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Physician Assistant Interview Questions

25 Physician Assistant Interview Questions
Question 1 of 25
What will you do if you have a client 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.

Answer Example
"I have learned that working in the medical field requires a certain amount of tolerance. I remind patients of the impact healthy lifestyle choices will make on their conditions, but sometimes I am limited on my influence. I have found that giving patients a clear picture by explaining what is actually happening in their body helps them to understand and often take action."
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."
Experienced Example
"This is the challenge of any patient care professional because patients are ultimately accountable for their health once they leave our care. I urge patients to look long-term at how they can make even small improvements. If they are unwilling to make those changes, it's my primary job to care for the patient regardless."
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Question 2 of 25
How do you plan to continually grow as a physician assistant?
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How to Answer
You have an elevated degree; however, that doesn't mean that 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 want to mention a class or volunteer position to highlight your commitment to professional growth.

Answer Example
"I am so happy to have completed my Master's Degree in Genetics. I recently enrolled in a course that will increase my knowledge on the relationship between pharmacology and biomarkers."
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's assistant by taking monthly courses on a variety of related topics. If there are any courses you recommend, I would be happy to hear your recommendations."
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."
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Question 3 of 25
What are some of the challenges of working as a physician assistant?
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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.

Answer Example
"A challenge as a PA can be that we have more patients than we have coverage or availability. I've learned so much working in this fast-paced environment. My most important take away from these types of situations has been learning the importance of time management, clear documentation, and appropriate scheduling."
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."
Experienced Example
"My current team is understaffed and has been for about a year now. It can be challenging because each person on the team is stretched. However, it's been a great opportunity to collaborate on key initiatives. We are making the best of the situation."
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Question 4 of 25
Who is your mentor in the healthcare industry?
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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. Did a professor take you under their wing and guide you? Perhaps a family member has overcome challenges in life and has pushed you to become the person you are today.

Answer Example
"When it comes to my career as a physicians assistant, the physician I currently work under has been my professional mentor for the past six years. She has taught me a lot of skills and given me knowledge far beyond a basic PA."
Entry Level Example
"My professional mentor is my former pharmacology professor. I excelled in his class which prompted a great relationship between the two of 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."
Experienced Example
"My mentor is an anesthesiologist that I have worked with for the past eight years. I asked her to be my mentor because she is a strong woman in the healthcare industry who holds her own, has a great reputation, and a positive disposition. I wanted to learn from someone like her. Someone I admire and trust."
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Question 5 of 25
What is a dependent practitioner, and how do you feel about practicing as one?
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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 PA's 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.

Answer Example
"I appreciate the fact that I can rely on my supervising doctor for support when treating patients. I respect the wealth of knowledge they bring to the table and I value my relationship with them. I'm excited about my influence as a Physician Assistant because even though I'm dependent upon the doctor's final say in many situations, I still have some of the same freedoms to treat patients."
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."
Experienced Example
"I have been a dependent practitioner for twelve years now, working with the same two physicians my entire career. I have felt that, as a dependent practitioner, I have been given incredible opportunities to work with brilliant minds in the healthcare industry. I look forward to continuing my PA career with your facility."
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Writers for Physician Assistant Answers and Questions

Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is an executive head-hunter and job search expert. Utilized by top executives from Fortune 100 & 500 companies like Fitbit, Microsoft, General Electric, Nestle, and more, she helps professionals position themselves in a competitive marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume, a company that focuses on helping job seekers get their edge back. Renovate My Resume creates stand-out resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and professional summaries for new grads, all the way to corporate executives. Rachelle spends much of her time training career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers. She also holds interview workshops for students and interns, globally. For great tips and tricks, follow Rachelle on Instagram @_rachelle_e or @renovatemyresume.
Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
First written on: 01/09/2011
Last modified on: 08/30/2018

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Our interview questions are created by writers, almost all of which, have a long history of recruiting and interviewing candidates. They do not necessarily have experience interviewing or working with companies, careers, or schools, in which they may write for on MockQuestions.com. We do, however, strive to match their background and expertise with the appropriate question sets found on our website.

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About Physician Assistant

September 25th, 2017

Physician Assistants are healthcare professionals who are licensed to provide a broad range of healthcare services under the supervision of a licensed physician. Physician Assistants or PAs are licensed to diagnose and treat illnesses, conduct physical exams, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and write prescriptions. As a Physician Assistant, you may also assist in surgery, and advise patients on preventive health care measures.
To qualify as a Physician Assistant you must complete a 2-year full-time accredited physician assistant education program. This is after completing a 4-year bachelor's degree and having some work experience related to healthcare such as a registered nurse, paramedic or emergency medical technician. You are typically employed by hospitals, private clinics, outpatient care centers, educational institutions and the government. Depending on the healthcare organization you are employed by, you may also make house calls or treat elderly patients in nursing homes. You have excellent diagnostic, communication, and interpersonal skills. The ability to work as part of a team is a must.
Your interviews are generally conducted by a panel of interviewers. The Hospital Administrator and the Licensed Physician you will be working with will almost certainly be part of this panel. Be prepared for a rigorous interview that tests your knowledge and skills as well as your interest in caring for the sick and the injured. Make sure your answers reflect these qualities. If you are a new graduate, have a few situations from your internship in your back pocket to refer to during the interview.