Breaking Down PA School Interviews III

Q: Why do you want to be a Physician Assistant

  • What are they looking for?

    • That you have the ability to demonstrate understand about who PA’s are and what they do. Basically that you can distinguish between other health care professions.  Your response should delineate why PA and not another health care field. 
  • What to avoid:

    • “I always knew I wanted to practice medicine”.
      • This is a generic response and tells them nothing about why you want to be a PA.  This type of response suggests you lack knowledge about the PA profession, because if you don’t demonstrate that you have that knowledge they will assume you do not.
    • Anything that suggests you weren’t able to get in to medical school so you “settled” on being a PA
      • Believe it or not people do this and actually say it
      • I hope it goes without saying that this is a bad idea and I hope no one is going into the profession for this reason (FYI it’s more difficult by the numbers to get in to PA school)
      • Responses such as “I took the MCAT and couldn’t get a good score” or ” I don’t want to do residency” are well—not good
    • Speaking poorly of other professions
      • Saying you “want to be more than a nurse”– any type of negative connotation towards any other profession is a very bad idea.
  • What to say

    • For my answer I talked about my experience in as a therapist and how I realized although I loved how the profession allowed me to help others it offered a lot of short comings that I wished I could address.  I went on to discuss a particular incident that a teenage girl was asking questions about the medication she was taking for depression.  I knew the answer.  I had studied neuroscience, however if I would have explained this answer I would have technically been”out of my scope of practice”.  I wanted to be the person who was able to provide these types of answers, thus adding to the reasons I wanted to pursue the PA profession.
    • Moving laterally across specialties and being trained on a general medical model
    • Practicing medicine in a collaborative setting
    • Providing patient care on a comprehensive level
    • Talk about the difference you saw a physician assistant make in the life of a patient while you were shadowing
    • As always–be positive and genuine!

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