in an urban suburb of Minneapolis. She very much inspired me to want to go into primary care, and help provide healthcare to populations that do not have adequate access. She made a difference in people of all ages and backgrounds lives, from children's physicals to older adults with hypertension, she impacted the health outcomes of individuals."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It sounds like you had an excellent mentor which is an experience that can offer up a significant advantage as you grow in your own PA career.

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  • Discovery

    20. After reading the job description, what do you like most about this position?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer asks this question to see that you have read the job description in its entirety and determine what aspect of the role you like the most. Most physician assistant job postings have many job duties you will be asked to perform. The interviewer wants to know what you like the most to see where your strengths lie.

      Focus on describing what you like most about the job and explain why. For example, you might like that you will be responsible for managing pre-operative and post-operative care to patients. Tell the interviewer why this particular job duty excites you.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "As a fairly new physician assistant, what I find most appealing about the job description is performing physical exams and providing episodic care or problem-oriented care. While completing my clinicals, I found physical exams to be what I enjoy the most because I can learn so much about the patient in a short amount of time and provide them with the care they need."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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  • Discovery

    21. What do you like about being a physician assistant?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know what keeps you motivated to do a good job, even on the tough days. Why are you in this career? Perhaps you like working with children or diagnosing complicated issues. Discuss your commitment to providing exceptional patient care. Everyone has different motivations for working in the medical field, but the best moments usually involve solving patient health issues and helping them towards the road to recovery.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Entry Level Example

      "I most enjoy helping people in their time of need. When you don't feel well, you feel vulnerable and need people around you that are kind and knowledgeable. I like to take action when others are in need so being a physician's assistant was an obvious career choice for me."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      User-Submitted Answer

      "What I love most about being a physician assistant is spending quality time with patients while thoroughly educating them and advocating for their health. Making a difference in a patient's health and life while building a trusting relationship is the most rewarding feeling."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your answer sounds very genuine, and it seems that you care a lot about the well-being of others. At the end of your response, I recommend including a bit of detail surrounding what you believe you will enjoy most about this PA position, specifically.

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  • Discovery

    22. How did you hear about this position?

      How to Answer

      Companies invest a lot of money in advertising their job openings. The interviewer wants to hear what methods are effective and which are not. They also want to hear if an employee of their agency referred you. Describe how you heard about the position, and be sure to give the name of the employee or recruiter who referred you if applicable. Some companies offer their employees a referral fee when referring a candidate, while others hire recruiters to seek qualified candidates.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I found out about the position by searching your website. I knew I wanted to work for your organization after my professor recommended your company, so I searched and saw an opening in my field."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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  • Discovery

    23. Our organization promotes a healthy work-life balance with all staff. What do you like to do in your free time to find that healthy balance?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer asks this question to see what interests you and if you have healthy avenues to decompress. They want to hear what hobbies and activities you enjoy and know that you spend time away from work destressing from the pressures of the job.

      Focus on describing three or four activities you enjoy. The interviewer wants to see what you are interested in and determine how well you will get along with other team members based on your interests.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "On my days off, I like going for long motorcycle rides with my husband, eating at new restaurants, and doing yoga and pilates. These activities take my mind off work and rejuvenate me for my next shift."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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  • Discovery

    24. This concludes our interview. Do you have any questions for me?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to make sure that all your questions about the company or job role are answered during the interview. It is best to ask at least a question or two, showing the interviewer your eagerness to learn all you can. Of course, you want to review the job announcement and research the company beforehand so you are not asking questions that could be found during your research.

      Focus on asking questions specific to the role you are interviewing for or the company culture and work environment. Examples of good questions are asking the interviewer how you performed in the interview or if you need to clarify anything, asking what the interviewer likes most about working for the organization, or if they have any hesitancy about hiring you. To make yourself stand out, thank the interviewer at the beginning of your response for letting you ask questions. They will think that it is respectful and it shows you have good manners.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "Thank you for asking. Yes, I do have a couple of questions. First, when would you like to have this position filled? And second, are there any required qualifications you do not see on my resume?"

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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  • Discovery

    25. Tell us about your community involvement.

      How to Answer

      Most hiring authorities prefer candidates who have some volunteer experience. As a physician assistant, you have a love for helping others, but the interviewer wants to hear if you support your community through volunteering. Share a bit about your core values or your commitments outside of work.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I was raised by parents who believed that giving back to the community through volunteering was the most important thing you could do. Even if you don't have money to give, you can always find the time. Currently, I spend every Sunday afternoon working as a health aid at the homeless shelter."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I enjoy being involved with the community whenever I have a bit of time off. Currently, I have joined the Flu vaccinators community team to help out delivering free flu vaccines for the entire community.

      It is important to me that I use my knowledge and skills to help others."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This volunteer experience/community involvement is very important :) What initially drove you to join the flu vaccinations community team? Is there a specific personal or professional driver?

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  • Discovery

    26. What made you pursue a career as a physician assistant?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to hear your reasons for choosing this profession to understand what motivates you in your career. They want to hear if another physician assistant mentored you, have family or friends who work in the medical field, worked in another industry and decided to change careers, or had a loved one who received excellent care from a physician assistant. Tell the interviewer your reasons for choosing this profession.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I chose to pursue a career as a physician assistant because my mom and dad are both PAs. I love caring for others and helping make them comfortable when going through a difficult time in their lives. I grew up hearing the stories of the people my parents had helped and even those they could not. Still, I could tell that they truly enjoyed their jobs, and I think it's in my blood. I cannot imagine choosing another career path."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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  • Discovery

    27. What do you know about our facility?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer asks you this question to see if you did your homework on the organization or if you are merely floating your resume. Be sure to read up on the organization that you are interviewing with and have a few questions prepared. The interviewer is looking for a baseline of your knowledge and level of interest.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I know your facility is top of the line regarding technological advancements and research. I am a major supporter of these efforts and would be honored to work in such an advanced hospital environment."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I know that your facility aims to provide quality, efficient, and cost-effective care with a compassionate approach towards the patients. One thing that resonates with me is that your facility finds it essential to involve patients in their treatment plan to make it as efficient as possible. The best part about Centracare in Saint Cloud is that they achieved the "Truven Top 100" hospital designation 11 times. St. Cloud Hospital is the only hospital in Minnesota that has received the Top 100 hospitals distinction 11 times. I believe that I would be a great asset to the team. I can bring a unique approach based on my experience living with inadequate healthcare thanks to language and cultural barriers. I want to be part of bridging the gap between non-English speaking Somali patients and their healthcare."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      You certainly have done your research! It sounds as though Centracare in St. Cloud is a fantastic place to be, and your enthusiasm shines through. With your final qualifying statement you may also want to touch on compassion, as you mention their compassionate approach at the start. I have provided an example, below.

      "I know that your facility aims at providing quality, efficient, and cost-effective care with a compassionate approach towards the patients. One thing that resonates with me is that your facility finds it essential to involve the patient in their treatment plan to make it as efficient as possible. The best part about Centracare in Saint cloud is that they have received the following achievement "Truven Top 100 Hospital" eleven times. St. Cloud Hospital is the only hospital in Minnesota that has received the Top 100 distinction 11 times. I believe that I would be a great asset to the team as I can bring a uniquely compassionate approach as I have experienced living with inadequate healthcare resulting from language and cultural barriers. I want to be part of bridging the gap between non-English speaking Somali patients and their healthcare."

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  • Discovery

    28. What are some highlights from your clinical rotations?

      How to Answer

      You may have a long list of experiences worth sharing, but see if you can narrow it down to three. After logging over 2,000 hours worth of rotations, you have learned about treating everything from broken bones to infectious diseases. Describe what you found most intriguing from your clinical rotations and why.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "My most powerful experience during clinical rotations was working with the pediatric oncology unit. I had worked with cancer patients in the past, but never with children and this rotation sparked my passion for oncology care and research. I left that rotation knowing that I wanted to work in hospitals for the rest of my career, it lit a spark in me."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Throughout my clinical rotations, I have received excellent feedback about the quality of my care from preceptors, patients, and their loved ones. I have displayed a strong commitment to providing high-quality and efficient medical care. I believe I possess the ability to practice comprehensive primary healthcare such as performing exceptional history and physical exams, formulating a proper differential diagnosis, providing thorough patient education, and conducting adequate treatment and management plans."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your answer is very robust, and you provide excellent detail. It seems you had many strong takeaways from your clinical rotations. Your confidence shines through!

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  • Discovery

    29. What department of the healthcare field most interests you?

      How to Answer

      Tell the interviewer what type of patients you enjoy working with or a particular department you prefer to work in. This preference may be related to your educational expertise. Tell the interviewer if you enjoy assisting the elderly or working in the neonatal unit. Talk about your experience regarding your area of specialty, elaborating on why you enjoy it.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "My educational specialty is in patient assessment. For that reason, I am most interested in working in triage or intake."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am most invested in Orthopedics. Ortho was my primary interest going into PA school, and I particularly enjoyed my ortho rotation."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great! Your answer will help guide the hiring authorities when it comes to finding placement and opportunities for you.

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  • Education

    30. Talk to me about your GPA while completing your Masters' Degree.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like further details on the grades you received during University. Competition is tough as a PA, and you must show your diligence and ability to exceed. Discuss your GPA, and mention any special awards, individual accolades, or scholarships you received. You can also mention anything that makes you stand out, such as sitting on a student committee while attending University.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I graduated this year with my Masters' Degree in Physical Diagnosis. I completed this program at the top of my class, with a 3.94 GPA. I was on the Dean's List and received multiple scholarships, all highlighted on my resume. As you can see, I am an overachiever and have created a secure footing as a PA."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I completed my master's degree in physician assistant studies with a cumulative GPA of 3.2. I managed to keep up with the program despite how extremely rigorous it was. It's kind of hard to take credit for the success of my GPA though, as most classes were based on a pass or fail grade. I think I did exceptionally well and mastered the content I learned, proven by how well I did in my clinical rotations, where I had a cumulative grade of 94%."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Wonderful answer! You sound very confident in your GPA and all that you learned while completing your master's degree. Your accumulative grade of 94% is exceptional - well done!

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  • Leadership

    31. What qualities does a great leader have? Which do you possess?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know that you understand the qualities that a great leader should possess. Highlight your ability to work with a team and actively communicate. If you had a great mentor or supervisor in your past, feel free to mention something specific about what you learned from them.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "Great leaders have the ability to delegate, lead by example, and teach and mentor others. Great leaders understand what motivates their team and are willing to accept feedback and suggestions. I possess all of those qualities, which I learned from my mentor."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      User-Submitted Answer

      "In my opinion, a great leader is someone very passionate, patient, cooperative, and a great listener. Working throughout the different clinical settings, especially as a medical assistant, I have developed these skills. As a medication assistant, I am always working in a team and sharing ideas with PAs, NPs, MDs, nurses, social workers, and my medical assistant colleague. I work with people who speak different languages; It required a great deal of patiently listening and communicating with them. I am always collaborating with teams and finding a way to help each other to succeed."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Very nice answer! You are thorough and do a wonderful job highlighting the ways that you possess these qualities.

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  • Operational

    32. Are you willing to work a flexible schedule rotating with 2nd and 3rd shifts?

      How to Answer

      Most organizations will put the shift or schedule requirements in their job description, so the schedule should not be a surprise to you. The interviewer wants to see that you understand that job requirement and are willing to be flexible with your schedule.

      Focus on letting the interviewer know that you understand the requirement and are willing to work whatever schedule is needed for the role. The interviewer wants to hire an employee who accommodates the company's needs, showing you are a team player.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "Yes, that is one of the reasons I applied for this position. I enjoy working the night shift as it allows me to volunteer at my children's school during the day."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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  • Operational

    33. Can you work independently, or do you prefer to be closely supervised?

      How to Answer

      Many companies post they are looking for physician assistants who are self-starters and can work independently. While working in a team environment is also required as you collaborate with the physician and other healthcare professionals, many companies are looking for physician assistants who are confident in their skills and feel comfortable working alone. The interviewer asks this question to see that you can work independently and not need to be closely supervised if hired.

      Focus on describing that you work well independently and work well with teams. The interviewer wants to hear that you can work in different types of situations but that you do not need close supervision.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I enjoy working independently and do not require constant supervision. If ever I have a question about a patient, I will not hesitate to ask my physician for guidance. On the other hand, I am a team player and like collaborating with other members of the healthcare team."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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  • Performance Based

    34. How would you describe your work ethic?

      How to Answer

      You may be carefree and fun-loving with your friends on the weekends, but at work, you are focused and professional. The interviewer is interested in your personality and how you will fit with the team. Give specific examples or keywords they can relate to. When you read the company job, posting or job description do they refer to particular ethics? Talk about their values and how those align well with your work values.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "Past employers have told me they admire my strong work ethic and dedication to the profession. I am compassionate, honest, hardworking, and dependable. I show up to work early, stay late when needed, and am available after hours for my patients. I believe in giving my best in everything I do."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am an extremely dedicated and enthusiastic individual with a professional demeanor and appearance. I have a compassionate approach and commitment to assisting mentally and physically ill patients, which allows me to build solid, trusting relationships with patients and their loved ones. I am eager to start applying the knowledge and skills I have gained and learn new skills in a primary care setting."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Excellent response! You sound confident and are very well-spoken. Your professionalism shines through, and it's apparent that you take pride in your work. At the end of your response, I recommend adding a 'qualifying statement' that addresses how your work ethic will benefit the organization, should they hire you.

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  • Problem Solving

    35. Some patients can be pretty challenging to work with. Do you consider yourself a patient person? How do you increase your patience level when working with complex patients?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know if you consider yourself a patient individual. Impatience can cause a lot of stress and anxiety in coworkers and patients, so it is essential that you can showcase your ability to remain patient and professional in workplace situations. Describe how you maintain patience and professionalism when working with challenging patients.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I do consider myself a patient person. I would rate myself an eight out of ten for patience because I certainly have room to grow, but I have a very long fuse. If I need a boost of patience in a challenging situation, I will take a step away, count to 10, and then return to the situation. I recently read a book, 'The Power of Patience' by M.J. Ryan, which also gave me some excellent new methods for coping with stress."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

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  • Salary

    36. What are your salary requirements?

      How to Answer

      The best thing that you can do when asked about your salary expectations is to be open and honest about what you are currently earning and where you want to be in the future. If you are asking for more than you currently make, be sure to give reasons to substantiate your salary requirements.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "As I am new to my career as a physician assistant, I am happy to negotiate my earnings based on your typical salary for this role."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      User-Submitted Answer

      "According to AAPA, the mean salary for a new graduate in a primary care setting in Minnesota is within the range of $110,000-$120,000 which is what I am expecting."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good work! You come armed and prepared based on research and evidence. This approach perfect.

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  • Scenario Based

    37. What will you do if you have a patient that refuses to take care of their health?

      How to Answer

      There are many challenges in the healthcare field, and one of them is treating patients who lack the desire to make healthy choices. You may encounter individuals who repeatedly visit your office with the same symptoms, asking for a pill rather than making the effort to live a healthy lifestyle. As you know, lifestyle choices greatly impact specific conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Tell the interviewer how you would handle a patient when they continue to complain of the same symptoms without taking the initiative to help themselves.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Entry Level Example

      "It is frustrating to see ailing individuals who do not want to help themselves. I have found that many people are overwhelmed by the amount of conflicting information they receive. I will encourage my patients to make one small change at a time. This could include committing to drinking more water, or eating more fibrous foods."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I would do my best to met them where they are. I would continue with education and treatment options. I would work with the patient to come up with even one small lifestyle change they could make to better their health. It's important for patients to be involved in their own healthcare decision-making process."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Very well stated! I have changed the order just a touch, to help with the flow.

      "It is important that patients be involved in the health care decision-making process. For this reason, I do my best to meet them where they are at; meaning, I would continue with education and treatment options. Working with a patient to come up with even one small lifestyle change could be enough to make an impact on their health."

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  • Stress

    38. Healthcare professionals are under a great amount of stress. How do you manage your work stress?

      How to Answer

      We all experience stress daily, but how you relay this to the interviewer will say a lot about you. Steer clear from when you lost your cool and raised your voice- we all have days like that but now is not the time to bring it up. Tell the interviewer how you manage your work stress and keep a healthy balance between home and work.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I fully understand that physician assistant's jobs come with a lot of stress. Stress is part of any demanding job, and I fully embrace it. I take good care of myself and prioritize my workload to maintain a healthy balance in my stress levels."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      User-Submitted Answer

      "When I find myself under pressure and feeling overwhelmed, I focus on giving myself some time to take deep breaths and reassess the priorities of the day. That helps me focus on what's most relevant first and move on to the next task. The biggest thing that alleviates my stress is taking the time to take deep breaths and telling myself everything will be okay. If I don't do that, then the anxiety caused by the pressure will take over which will lead to decreased productivity."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It seems that you know yourself very well, and the techniques that you use to overcome stress and very smart and helpful! If you have an example of a time when you deployed this stress-management technique, you could also add in a brief story based example.

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  • Teamwork

    39. How do you gain a physician's trust and respect?

      How to Answer

      Professional working relationships are essential as a healthcare provider who regularly works on a multidisciplinary team. You can be specific about your process or stay general by sharing some of your best practices around building trust. If possible, share an example of how you gain trust within the patient care team or how you relate to others.

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      Entry Level Example

      "I feel that the best way to earn the trust of the physicians is to be helpful, always do what I promise, and be honest with them at all times. Strong relationships have to be built on these principles."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I believe the best way to gain a physician's trust and respect is to display strong dedication and reliability. If a physician is confident that they can rely on you, then you gain their trust. Another way to build trust is to practice an open and honest communication method."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      These are terrific ways to build trust with the physicians around you. When it comes to your specific experience, it may be a nice touch to tell a brief story of a time when you used these approaches to gain the trust and respect of a physician.

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  • Tough

    40. Are you comfortable making tough decisions in regard to a patient's care?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know how you handle stressful situations. Be sure to highlight your ability to think strategically and to make quick, thoughtful decisions. Provide an example of the confidence you have in your decision-making skills when it comes to patient care and the tough choices that go with it.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Entry Level Example

      "As a PA, I decided to separate the feelings surrounding patient care decisions from my other emotions. The medical decision must be made factually and not based solely on feeling. For this reason, I do not find it difficult to make tough decisions."

      Written by Krista Wenz on January 31st, 2023

      User-Submitted Answer

      "During my clinical rotations, I learned how to make tough decisions by using resources such as collaboration with other providers and literature research while maintaining a patient's medical history and preferences. I have also learned to compartmentalize my emotions from evidence-based medical management."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Solid response - well said! When it comes to the tough decisions you have made, it may be a good idea to briefly include a few examples of the type of tough decisions you have faced recently. This information will give the interviewer a better scope of the challenges you are accustomed to overcoming as a PA.

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