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More StR interview questions

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These questions should give you a feel for the type of questions to expect in an interview. Do your research thoroughly, and remember a little local knowledge goes a long way. They have all been asked at interview…

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We have received many questions from past interviewees and have categorised the question areas for clarity. Please continue to send us your questions to help future candidates preparation.

 General
 Personal
 Audit and research
 CV/Career
 Management
 Teaching
 Training
 Clinical scenarios
 Controversial issues

General

  • What is the difference between an SHO and SpR?
  • What will be different about working as a SpR compared to now? (i.e. as an SHO)
  • What qualities make a good SpR?
  • Explain to a group of sixth formers what the anaesthetist’s job involves.
  • When you make a patient information leaflet using patient groups, do you think they self-select and are therefore not necessarily unbiased? What level do you pitch your information at? Which side do you lean towards: explaining in very simple terms or more detailed? How do you stop yourself from using medical parlance?
  • You are asked to review a journal.
  • Give a 5-minute presentation on “attitudes and behaviour: how would you like to be assessed?”
  • Give a 5-minute presentation on a topic of your own choice. (N.B. If you are using PowerPoint, remember also to take a few overhead projector transparencies, for backup.)
  • Give a 5-minute presentation on the resources needed for SpR training.
  • What skills do you think you need as a consultant? How do you ensure you acquire these skills?
  • What does the college tutor do? What are his/her roles, and what do they attend?
  • What are the roles of the College and Association?
  • What is the Deanery and what is its role?
  • Discuss the importance of having experience in other specialities for an anaesthetist.
  • Discuss the importance of computer skills. Can they be of use in anaesthesia?
  • What are your views on information technology and how it is going to affect us as anaesthetists?
  • Talk to radio listeners about anaesthesia.
  • What do you think about having non-medical anaesthetists? What are the advantages & disadvantages?
  • What do you think of nurse anaesthetists? (tip: look at NHS modernisation website and "New ways of Working [NWW])". Would you like to have an anaesthetic from a nurse anaesthetist? What problems are there with nurse anaesthetists?
  • When do you think Foundation year trainees should chose their speciality? What can we do to prevent them from dropping out of anaesthesia?
  • Why do trainees fail to complete their training?
  • What can we do to attract people to anaesthesia?
  • How do you think a blame-free culture can be brought about in the NHS?
  • Tell me about a paper you have read recently. What was the primary outcome?
  • What is the difference between the journals  Anaesthesia and the BJA?
  • If I gave you an unlimited amount of money and time, what would you change about any of your previous posts?

 

Personal

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Do you have any criticisms of yourself?
  • How would your best friend describe you?
  • Tell me about your career prior to this time?
  • What are you proud of about your career so far?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years' time? 
  • Why did you go into anaesthesia?
  • What is it about intensive care/pain/obstetric anaesthesia that interests you? Are there any aspects you don't like?
  • What do you have to offer us?
  • When would you be able to join us? (N.B. This a routine question and doesn't necessarily mean that you have got the job, so don't worry if they forget to ask you that!)
  • Do you think that every trainee should undertake to do a period of non-anaesthetic training?
  • Do you think you should be appraised by ODAs/nurses/midwives etc?
  • How should we measure the progress of trainees and consultants?
  • How do you keep yourself up to date in your practice?
  • Discuss a paper you have written.
  • Where did your interest in resuscitation start?
  • Why do you think you're ready for an SpR rotation?
  • Why should we offer you the post in front of the other candidates?
  • Why do you want to work in ......'whereverford'
  • What do you want from the SpR rotation?
  • What are your interests outside of medicine?
  • How would you balance extracurricular activities with being an SpR?
  • What experiences outside medicine have you found useful in your medical career?
  • What sort of hospital would you rather work in and why?
  • What will your previous employers remember you the most for?
  • Why have you chosen a career in anaesthetics?
  • What do you like about anaesthetics?
  • What do you do outside of medicine?
  • What does being a professional mean to you?

Audit and research

  • What is audit?
  • What makes a good audit?
  • What is the difference between research and audit?
  • Tell me about your audit ... do you have any experience in audit?
  • How did you go about your audit project?
  • What changes did your audit result in?
  • What were the outcomes, if any, and did you close the audit loop?
  • Do you think everyone should do audit?
  • Give an example of a good audit in your hospital which has changed the practice.
  • What national audits do you know of? Which ones have led to better patient care?
  • What are current national audits in progress?
  • What is your preferred audit? Discuss this audit, explaining how it made a change and the audit cycle.
  • What is research? Why is it important? If you have not carried out any research, why not?
  • Do you think that every trainee should undertake research?
  • Tell me about your current research interests.
  • Do you have any experience in research?
  • What do you think about research?
  • How do you go about setting up a research project? What role do academic anaesthesia departments play? Why are they important?
  • Do you think everyone should do research? If not, why not? If yes, why?
  • Findings of maternal morbid/mortal report
  • How would you perform an audit? What gold standard would you use?
  • Tell me about government targets and deadlines.

CV/Career

  • What are your career plans?
  • Do you feel you have any gaps in your CV/training/other things you would have liked to have done?
  • How can you improve your CV?
  • Why did you go into medicine? Did you want to become a physician or do you intend to become an intensivist?
  • What made you choose anaesthesia as a career?
  • Do you think that it is important to get experience outside of anaesthesia in other specialties? If so, what sort of things do you think are worthwhile?
  • What sort of things did you gain from you own experience outside anaesthesia?
  • Do you think it's important to keep an anaesthetic logbook and, if so, why?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Why haven't you done MRCP/DCH etc in your previous posts?
  • If a cardiac anaesthetist wants to change his sub-speciality to obstetrics, how can it be done?
  • How can we tell from your CV that you have initiative?
  • How did you go about preparing for your Primary FRCA exam? What resources did you use? What help did you seek from others?
  • What advice would you give to a colleague sitting for the Primary FRCA exam?
  • How do you differ when talking to different groups about medicine (i.e. how do you pitch medical jargon to patients?)?

Management

  • Do you think there should be protocols set down for calling in your consultant?
  • When did you last call your consultant in, and what for?
  • What's the difference between a protocol and a guideline?
  • What do you think about management issues? Do you think it is something we should be getting involved in as clinicians?
  • What is clinical effectiveness?
  • How to critique and grades of evidence.
  • What is evidence-based medicine? Cite examples in anaesthetics.
  • What do you think about/do you practice evidence-based medicine?
  • What level of evidence would change your practice? Describe one or two recent studies that have provided you with evidence to change your practice. What are the dangers of evidence-based medicine ?
  • What's the difference between assessment and appraisal?
  • How can one assess your attitudes? Who do you think can assess them? Is it a good idea to ask the ODA about your attitudes?
  • What's the difference between a teaching hospital and a DGH?
  • How do you deal with a difficult colleague? What do you do if you're having a dispute with another colleague/midwife etc? 
  • What do you understand by clinical governance (NOT the standard Donaldson definition)?
  • Who implements clinical governance?
  • How does clinical governance affect your everyday practice?
  • What practical steps do you take every day towards clinical governance in your work?
  • Discuss shift work and its effects on training.
  • What would you do if a member is not doing a good job?
  • What is meant by a team?
  • What are the qualities of a leader?
  • What are the qualities of a team?
  • What makes a good team or a bad team?
  • Give examples of teams that you are involved with at work.
  • Give example of good/bad team management.
  • Give examples of teamwork in the ITU environment.
  • What is team working? What makes a good team player? Give examples of team working inside and outside of medicine.
  • What would you do if you felt that a team member was not pulling their weight?
  • What do you do after clinical management of the incident?
  • What do you think of a sub-consultant anaesthetist grade?
  • The ODA in the next theatre runs into your theatre to say that their patient is not doing very well and that the anaesthetic SHO has lost his nerve and does not know what he is doing. How do you tackle the situation? 
  • A junior surgical SHO is performing an appendicectomy under your anaesthetic as an SpR. Half way through you realise that he is not competent to do it. What would you do?
  • How do you give informed consent? What methods of reinforcement do you use? When do you get consent? Is this appropriate? (i.e. one hour before the list)
  • If an SHO is not proficient at putting in a central line, how would you deal with this? If you witness or come upon the aftermath of a disastrous central line insertion by a medical SHO, how would you deal with that?
  • How would you deal with an SHO/SpR who is not getting on with those around him/her?
  • If your consultant is not following the guidelines set by RCOA and is causing hypothermia in his/her patients during surgery, how would you deal with this?
  • What is risk management? Give examples in anaesthetics.
  • If you were to be given the role of risk manager, how would you go about reducing risks in anaesthesia?
  • How do you manage risk in your practice?
  • What risk management strategies were you introduced to during your induction?
  • What is NICE?
  • What reports have you read by NICE that are relevant to anaesthetics?
  • Discuss any recent NICE recommendations you are aware of. What are the disadvantages of these recommendations?
  • How are management skills reflected in day-to-day anaesthetic practice?
  • How do you assess a trainee's competency for central venous cannulation?
  • You have transferred a patient who died immediately after the transfer. How will you prevent such an incident happening in the future?
  • You are to break bad news to the widow of a man who died a few minutes ago in theatre after a RTA. How do you do it?
  • What advice would you (as an SpR) give to an SHO with whom you are doing an anaesthetic on-call?
  • You are the ITU SpR on a 12-bedded unit with six ventilated and six non-ventilated patients. There is a fire in the hospital and the ITU is at risk - what do you do?
  • Should clinicians be involved in management decisions? If so, what role should they play?
  • What effect will the EWTD have on your training, and how should it be managed?
  • You are scheduled to do a cardio-thoracic list and you are contacted by the secretary to tell you that a colleague has called in sick and you must now go and do a dental day-case list. How would you handle this?
  • What do you think of multidisciplinary teams? Are they important?
  • What are the qualities of a good leader?
  • Tell me about a difficult scenario you have faced.
  • When did you last call your consultant in?
  • Have you been involved in a major obstetric haemorrhage? What is the role of an anaesthetist in this scenario?

Teaching

  • Do you have any teaching experience?
  • How do you teach?
  • Discuss some teaching you have done recently and what teaching method was involved.
  • How would you teach a group of SHOs to put in a CVP line?
  • What methods of teaching do you know? Discuss your teaching commitments and the courses you run.
  • Discuss any new teaching methods that you are aware of.
  • How would you go about teaching SHOs to manage anaphylaxis?
  • What is competency? How would you assess an SHO's competency in the management of anaphylaxis? If you found that an SHO was not competent, how would you handle this? What if this SHO was due to go onto the on-call rota that weekend?
  • What would you teach a group of medical SHOs in 30 minutes?

Training

  • Is there a case which sticks in your mind, and why?
  • What's the worst/best case you have managed?
  • What is the most interesting case you have seen?
  • Is there anything you have read recently which has changed your practice?
  • Has any recent incident in your practice made you change the way you practice?
  • What do you think of competency-based training? What are the pros and cons of this training method?
  • How do you continue to improve your knowledge throughout training?
  • What is CMED?
  • How can consultants and trainees do their CMED?
  • What is the most useful course you have been on and why?
  • Have you used e-learning?
  • How do you acquire paediatric skills and maintain them?
  • Have you done any ALS/ATLS/APLS courses etc?
  • Do you think that every trainee should undertake an ALS/ATLS/APLS course?
  • What is the difference between an assessment and an appraisal?
  • Who is the main beneficiary from appraisal?
  • How do you think the changes in service provision (e.g. independent sector treatment centres) will affect anaesthetic training?

Clinical scenarios

  • A difficult child is in the anaesthetic room with his mother. The mother doesn’t let you do anything. How do you manage the situation?
  • Explain to a mother the implications of performing a spinal and GA for LSCS.
  • In the resuscitation room, the girlfriend of the man being resuscitated is trying to get in your way. How do you tackle the situation?
  • Explain to a man with a chest infection that he can't have his elective hernia repair today.
  • Perform a role play of going to see a patient complaining of awareness.
  • Describe your clinical management of failed regional anaesthesia in Caesarean section in a obese patient.
  • Describe your clinical management of desaturation in a child undergoing appendicectomy (the child has aspirated and questions were related to the management).
  • What do you understand by the term "clinical risk management"?
  • How do you minimise the risk you present to patients?
  • Describe your management of a 15-year-old girl with a dental abscess, including your assessment, especially of the airway, potential methods to anaesthetise, and a description of how you would proceed with gaseous induction.
  • You are an SpR with a very junior SHO. You receive simultaneous calls to the labour ward for emergency LSCS for foetal distress and a 12-year-old head injury child needing intubation in A&E. How will you manage this, in terms of dividing the tasks between the SpR and the inexperienced SHO? What risks will be involved?
  • You are the anaesthetist on call and are asked to assess an otherwise healthy patient for drainage of a dental abscess. The patient has trismus, with the mouth opening 1 cm. Discuss the management of this patient.
  • You are the SpR on call in a new hospital. It is the weekend. You are supervising an SHO doing his first on-call. He has been passed as competent to be on call by the department but you have never worked with him before. How do you supervise his shift?
  • A 3-year-old child is brought to the anaesthetic room for elective foot surgery. The patient looked OK on the ward so is unpremedicated. He is now screaming and uncontrollable, and the mother is distressed. What do you do next?
  • After a death on the operating table due to penicillin allergy, who would you need to talk to, what would you say to the SHO responsible, and what would you say to the relatives?
  • A man has had two episodes of acute cholecystitis and is due for a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. On examination, you notice a systolic murmur and his ECG shows LVH. What are you going to tell him?
  • A 10-year-old presenting for appendicectomy is anaesthetised on the table, with no problems, when your SHO calls from the obstetric theatre asking for help with a failed intubation. What do you do?
  • A 5-year-old child presenting for tonsillectomy and a diabetic on a sliding scale are scheduled on your list for tomorrow. Who do you ask to go first?
  • You have a patient in A&E for transfer and no ODA, or ITU or A&E nurse available to go with you. What do you do? Would you settle for a paramedic crew?
  • A patient who tells you he has had anaesthetic problems is scheduled for theatre, and the surgeon is pressurising you to go to theatre immediately because of a 'nasty, ruptured appendix'. How do you manage this?
  • How do you manage this referral from antenatal clinic: a woman with a family history of anaesthetic problems (turns out 'been to Leeds' i.e. MH)? How would you manage a GA section for her, if needed?
  • Demonstrate a failed intubation drill.
  • Describe the pathway of a critical incident.

Controversial issues

Have pros and cons prepared for these.

  • As an SpR, you will often be in a position to have to call upon your consultant for advice or to come in; what sort of things would you call him/her for?
  • What do you think about nurse anaesthetists?
  • What do you think about allowing the relatives in to watch resuscitation?
  • What do you think about evidence-based medicine?
  • What do you think of consultants on call, resident?
  • What type of case would you call a consultant for?

Please send us your interview questions via our feedback page. Thank you!

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