In addition to being asked to simulate an HPI with a standardized patient (If you don’t know what I am referencing see my last blog post here) a great number of programs are employing the MMI (multiple mini interviews) and also asking you to complete tasks. Sometimes odd tasks.
So, why are they doing this and what are they looking for in their candidates?
PA school is stressful. Interviews are stressful (no matter how you cut it). What better to do than to see how prospective students can react to a stressful situation. Sound familiar? Sure does, admissions committees are taking the concept of behavioral interviewing and making it a reality. The idea here is that if you can handle stress well during the interview, that behavior trait will transfer to PA school.
2. Common Courtesy
When you are stressed or someone corrects you, how do you react? During my time as a student ambassador, I saw prospective students literally freak out when they didn’t understand a task or someone wasn’t following their directives. Be kind and polite. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT freak out. This is a huge red flag to anyone (students, faculty, adjunct professors) evaluating you.
3. Innovative Thinking and Effort
So, you don’t remember all the cranial nerves or parts of the kidney or understand how to tell someone to suture. Don’t panic. Stay calm and try and dig deep for anything you can remember about the task they are presenting. If they give you 5 minutes to complete the task use that five minutes. If you’ve never explained to someone to suture think about basic principles that might be important. Its ok to say, “You know I’ve never done this before, but I’m going to do my best”. This says that you can take on challenge in a positive way. You might go on to say something like “I would think someone would need to wash their hands and create a clean environment to complete the procedure”. So, maybe you don’t know what “sterile field” or “breaking sterile field” means. Or the different types of sutures. But, maybe you can say ” Well, the type of wound might matter as to how someone sutures”. Keep it basic and simply TRY. I cannot stress enough, remain calm.
4. Following Directions
A large part of PA school is being able to follow directions, complete tasks on time and multitask. Programs want to know that you can complete a task they tell you to complete, in a specific manner.
5. Action Speaks Louder Than Words
You are what you do. History repeats itself. However you want to say it, y’all get what I mean. You are what you do (just like you are what you eat haha 🙂 Show them you can handle stress, be kind and follow directions. Don’t sweat it if you don’t know exactly what they are talking about, respond appropriately to the task and you will be just fine!