The University of Manchester PA Interview Questions

Advice & Insight From PA Application Specialists

General Interview Information

The University of Manchester requires that applicants hold, or are predicted, a 2.1 or above. The subject studied may be a life science (e.g. biomedical science, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, healthcare science) or an allied health profession (e.g. pharmacy, midwifery or nursing). Applicants with medical degrees are not accepted. Applicants who have not completed a medical or healthcare degree are also not accepted. All applicants must hold GCSE Maths and English at B or above. Per the university, ‘an understanding of the healthcare environment is essential. Work experience involving adults or children with illness or disability is therefore considered highly desirable.’

Applications are reviewed initially by academic criteria. They are then shortlisted for interview by a panel of academic staff members. This stage involves looking at the Non-Academic information Form (NAIF) which is a written form consisting of various questions that must be answered within a set word count. It can be seen as a shortened version of the personal statement.

Interview Format for Physician Associate Studies at the University of Manchester

The interview pre-screening will ensure that all candidates have academic potential, meaning that the interview is designed to assess the candidate’s wider ability, experience and interpersonal skills. The interview is a formal process with interviewers drawn from the university and clinical environments. There may also be patients, current PAS students and simulated patients. The interviews are designed to be as relaxed as possible, but some elements will be challenging and stressful, which is reflective of the career. You are encouraged to talk naturally about yourself in order to demonstrate who you are to the interviewers. The interview is an MMI (Multiple Mini Interview) made up of five stations. Each station is seven minutes long and is marked by a different interviewer. There is a two minute gap between stations. No information is provided in advance and there is no reading and writing component to any station.

Key Dates

Interviews are held between April and July for February entry.

Sample & Recent Interview Questions

Manchester provides a relatively detailed insight into what they are looking for from candidates, which gives us the structure below.

Experience in a role relevant to the work of a physician associate

  • What healthcare role, or roles, have you had thus far and how have they prepared you for working as a PA?
  • What volunteering roles have you taken on that have informed your desire to become a PA?
  • What have you found most surprising during your healthcare experience?
  • Tell me about how you have grown as a person whilst working in healthcare.
  • Using your experience in healthcare as a basis, what do you think will be the toughest part of being a PA?
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Team working

  • Do you find it easy to learn in a team? Why might this be so important here at Manchester’s PA studies program?
  • Do you find that you normally lead teams or play within them?
  • ‘Teamwork is the underpinning of patient care.’ To what extent do you agree with this statement?
  • Tell me about the MDT.
  • Describe one experience that shows your ability to lead.

Dealing with difficult situations

  • Please describe a tough situation that you had to face whilst working in healthcare.
  • How would you deal with an aggressive and difficult patient?
  • How would you approach breaking bad news to a patient?

Why do you want to be a physician associate?

  • Please describe the scope of practice of a physician assistant.
  • How does a PA differ from a Nurse Practitioner?
  • What is your understanding of the regulatory landscape of PAs in the UK currently>
  • Why are you interested in becoming a PA rather than an NP?
  • What do you think a normal week would look like for a PA?
  • Why did you not choose to study Medicine after finishing school?
  • What is a dependent practitioner?

Ethical and other issues

  • Please tell me about some of the most pressing challenges to the NHS currently.
  • Junior doctors famously went on strike in 2016. Do you believe that it is correct for healthcare workers to be able to go on strike?
  • Imagine that a consultant on your ward refuses to treat a patient who has caused their own illness. What are the issues with this standpoint?
  • Do you support a ban on smoking in public spaces?
  • Imagine that you find another PA student looking at confidential patient notes which do not relate to any patient in their care. How do you proceed?
  • Imagine that you find racist or sexist insults handwritten in another student’s workbook. A few days later, you find a student writing in another student’s workbook and realise immediately that they must be the guilty party. How do you proceed in this situation?

The University of Manchester PA Interview Questions

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