How to Approach Residency Scenario-Based Questions
Medical Residency Application & Interview Preparation Specialists
Here we’ll take a quick look at how to approach situational-style questions that you might encounter in a Residency interview. These kinds of questions will be familiar to you from having sat the CASPer in the past, although they may now have a more overtly clinical focus. The keys to success here are having a particular approach that works for you and is tried-and-tested, having practised this approach enough, and understanding what you’re being asked – or, in other words, what attributes you will be expected to show.
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Have a clear strategy
This is the first element to success. The following is a sensible strategy that will allow you to deal with most ‘in-person’ scenarios or situations.
– Speak to the other party in private, at a sensible time that doesn’t inconvenience them
– Use open questions and allow them to explain the situation / explain themselves / etc
– Ensure that you consider the background and context of the situation and explore this appropriately
– Ensure that you are empathetic and professional throughout
– Check-in with the other party whilst you talk and ensure both that you are understanding them, and that they are understanding you
– Progress to a solution that makes sense, and check this solution with them
– If necessary, speak to a senior figure to ensure that the actions you have taken are correct
Taking the steps above, this might mean an answer along the lines of, ‘I would speak to the nurse in private, if she wasn’t too busy at that point. I would make sure that no priority clinical tasks were being left undone due to our conversation. I would then ask her open questions to better understand the situation – this would allow her to explain why she was being rude, or if there had been a misunderstanding. Even if she became rude or aggressive to me too, I would remain calm and professional. I would explore whether she was alright in general, or if something in the background was affecting her professional life. I would then… etc.’ In other words, you should create a formula that works for you, and then follow it for all of these (very common) in-person situations.
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Focus on the core competency or attribute being assessed
You are a PGY-1. Your attending has come to work very hungover, and seemingly still a little inebriated. He looks dishevelled. He has a significant number of patients to see on the morning ward round. How would you deal with this situation?
You are a PGY-1 here. In your first few weeks you noticed that you were feeling a little out of your depth, and this hasn’t improved since. You’ve put off doing some important procedures and left them to others to do, as you felt worried that you wouldn’t be able to carry them out to a high enough standard. How would you continue in this situation?
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