PA School Interview Circuit 4

The following stations represent past PA school interview stations, with model answers written by PA school interviewers and interview specialists.

PA School Interview: Station 1

Station 1 Excellent Candidate Approach

You have woken up late for work, and only have time to complete 5 of the following 15 tasks that you would normally complete. Which of the 5 tasks would you choose to do before leaving home?

Hit  your alarm’s snooze button
Brush your teeth
Make your coffee
Have a shower
Iron your clothes
Get dressed
Have Breakfast
Make your bed
Drink a glass of water
Exercise
Make a to-do-list
Feed your pet
Check emails/messages
Call your mother
Call your best friend

‘BlackStone Tutors 5 Step Approach to Prioritisation Tasks’

  1. Review the options available
  2. Identify your 5 preferred items/the ideal order to complete the tasks
  3. Explain why you have chosen these options/this order (making your explanations as specific as possible to the task, eg. Why some tasks are ranked highly)
  4. Explain why you did not choose the other options/why they are ranked lower
  5. Possible further mentions:

                If additional item/options were permitted, I would also consider taking….
                Alternatively, if the task were based in ………….I would prioritise taking……….
 
​I would brush my teeth, have a shower, get dressed, drink a glass of water, and feed my pet
 

  • Brushing my teeth and having a shower are tasks that I would definitely choose to do because cleanliness is essential and cannot be compromised under any conditions.
  • There is no alternative to getting dressed and I would have to choose this task as well, but I would skip ironing my clothes and wear something that doesn’t need to be ironed instead. It is likely that I would have chosen to iron my clothes if I could choose more than 5 actions.
  • I would also drink water because I need to stay hydrated and I would otherwise feel lethargic given that there will be a delay in me having my breakfast and coffee. I wouldn’t have my breakfast and coffee because this is something that I can do after I leave my house.
  • Feeding my pet isn’t something that I can ignore. Although feeding it may take time, it would be irresponsible and cruel to leave my pet hungry at home just because I woke up late.
  • I wouldn’t hit the snooze button because I am already late and it isn’t something that would get me any positive results for my day’s progress, especially when I am already late.
  • Making my bed in the current scenario would be unnecessary because I can do that when I get back home without it negatively affecting myself or anyone else.
  • Exercising and making a to-do-list are also two tasks that aren’t urgent and hence I could skip exercises for a day and I can make a to-do-list en route to work or once I have reached my destination.
  • I wouldn’t check my emails or messages because similarly I can do that after I leave home. Although I would have chosen to quickly glance over my emails or messages if I had the option in order to make sure I haven’t missed anything personal or official that may require my urgent attention.
  • With regards to calling my mother and best friend, these are ‘luxury tasks’ which are not necessarily time sensitive and as such they can be completed later in the day when I am less time pressured, and I can allocate these important people the appropriate time.

PA School Interview: Station 2

Station 2 Excellent Candidate Approach

You are a PA and your current patient is Mrs Jones, who has attended for a scheduled 10 minute routine appointment. Mrs Jones has discussed three of her concerns, and the appointment has already taken 25 minutes, leaving your surgery delayed. Mrs Jones has stated that she has one further concern that she would like to discuss.
 
Explain what actions you would take in this scenario.

This case raises a challenging but likely common scenario faced in General Practice working as a PA. In managing this scenario, I need to weigh up the medical needs of Mrs Jones against the punctuality of my clinic and likely delay to subsequent patients.

I do not believe that a stock approach can be applied to all patients in this scenario and I feel that my likely actions would depend on the urgency and seriousness of Mrs Jones’ final concern. I would attempt to triage this promptly, and in the event that the concern was serious such as chest pain or shortness of breath, I would explore and manage this further. Contrastingly, if Mrs Jones had a non-acute concern, I would politely request her to arrange a further appointment at later date so that this matter can be addressed comprehensively.

In preventing future similar challenges, I would request that that reception staff arrange double appointments for patients with multiple concerns, as well as attempting to establish patients’ full range of concerns at the beginning of consultations so that important clinical matters are not neglected.

PA School Interview: Station 3

Station 3 Excellent Candidate Approach

Prepare a poster and a two minute presentation, demonstrating your attributes and explaining why you should be offered a place to study Physician Associate studies.

A prepared but natural approach, addressing the following areas:

  • Overview of presentation

‘Hello, my name is………………….and thank you very much for inviting me today. Over the next 2 minutes, I wish to inform you about some of my personal strengths, why I would like to study PA studies and in particular I would very much like to be a part of the University of…………………………’

  • Introduction to candidate’s strengths
  • Why PA and how these strengths relate to being a successful PA  
  • Why in particular candidate would like to study at the specified university
  • Concludes within specified time frame (aim to use up only 80% of the allocated time frame) to enable a soft natural approach, rather than a rushed approach. Bear in mind, this station is as much about how you say it, as what you say.
  • Professional, well presented poster.

PA School Interview: Station 4

​Station 4 Excellent Candidate Approach

A patient is to be given 660ml of a medication by intravenous infusion using a controller with a drip factor of 13 drops/ml. The medication is to be given over a 6 hour period. What would you set the drip rate to (to the nearest whole number)?


660ml needs to be given over 6 hours
110 ml needs to be given over 1 hour
 
110ml = 1,430 drops (per hour)
 
= 23.83 drops/minute
= 24 drops/minute (to the nearest whole number)

 

A nurse is administrating a drug to a patient that needs to be prepared intravenously. The drug has to be diluted into saline, with 3mg being diluted into 60ml of saline. 0.5mg of the drug is needed per 7 kilograms of the patient’s mass.
 
For a patient that weighs 84 kilograms, what volume of saline is needed.

60ml/3mg =20 ml saline per mg of drug
84kg/7kg =12 times the standard drug needed (0.5mg)
12×0.5 =6mg
6x20ml =120ml

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