Vox alio, Vox locus, Vox vicis


Hey, one of the MA’s we trained where I work has an interview later this month. The title of this blog post tells you in Latin what you need to be to ace the interview. I abbreviate it, V4AL, in English I have always called it R3P2T (R cubed, P squared T). What is it? I will tell you later. At the end of this maybe or maybe in the audio. HEY! Stay right there and read! You will have your turn and you want to be R3P2T when you interview. Now I am going to tell you how, then I will tell you what the words mean.



You know that station. Everybody and I do mean everybody is listening to it. Yeah, EVERYBODY! It is the station with the most listeners. It is station ……….

What’s In It For Me! WII FM! The faculty when you interview for PA school are listening to that station. They want to know what you are going to do for them and their program. Are you going to bring good attention to it? Is your career going to be one they are proud of?  Or, will we read about you in the news for losing your license due to greed, drugs, alcohol or sex?  Those 4 are the only reasons.  They are trying to see if you can cut it and will be a good mix. Will you be an uplifter, or are you just listening to WII FM and no other stations.

They know you want to be a PA. You don’t have to convince them. They want to know if you are a real person, open, honest, someone patients will confide in, someone who will keep on learning after the classroom. You have a few hours to convince them your are better than the other person they interviewed for the seat. In the 100tips section here we give you tips about what to do from the time you decide to apply until you are accepted. I am not going to go into those, I am going to tell you how to have a good interview.

No Throw away Questions

In any interview, for PA school, for PA jobs, there are no throw away questions. How are You? Did you have trouble finding us? What so you think of the campus? What was the last movie you saw? or the last book you read? What do you do with your time off? Those are not pleasantries. Those are testing your attitude, your ability to follow directions, whether you are a critical person etc… They reveal that you have a life away from school and that you are well rounded.

What about the Program?

In your portfolio you should have a copy of the mission statement of the program. Here is one programs mission statement.

The mission of the Physician Assistant Program is to prepare and educate physician assistants to provide quality medical care in a competent, compassionate, and ethical manner. In addition, the department promotes research and academic endeavors which contribute to the advancement of knowledge and the education of fellow professionals as well as community service.

Here is that same programs vision statement:

The Physician Assistant Program will prepare and educate physician assistants to provide comprehensive quality health care to all, and to serve as academic and professional leaders of the physician assistant profession.

And here is the plan for implementing the vision:

1. Encouraging physician assistants to function as a patient advocate and as an integral member of the medical team to meet the health care needs of all.

2. Promoting research and academic achievements as a process of professional self-study and renewal.

3. Providing and encouraging continuing education for physician assistants at all levels of training and experience.

4. Promoting community service to meet educational and health care needs of the community.

5. Developing state and national leaders to serve the physician assistant profession.

You want to be a PA. You know the federal funds mandate the programs to produce primary care providers. You have written one essay and maybe two that they have.  Did you say anything in your essays related to the mission or vision of this program?

Here are somethings you probably said in some form in your essays:

  • I want to be a PA (and not anything else)
  • I like people
  • I want to be autonomous in delivering patient care.
  • I know PA’s from my personal health, shadowing, medical experience and I like what I saw.

They want PA’s to be Patient Advocates, to speak up for the patient with the medical team/community – you prepare a sound bite that may answer the question of why you want to be a PA that says …..and I want to help patients make good sick care and health care decisions. I want to be a guide for them.

They want and the profession needs people to do research to show how PA’s deliver care effectively and cost efficiently. If you have some research experience in your back ground, you might add something like …. I know we need data to prove where PA’s do well and how to utilize them effectively in various situations. I would like to be part of that research effort where ever I go as a PA.

They want to develop PA Leaders. Maybe you were in leadership positions in college like class president, or you network well or have worked on committees to develop legislation then a sound bite might sound like…. My background of networking and committee work on blank project will help me, after school, to find places on state PA society committees to serve the profession with in my state and as a liason to the national level.

You should expect some questions that are behavioral – How have you resolved a conflict with a co-worker? Tell about a situation where a patient complained to you. What did they say and what did you do?  Tell about a mistake you made and what you did when you realized it? What would you do if you knew a classmate cheated on an exam? Do a little research on behavioral interview questions on line. YouTube has some good videos. I post a few of them on my Squidoo.com lens called Interview Tips for the Physician Assistant.

You should remember that you are in the interview the entire time you are on campus. You are on a tour with a student, they are deciding if you are someone they want in the program. You are sitting in a cubical alone. Some programs have cameras installed to see what you do when left alone. Some people looked good but did dumb stuff when they thought no one was watching.

Ready for the interpretation of the title to this post?

Right Person, Right Place, Right Time, R3P2T

What do you want to ask me or tell me? The comment section is below.

Categories : Pre-PA HS, Pre-PA Univ

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