MockQuestions

Surgical First Assistant Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Surgical First Assistant interview, here are 30 interview questions and answer examples.

Surgical First Assistant was written by and updated on December 22nd, 2018. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 30

How do you approach dealing with an angry patient, and why?

How to Answer

Knowing how you will handle a difficult situation will tell the interviewer if you have the right attitude for this job. Being a physician means you have to deal with people from very different backgrounds and with varying personalities. Give the interviewer an example of how you would handle an angry patient.

Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

Next Question

30 Surgical First Assistant Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1. How do you approach dealing with an angry patient, and why?

      How to Answer

      Knowing how you will handle a difficult situation will tell the interviewer if you have the right attitude for this job. Being a physician means you have to deal with people from very different backgrounds and with varying personalities. Give the interviewer an example of how you would handle an angry patient.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I think it is important to try and find out what has made the patient mad. If it is something such as not being called as quickly as he had expected, a simple explanation regarding what caused the delay may help calm him."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      1st Answer Example

      "I believe acting calmly and speaking rationally is a great way to calm someone who is angry and I try to be the voice of reason without making someone feel that I am belittling them."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      Experienced

      "There are a couple of different approaches and safety is, of course, the most important thing to consider. A patient who is angry could become combative which could result in injury to him, to me, or to both of us. I feel the best approach is to ask what has made the patient upset and try to resolve the underlying cause, if at all possible."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Undergoing a procedure is usually due to an illness. Most anger is based on fear, so it is important first to recognize that and to understand that the patient is not angry with me personally and to engage with them without being defensive. A calm response based on empathy generally works best for me."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your approach sounds excellent and very caring! If you have an example of a time when you used this approach to help settle an angry patient, this question presents a good opportunity to weave in a memorable story.

  • 2. Working in surgery requires a great deal of attention to detail and often multi-tasking. What do you do to help keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed?

      How to Answer

      Managing the care of a patient in a surgical setting requires the ability to multitask and ensure all details are checked and double-checked. In a surgical first assistant interview, discuss your understanding of the importance of maintaining detailed records, performing multiple assessments and handling instruments and performing procedures efficiently and accurately.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I have learned to recognize the things that may cause me to feel overwhelmed and try to address them before a situation gets out of hand. For example, I always like to make sure that all physician orders are clear before I begin a shift and report anything that seems to be out of order or any changes in patient status as they occur. Attention to detail, such as these examples, helps my team be sure that a patient is stable enough to go into surgery. Also, this keeps things from piling up and leaving me to feel overwhelmed later on."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      1st Answer Example

      "I am very detail-oriented. One of my strengths as a surgical first assistant is to manage multiple medical tasks with the highest degree of excellence."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      Experienced

      "Being a surgical first assistant does require the ability to multitask while handling situations that may create stress. I feel it is important to know our own personal strengths and weaknesses. For instance, I am very detail oriented and always write very detailed notes regarding everything I do for a patient. I like to make sure that I know what the patient goals are with regard to the procedure he is scheduled to have and make sure that I have a mental list of what needs to be done and in what order. It makes most situations less overwhelming."

      Written by Darby Faubion

  • 3. There are many different personalities among peers and coworkers. What would you like for people to notice about your personality?

      How to Answer

      Your personality speaks volumes about who you are. We are often our own worst critics. This question gives the interviewer an opportunity to get to know you on your own terms, so to speak. Share what qualities you think your personality portrays, but remember to be honest. Actions speak louder than words and, if hired, you will be expected to portray the attributes you have discussed.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I would like for people to notice that I am approachable and easy to get to know. I tend to be shy at times and some people mistake that for me not being friendly. Given a little time to really get to know me, though, I believe anyone can tell that I am very friendly and enjoy getting to know others."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      1st Answer Example

      "I would like to think that people who meet feel that I am kind and very easy to get along with. Life has enough stress without us creating any more of it unnecessarily. With that in mind, I try to be the peacekeeper. I like to work hard and lend a hand whenever possible."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

  • 4. What makes you feel you will be a good fit for our organization?

      How to Answer

      Rather than just sharing how you have gone above and beyond expectations in the past, focus on how your qualities will help you meet and exceed expectations with their organization. Discuss the reasons why will you be great at this job. Talk about your qualifications and skills that will help you to do this job well. If you can, match your strengths to the requirements outlined in the job description.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "Entry Level: "I feel I have the education and skills necessary to become an asset to your organization and I believe, given the opportunity, I can prove that."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 5. What is your greatest fear about being a surgical first assistant?

      How to Answer

      We all have things that make us feel afraid from time to time. Recognizing them is the first step in overcoming them. This question is an opportunity for the interviewer to get to know you on a personal level. Being willing to talk openly to someone about things like this shows your softer side, which is important when you are trying to build a good rapport during an interview.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I think we all fear something on one level or another. For me, I fear that I may miss something when I am caring for a patient. I always want to go home at the end of my day knowing that I gave everything I could to improve the life of someone else."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 6. Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with a coworker and how it was resolved.

      How to Answer

      Any time you work with someone else, there is a chance of having a disagreement about something at one time or another. The interviewer knows this. It's human nature for people to have their own opinions. What is important to the interviewer in this question is whether or not you are willing to compromise and work through difficult situations with your co-workers. Being unwilling to compromise or find alternative solutions to a dispute can affect everyone on the team, even if it is indirectly. Sharing a personal experience is OK, but do not embellish it to 'be the hero.'

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I am a pretty easy-going person and do my best to avoid conflict. Like anyone else, I am sure there have been times that a co-worker and I have had a difference of opinion. But, there has never been an instance that the disagreement was something that would have interfered with my work."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 7. Would you ever consider relocation? If so, what areas are you open to?

      How to Answer

      While relocation may not be a determining factor for employment, larger companies almost always ask this question. The important thing to remember is if you are 100% confident that you are willing to relocate, answer yes. However, if there is any hesitation, there are ways to answer this question without an emphatic NO.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I have done a bit of traveling and I am open to the idea of relocation. I would like to find a place where I can put down roots and grow with a company."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 8. Tell me about a time that there was an unexpected emergency at work. How did you handle the situation?

      How to Answer

      With this question, the interviewer wants to see if you are capable of adjusting to unexpected things on the job. Be sure to mention that you are able to prioritize in order of importance and that, when emergencies do occur, you are able to return to your job once the issue is resolved.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "During my clinical rotation in an urgent care setting, a patient that I was seeing with my preceptor collapsed with an apparent cardiac arrest. At that point, instinct kicked in with my basic lifesaver training and I began to administer CPR while my preceptor went to grab the defibrillator. Upon his return, my preceptor administered shock with the defibrillator and the patient was transported to the hospital for recovery. Staying calm and relying on my training was key in that situation to help save a life that day."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 9. Talk about a time that you had to deal with a significant change in your work procedures or in your workplace. How did you handle that change?

      How to Answer

      The healthcare industry is always in a constant state of change. Organizations merge, laws change and new technology and process are always emerging to better care for a patient. To succeed as a surgical first assistant, you need to be able to demonstrate that you can navigate change with ease in the workplace and this is your chance to give a specific change you have dealt with that had a positive outcome.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "As an inexperienced surgical assistant, I felt every clinical rotation had some type of significant change. With each rotation, I had to familiarize myself with a new facility, a new staff, and new work processes. I feel like these changes from rotation to rotation helped round me out as a new surgical assistant when entering the workforce and helped me gain a lot of great knowledge on how to be the best surgical first assistant I can be."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 10. Have you ever considered going to back to school to get a higher degree or to change career paths?

      How to Answer

      There are people who choose a career and later return to school. Some have the objective to get a higher degree in the same field or to change careers altogether. This question gives the interviewer an opportunity to know you and what your future plans may be. In turn, your answer allows the interviewer the chance to see where you may fit within the company now and in the future. If you have thoughts of continuing your education, don't be afraid to share that with the interviewer. Just remember to point out why you feel you would be an asset to the company now.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I am comfortable where I am, at this point, in my career. I have considered in years to come, when I am older, I may transition slightly into the realm of healthcare education. This way I could still be a part of the healthcare team and I could also educate those who are coming into the field after me. For now, though, I am very happy with what I am doing and really look forward to seeing where you think I will be the greatest asset here."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 11. What is one of your biggest weaknesses and what are you doing to improve in that area?

      How to Answer

      This is probably one of the most dreaded questions in a job interview. Answering this question requires self-evaluation and honesty. Remember, whatever weakness you decide to share, make sure it is not a key characteristic needed to perform your job as a blood bank lab technician.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "One of my weaknesses is that I often get nervous around people I don't know. I know we all do that to a certain degree, but for me, it has become something that I am aware of. I now try to attend social activities where I know there are going to be opportunities to meet new people so that I can overcome social anxiety."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 12. Have you ever felt it necessary to go to someone who is higher in the chain of command than your immediate supervisor to resolve or report an issue?

      How to Answer

      Following the chain of command is important when trying to run a facility, especially something as large as a hospital or other healthcare facility. Granted, there may be times when talking to your immediate supervisor may not be the best choice. The interviewer wants to know that you are 1. Capable of making a decision regarding when a situation should be escalated to someone with greater authority, and 2. Are you willing to try to work with your immediate superiors if possible? Remember to be tactful and show respect to your immediate supervisor, even if you feel the situation needs to go to someone higher in command.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I am happy to say that I have never been faced with a situation like that. Ideally, I would like to think that if a situation arises, even if it feels like a conflicting situation, that I would first attempt to talk directly with my supervisor before having to go to someone in higher management."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 13. What are some aspects of your specialty that make it unique compared to other specialties?

      How to Answer

      This question really gives the interviewer a chance to see what your personal thoughts are regarding being a surgical first assistant. There is really no right or wrong answer to this question. This is another opportunity for you to show what you thought was special about this specialty that led you to choose it as a career.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I am a new surgical first assistant; so I may not be qualified to make comparisons. I feel comfortable saying that I chose to work in surgery because I have a focused interest in how surgical interventions can improve both the quality and quantity of life for our patients. I also have a desire to assist patients in critical situations."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 14. What are some of the first things you'd like to accomplish if you are offered this position?

      How to Answer

      The way you answer this question could be potentially hazardous if you aren't careful. Of course, you don't want to be a slacker and say that you want to know where the break room is and check what your days off are going to be. Also, going in the completely opposite direction by stating changes you intend to make within the department could be a bad move, too. This is a time to focus on how you will fit into the company and department you are joining. So, the answer to this question should start with taking some time to learn culture and practices.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I am new to this profession and think it would be beneficial for me to get to know the surgical team I will be working with and learn from them. I would like to set some goals with my supervisor regarding things that he feels I should accomplish by a certain time."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I would be in on as many cases as possible and practice to obtain a skill level commensurate with what one would expect from a first assist. I want to get to know the staff and the OR team and see how they work. In my training, I found them invaluable; they always had tips for me, which helped me produce clear questions. Finally, I would like to have some benchmarks or goals set forth by the surgeons and myself."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      You have some nice targets in mind, and your response shows that you are looking ahead into this role and the wonderful goals you can accomplish. What will your approach be for getting to know the team and OR staff and how they work? Regarding the benchmarks and goals you mention, are you able to be more specific?

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 15. What sets you apart from other surgical first assistants, and why are you the best candidate for this job?

      How to Answer

      In most cases, more than one candidate is interviewed for a position before an offer of employment is made. This is your chance to tell the interviewer what makes you a better choice. However, remember that being confident and being conceited have a fine line of separation. Highlight your strengths, but remember to be humble.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I am passionate about learning more about laboratory technology and want to work in a place where I can stay for the long-term and become a strong part of a team. I believe my history of dependability and my drive to work hard will make me a great candidate for this position."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My connection to the patient population makes my passion for the speciality is unmatched. I want to be a part of the life-altering procedures that are performed through Crane. I want to be a valuable asset to the team, and I will do that by working hard to hone my skills. I am also interested in research, and I believe that could be accomplished here."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      You are passionate about your work, no doubt :) In this instance, it feels like you are answering a question more like, 'Why do you want to work here?' vs 'Why are you the best candidate?' When positioning yourself as the top candidate, I recommend focusing more on what you will offer the hiring company. I have a guide that touches on this topic and the idea of * What's in it for them * if they hire you. It's a crucial position to take when approaching this question. You can find the guide here: https://www.mockquestions.com/articles/How to Answer: Why Should We Hire You?/

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 16. Why did you choose a career as a surgical first assistant?

      How to Answer

      Interviewers almost always ask what caused you to be interested in the career you've chosen. It gives them an opportunity to see how you feel about the work you are doing and what made it stand out among so many career choices, as the right one for you. There is no right or wrong answer here; it's simply a way of opening the door to get to know you.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I have always been fascinated with the human body and how it works. Being a surgical assistant gives me the chance to be a part of 'setting things right,' so to speak. I get to assist surgeons and the rest of the surgical team as we try to repair things that aren't working correctly or take care of trauma related injuries that require surgical intervention. I absolutely love what I do!"

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "In PA school, I was about to head into my surgery rotation. The PA that worked with the surgeon had a reputation of a being a real hard guy. I was quite intimidated going in, but after observing the PA and his skill level, that intimidation changed to me having a strong desire to perform up to his standards. I wanted to emulate him. I quickly became enamored with how surgery was its own world right down to its own overhead paging and I was hooked. Before the end of my 6 weeks, I was closing and doing a phenomenal job. My surgeon commented that I had been hiding my talents under a bushel, a compliment I take much pride in. Surgery in all its facets are a perfect fit for me."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your story is very engaging, and I followed along with interest from the beginning to the end. Great work! It's clear that you have found your stride in the world of surgery :)

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 17. If you suspected a team member of having a hangover or being under the influence of other substances, what would your response be?

      How to Answer

      When faced with a situation where a co-worker may be affected by drugs or alcohol, it is important to remember that, patient safety is your responsibility. The interviewer wants to know that you take your job of protecting patients seriously, even if it means having to report a peer. If you have questions, it is always best to consult a supervisor, rather than leaving something questionable unaddressed and then having a patient injured.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I have never experienced anything like this, but if I did suspect a co-worker of drinking or using substances that made them appear unsafe, I would ask to speak privately with my supervisor and disclose my suspicions. It is always better to err on the side of caution and protect a patient than to overlook a potentially dangerous situation because you don't want a friend or co-worker to get into trouble."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Unfortunately, I have had this experience. My response was to inform the unit supervisor and our immediate supervisor. I would respond exactly the same and inform supervision. I would not confront the team member, but allow the supervisory team to address the situation."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It's unfortunate that you have faced this situation before; however, it's clear that you handled the situation with poise and professionalism. Your answer is solid and shows confidence.

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 18. Many healthcare workers report experiencing 'burn out' at some point in their careers. What do you do to help prevent this in your life?

      How to Answer

      Being a healthcare provider is a great responsibility. Unfortunately, because of the great responsibility, many providers do report experiencing the need to take a break. The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of handling stress and that you know when to ask for help.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I had a great mentor when I was in college. She told me if I didn't remember anything else she told me, that I should always remember to take care of myself. I have grown to understand what she meant. If we are bogged down physically and emotionally, it is easy to become overwhelmed and experience feeling burned out."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have a daily meditation practice and I journal. I keep myself physically fit, which also serves well as an anxiety/stress reliever. I also see a therapist regularly."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your stress management techniques all sound very good. I like that you show some vulnerability by discussing therapy. Therapy is an underutilized resource to help maintain the best mental health.

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 19. What kind of coworkers do you find difficult to work with?

      How to Answer

      Spelling out your pet peeves about someone could cause your resume' to be placed at the bottom of 'File 13.' On the other hand, claiming that you've never had any work conflicts in your career will get you disbelieving looks. When answering this question be sure to be tactful and if you must state something is difficult for you, including how you would handle that type of situation.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I'm one of those people who doesn't meet a stranger. Because I am so outgoing, I have found it difficult to work with people who never speak to others or who act like they just don't want to be bothered with someone else. On one hand, I do understand that feeling because the kind of work we do often makes us feel somewhat detached. I try to make myself available and always have a friendly attitude toward others so that they know I am approachable, rather than feeling like they need to be distanced from me. We are all a part of a team, after all."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am able to get along with a wide range of people. People who don't engage can make work a challenge. We may not be at work to make friends but what a bonus for the entire team if you are able to consider coworkers friends as well. As long as people pull their weight, personality differences or preferences are manageable."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good reply! Your answer highlights your collaborative side. You remain positive in your response, and it seems you are easy to get along with at work. It's clear that you are focused on delivering your work in a way that benefits your team.

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 20. What is an example of one of the most difficult cases you have ever worked?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer understands that every surgery is not an elective procedure and may be a more difficult situation than others. When you are asked a question like this during an interview, it is not necessarily because the interviewer wants to hear a story of a difficult time, but more likely that he is trying to see how well you cope with difficult situations. As always, remember to protect patient confidentiality when giving an answer.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I have only recently begun my career as a surgical first assistant and can't think of an unusually difficult case that I have personally assisted with. Of course, I have heard stories of difficult cases, such as people who experience the loss of a limb, or a stillbirth, but I have not yet worked any such case."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "While working in Pediatric Neurosurgery I observed a case where they discovered a large tumor that they were not going to be able to remove. That hit everyone present pretty hard, myself included."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      I can only imagine this would have been incredibly hard to handle. In your answer, it would be best if you could include details on how you managed your emotions during this time.

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 21. What is something about you that most people may not know?

      How to Answer

      Every interview question is not focused on the job title or qualifications only. An interviewer wants to get to know the person sitting in the chair across from him. There is more to you than a medical license and the interviewer appreciates that.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      Entry Level

      "Most people don't know that I am an avid bowler. I actually joined a bowling league my freshman year of college and have been bowling ever since. It is a great way to be involved with friends and it's good exercise, too."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I've played the saxophone since jr high and still do regularly."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Very cool! The interviewer may have some follow up questions such as what type of music you prefer to play on the saxophone? Does playing the saxophone benefit you in terms of dexterity, concentration, or discipline?

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 22. Have you ever been yelled at by a surgeon, and if so, how did you or how would you handle that situation?

      How to Answer

      Operating rooms can be very stressful places to work, especially during a critical case. Stressful situations sometimes bring out the worst in people, even doctors. The interviewer is looking for evidence that you are able to handle a stressful situation without contributing to it and causing the situation to escalate. This is important in any setting, but especially in a healthcare setting, such as a surgery room.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I've not yet had the displeasure of being yelled at by a surgeon. I know that working in surgery can be a very stressful area, but I try to treat others with respect and appreciate the same. If a surgeon were to yell at me, I would like to think that I could speak calmly and ask him to allow me to be of assistance so that we can focus on the care of our patient, which should be our common goal."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Of course I have. I was not assisting in a manner that the surgeon preferred, and he yelled at me about it. I apologized and asked for help. The OR can be stressful, soI find it is not good practice to take things said during a case personally."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It's terrific that you take this situation in stride and consider the environment vs. making it personal. Being yelled at could crush the average person; however, it's clear that you have the grit required to succeed in a high-stakes surgical environment.

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 23. How would you handle a situation if a family member was angry because of a poor surgical outcome regarding their loved one?

      How to Answer

      It is very important to remember that interviewers know what your scope of practice as a surgical first assistant is. While family members may come to you because they know you personally or because they knew you were part of the surgical team, it is not the surgical first assistant's job to address complaints or other issues directly with the patient or their family. The interviewer will ask this question to make sure you understand what you need to do if this situation should arise.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "Although I am new to being a surgical first assistant, I do know that complaints or conflict resolution should always be referred to a supervisor. Knowing that, if someone asks me for information or tries to address an issue of this sort with me, I will notify my supervisor of the request and allow it to be handled from a supervisory position."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "The family may misunderstand that my role as a first assist means that I also address their concerns about surgical outcomes. I would let the family know that while I am sorry that they are not satisfied, I am ultimately not the person they need to speak with, and I would inform my supervisor that they have concerns. I would encourage the family to share their concerns with that individual."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Excellent answer. You display a strong understanding of your role and the protocols in place to protect everyone involved in this hypothetical situation.

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 24. Has there ever been a time that you felt you should not participate in a specific surgery? If so, how did you handle the situation?

      How to Answer

      As a surgical first assistant, your job is to work hand in hand with the surgeon. An ideal situation would be to have all cases be ones that you feel comfortable with, whether it is morally, ethically, or within your scope of practice. However, if a situation were to arise that you caused you to feel like you should not assist, the interviewer wants to know that you could handle the situation professionally and without any risk to the patient.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 22nd, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "This has not been something I have faced. If it did happen I would immediately let my supervisor know that I was not comfortable and the reasons for my discomfort so that another first assist could replace me."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good approach! The interviewer should be happy to hear that you would listen to and respect your own boundaries if you found yourself in this situation.

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 25. Working in a surgical setting is often very stressful. What are some ways that you prepare yourself for potentially stressful situations?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer acknowledges the potential for stress in your job as a surgical first assistant. However, the question also shows that the interviewer expects you to be able to recognize and prepare for potentially stressful situations. Not everyone is 100% calm 100% of the time, but being able to recognize things that may cause tension or stress and having ways to help yourself deal is important, no matter what job you have.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I believe no matter what job we choose, there is always the potential for one day to be more stressful than another. I like to look at my schedule each morning and get a mental list of what cases we have scheduled so I can prepare myself for what my day should be like, without any emergencies. Taking little steps like that to prepare for the day helps me prevent feeling overwhelmed, which can occur from being ill-prepared."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have a morning routine that involves meditation, breathwork, and journaling. I also exercise 4-5 times per week. These are the crucial tools I use to deal with stress."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Excellent stress-management mechanisms. Your answer shows that you value self-care and wellness - good work!

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 26. Give me an example of an interesting surgical case that you assisted with.

      How to Answer

      This is part of the interview where you need to be very careful of your wording. Remember, it is ok to give an example of a case, but never give specifics such as a patient's name, what facility you were working in, or anything else that could be considered a breach of patient confidentiality.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "Although I was not actually the surgical first assistant on this case, one of the most interesting cases I have ever seen was a kidney transplant. I was still training and was given an opportunity to observe a transplant case. The things that can be accomplished in an operating room that can save or improve the quality of life for our patients is remarkable."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I was able to go to the OR to assist with a surgical procedure. What was most interesting was that the procedure was not as delicate as I had imagined it to be."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is fascinating, indeed! It sounds like you learned a lot from this experience, and it's clear that you have a great amount of curiosity and openness for career-based learning opportunities.

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 27. If you were working a case where a patient had signed consent, but just before being sedated, he stated to you that he doesn't think he wants the surgery, what would your response be?

      How to Answer

      This situation is one where legal issues should be weighed very carefully. Knowing how to make a judgment call is one thing; making a decision for a patient is something completely different. The interviewer wants to know that you are aware of your legal responsibilities in a case such as this and that you have the patient's best interest at heart.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "Entry Level: "If a patient appears unsure or states that he may have changed his mind about any procedure, invasive or not, that is something that I am obligated to tell my supervisor."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I would immediately advise the anesthesiologist and my surgeon. Signed consent is not a legally binding document; the patient has every right to change their mind."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a very confident answer, and it's great that you respond with zero hesitation. It's clear that you understand a patient's rights and take the correct steps to protect the individual in this situation.

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 28. Do you feel like you have strong relationship building skills?

      How to Answer

      Building strong relationships is essential for the success of any business. The healthcare industry is no exception, especially in concentrated areas like surgery, where most days you work with the same people. Share why you think you have good relationship building skills.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "I do feel like I have good relationship building skills. I like people and enjoy getting to know them."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Without a doubt. Not much is better than having a strong connection with your coworkers and the feeling of being a team. I enjoy getting to know people and sharing about myself, as well. I believe this helps to identify strengths and weaknesses of your team members, which is crucial ."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      You show a great amount of confidence, and you bring up some excellent points regarding the importance of relationship building. Nice answer!

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 29. What do you dislike most about being a surgical first assistant?

      How to Answer

      No matter what job a person has, there are things that we like and dislike. Remember to answer honestly, but cautiously. You don't want to say 'I don't like not being the surgeon.' You chose this career, and don't want it to look like you have regrets now. Try to make your answer be something that is something that interviewer could relate to whether he has worked as a surgical first assistant or not.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "The thing I dislike the most is that I don't get to spend one on one time with my patients and get to know them. I love what I do, but most of the time, my patients are either sedated or are being sedated by the time they get to me and they wake up in recovery when I am no longer with them."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I've spent a lot of time building rapport with patients and their families. I recall from my surgical rotation that I was able to speak with the patient just prior to their surgery and sometimes the next day. Very short interactions is the part of being a first assist that would be easy to dislike; however, being a part of the surgical treatment of so many will be a more than acceptable trade."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      If you are a person who thrives on longer-term relationships and interactions, this could certainly be a downside. Are there any actions you can put into place to alleviate this downside?

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 30. If you were scheduled to assist with a surgery, but had reason to believe that the surgeon was impaired and may be unsafe to perform surgery, what would you do?

      How to Answer

      Unfortunately, scenarios like this do happen in real life. The interviewer is not trying to trick you into being the bad guy, but rather wants to know that you are able to prioritize your patient's health over the feelings of a surgeon who is possibly impaired.

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      Entry Level

      "If I thought that a surgeon was impaired, I would ask if he is feeling well or if he is ok. If after talking to him I still felt like there was some reason that the surgeon may not be able to safely perform a procedure, I would immediately tell my supervisor. Overlooking something so as not to offend a co-worker, even someone with a higher rank than I, is something that I can be held accountable for, as well."

      Written by Darby Faubion on December 13th, 2018

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I would inform my supervisor of my concern right away. The safety of the patient comes first."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It's great that you have the confidence to do what is right, even if it meant going to the supervisor to discuss a colleagues' behavior. Good answer.

      Professional and User Answers Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view