How Do I Prepare For A Physician Associate Interview

Advice & Insight From PA Application Specialists

​You should look at the specific guidance from the universities that you are applying to, as they will provide more detailed information on their interview format and process. However, there are certain high level principles that will remain the same no matter where you are interviewing. Good interview technique and solid preparation will take you most of the way – here are some overall principles and tips to make sure that you are on the right track.

​Research the University

Many students will become overly focused on preparing other aspects of their interview and forget that they are interviewing at a certain university. The university will want to select students that suit it, that will do well at its course, and will go on to represent it well in future. Bear this in mind, and set out to thoroughly research everything that you can to gain an upper hand. Firstly, research the type of interview that you will sit, and any extra components that it may have. Then research the course, how long it has been taught, and what might set it apart from other courses. What is your reason for wanting to study at this university? What is the university like outside of the course? Are there aspects of the course that are particularly well renowned here? Think about the city as well, and how it might fit into your extracurricular passions and interests. 

​Understand the Role

The role of Physician Associate is still very small in the UK. It therefore may be harder to find relevant work experience, to speak to many people in the field, or to get as many resources to read and study as it would be if you were looking to apply to an older path like Nursing. This gives you a good chance to set yourself apart. By working towards a thorough and detailed knowledge of the profession, what defines it exactly, which body regulates it (the General Medical Council has taken on the regulatory duties for both PAs and the small number of Anaesthetic Associates) and your exact motivation for wishing to work in it, you can begin to prepare clear answers for interview. From the FPA (Faculty of Physician Associates) site, a PA is defined as follows.

‘Someone who is: a new healthcare professional who, while not a doctor, works to the medical model, with the attitudes, skills and knowledge base to deliver holistic care and treatment within the general medical and/or general practice team under defined levels of supervision. The role is therefore designed to supplement the medical workforce, thereby improving patient access.

​Practice Ethical Questions

You should make sure that you are able to confidently handle a range of ethical questions. Whilst many may seem unanswerable, in reality you shouldn’t be seeking a strict answer. You should instead be aiming to show that you have an ability to consider both sides of a debate, weigh up information, and act on this information whilst showing empathy and professionalism to make a decision that is in patients’ best interests. Therefore, approach each ethical scenario slowly, and take time to reason through both sides of the argument. Then present your answer (try to use the major medical principles of autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice) clearly and note that it isn’t definitive, merely your take on a complex situation. 

Optimise Your Interview Performance

Learn the best interview strategies and practice with interview questions & model answers.

​Be Professional

You are interviewing for a place on a vocational course, meaning that your interviewer is looking for a future professional rather than just a good student. You should therefore take every opportunity to show yourself as professional. Make sure that you arrive on time, and are well prepared with all documents that you need, and know exactly where you need to be and when. You do not want to appear flustered or arrive at a waiting room when you should be moving from the waiting room to your interview. Dress professionally, as you would expect a physician associate to dress. Adopt confident and open body language during the interview, and make sure that you make good eye contact with your interviewer. A good way to sit is with your palms resting on each other in your lap. Smile at your interviewer and engage with them to show that you are interested and listening actively.

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How Do I Prepare For A Physician Associate Interview

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