Why become a doctor rather than a nurse or physiotherapist? Answer
Analysis It is important that you make a distinction between healthcare professionals and the role and qualities of a doctor. Try not to say anything too negative about other healthcare professionals but be sure to draw a wide distinction between their roles and the roles of a doctor. The qualities of a doctor can be found here.
Approach A good way to answer this question is to begin by outlining the key differences and then use a specific example from your work experience such as a nurse or physio asking a doctor for advice on further management of a patient. Below are a few key differences:
Ultimate responsibility lies with the doctor
Doctors train to use knowledge to make clinical decisions, which change patients’ lives
Consultants are seen as team leaders
Postgraduate training for doctors allows wide areas of specialization and acquisition of knowledge
Can become a surgeon, anaesthetist, GP etc and use acquired skills to greatly impact patient care
Doctors can affect teaching and research on a much larger scale
Example Answer Nurses and Physios often specialize in certain areas, run clinics and can prescribe or assess patients with extra training. The ultimate differences are leadership, responsibility, knowledge and practical skills. While specialist nurses can have similar roles to F1 doctors they cannot progress beyond this level and they have a limited role in decision-making regarding patient care.
PBL is a student-centered method of active learning in which students learn about a subject through the experience of problem solving.
In practical terms students are presented with a patient-centered case and work in groups to devise the most appropriate management options. A tutor acts in a support role to guide the group in their decision-making process and students are encouraged to work together and learn about management options.
Do you work better alone or as part of a team? Answer
Analysis: Interviewers are looking for appreciation of the difficulties and usefulness of working in teams compared to working alone. Your answer should state that you are able to work effectively in either a team or as an individual. Use examples of times you have worked alone and as part of a team and use the below summaries to reflect on the benefits of each.
Individual: Able to be your own boss Work to your own deadlines Aware of all parts of a project Minimises errors in communication No management of team members is required
Team: Work can be divided and reduced for each individual Collaboration and team spirit can make the project more enjoyable Opinions and views of team members can improve the final product Improves communication and team work skills Team members with different skills can be utilised
Explain the function of the heart to a group of primary school children. Answer
Analysis This questions is about breaking down complex medical information into bite-size chunks that are easy for non-medics to understand. It is a skill that doctors must possess when explaining complicated diagnoses and treatment to patients.
Approach Think about the level of the group to whom you are pitching your explanation. Start by asking them what they understand, this will help you to adjust your answer. Do not get too technical and use simple terms and analogies.
Example Answer "The heart is an organ of the body that pumps blood through tubes called arteries and veins so that blood reaches other body organs and tissues. The heart contains chambers and valves and is made of muscle that contracts in a rhythm to allow it to pump the blood..."
You have been asked to feed and keep an eye on your neighbours' cat while they are away on holiday. You have been busy and have not always fed the cat. The day before their return you notice that the cat is unwell. Explain to your neighbours what has happened. Answer
Analysis This is scenario is about breaking bad news and apologising for a mistake. Although the cat was in your care it is not directly your fault and it is important not to take on all the blame in this scenario. The actor may cry, become upset or get angry and blame you, if this is the case allow them time to gather themselves and do not be afraid to sit in silence while they compose themselves.
Approach Introduce yourself and explain what has happened Be honest and explain what has happened Apologise for not checking on the cat and feeding it regularly Show empathy and explain that you are sorry for what has happened Ask the neighbour if there is anything you can do to help Do not worry if the actor remains upset with you at the end of the scenario
Analysis: Interviewers want to know that you identify this as a patient safety issue but also This is a classic ethical question and has been the centre of pro-life versus choice campaigns for decades. There is no correct answer but interviewers are looking for a balanced argument.
If the foetus is >24 weeks abortion is illegal in the UK, the pro-life argument centres around the fact that there is a grey area surrounding when the foetus is deemed to be alive
The foetus does not have capacity to decide whether to live or die but should be given the opportunity to be born
Abortions can be detrimental to the mother conveying both medical and psychological trauma
Terminating a foetus may be seen as killing an innocent life
Making abortion illegal removes the mother's autonomy
Foetuses with chromosomal abnormalities may suffer if they reach birth adding to suffering for mother and child
Unplanned or unwanted children may have significant financial and psychological implications for the parents and child
Making abortion illegal may open up women to exploitation by back-street abortion clinics with high-rates of complications