Top 25 Physician Assistant Interview Questions and Answers 2024

Editorial Team

Physician Assistant Interview Questions & Answers

To emerge as the best candidate in your next physician assistant interview, you need to prepare adequately. A great way to do that is to familiarize yourself with the commonly asked questions. Below are the top 25 physician assistant interview questions together with sample answers.

1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?

My skill set and experience match the requirements for this job. In particular, my ability to examine patients effectively and medicine prescription knowledge make me the right candidate for this position. Besides, I have always longed to work in this hospital. You have a reputation for offering excellent medical services. In addition, you offer a good working environment and opportunities for career growth. I believe I have what it takes to contribute effectively toward the achievement of your vision and mission. Working here will offer me the opportunity to service and enhance my skills and knowledge in the field.

2. What Are The Roles Of A Physician Assistant?

The roles performed by a physician assistant can vary from one hospital to another. Nonetheless, these roles mainly involve interviewing and examining patients to determine the exact condition or problem. Some cases require a physician assistant to order diagnostic tests. Following a successful diagnosis of the problem at hand, he or she prescribes the right medication. Physician assistants counsel and educate patients including suggesting necessary lifestyle changes. During surgical operations, they assist in activities such as setting bones and stitching wounds. They also administer immunizations and provide necessary patient documentation to insurance firms.

3. What Are The Qualities That A Physician Assistant Need To Be Successful?

The work of a physician assistant is quite challenging as it involves handling different kinds of people and situations while conforming to some set codes. Several qualities make physician assistants very successful in their work. A physician assistant should be a go-getter and make things happen. He or she should be flexible and be able to adapt to different situations and settings. One needs to be able to easily relate with physicians, technicians, nurses, and other physician assistants. Moreover, good communication, conflict resolution, presentation, and patient/customer care skills are indispensable in this role.

4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?

During my previous role, I faced some cultural and language barriers while working in a neighboring country. A majority of the people in the community could only speak and understand their local language. In addition, their beliefs were mainly influenced by their customs and traditions. As a result, working in that setting as an expatriate physician assistant proved really difficult in the beginning. Subsequently, I wrote to the management requesting them to hire interpreters. They acted on the matter swiftly and hired two interpreters within two days. From that point going forward, I was able to serve patients effectively.

5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Physician Assistant?

Typically, my daily routine includes prescribing medication, updating and reviewing patient medical histories, conducting diagnostic tests concerning illnesses and injuries, interviewing patients, and discussing healthcare matters with them. In addition, I develop treatment plans, treat patients, and conduct health outreach programs such as visiting nursing homes. I also assist physicians to perform different activities and operations in surgical rooms.

6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience?

I have worked in this role for more than five years. I have been involved in providing different services including recording patient history as well as conducting physical examinations. In my previous role, one of my main roles was to order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. These tests included electrocardiograms, x-rays, and more. I am well-versed in analyzing information, interviewing patients, diagnosing different conditions, and medical prescriptions. In the past, I have assisted physicians in surgery operations and even performed certain procedures. With my experience, I am confident that I can effectively perform the roles of this position.

7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Are Required For This Role?

A physician assistant needs to have some stress reduction strategies to manage stress in the workplace. Taking a mental break or taking some time out to come down and gather thoughts are effective tactics. One can relieve stress simply by taking a few minute breaks. Talking to colleagues is another important strategy that a physician assistant needs to employ particularly when they need assistance or help. It is an easy way to discover solutions from those who have encountered a similar challenge. Then, it’s very important to have a job-focused mentality. This mindset helps one to easily adapt to their working environment as well as stay on task every time.  

8. What Is The Biggest Challenge You Foresee In This Job?

Handling annoyed patients is a huge challenge that I expect in the course of my service. These kinds of clients are really hard to control. They are often unruly. But I will leverage my problem-solving and conflict resolution skills whenever a client gets irritated. I will make sure to find out the root cause. If the patient didn’t understand a process, I will sit down with them and explain it in a manner they will understand. If they are unsatisfied, I will let them know how we work and why we offered the kind of service that they received. Ultimately, I will seek to come down the annoyed patients and address every situation professionally.

9. How Do You Stay Motivated At Work?

I read a lot about the developments happening in the field. I always seek to know what other physician assistants are doing differently in their stations. When I encounter challenges, I share them with my coworkers. If I don’t get a solution, I search online to know how professionals from other places have handled a similar situation. Reading about physician assistants who went above and beyond their roles to make a difference as well as finding solutions to everyday challenges inspires a lot. Also, I am motivated by encouragement from other professionals in the field.

10. Describe A Time You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned?

After I started working as a physician assistant, I was tasked with preparing documentation for a patient who sought a transfer to another health facility. Unfortunately, I failed to include details about the diagnostic tests we had conducted on her. So, she had to bear the cost of conducting the test again at the destination hospital. A month later after she got well, she passed by my station. She complained a lot stating that we held her documents and made her incur lots of costs. I owned the mistake and apologized to her. I learned to always be keen on details.

11. Why Do You Feel You Are Qualified For This Role?

I possess the academic background, skills, and expertise you are looking for. In particular, I graduated with a master’s degree in physician assistant education five years from an accredited institution. I have worked in a similar role for over four years and my license is valid. Besides, I have exceptional communication, problem-solving, and analytical skills. Given a chance, I will treat patients with the empathy and compassion they deserve.

12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement

In my last role, two patients came to me. They had gone to many health facilities in the country. Sadly, their conditions had been diagnosed wrongly time and time again. I interviewed them at length before ordering a series of tests. Then, I analyzed a couple of tests together, and eventually, I was able to detect the root cause of their problems. Consequently, I prescribed the right medication and successfully treated their conditions. This case stands out among several other treatment successes I have had in the course of my service.

13. If You Witness Abuse Towards A Patient  How Would You Handle The Situation?

If I witness a patient being abused or disrespected by a colleague, I would try to stop the abusive behavior and calm the situation. After the situation has calmed down, I would report the matter to my supervisor and fill out the incident report. Regularly, I will ensure to check in with the patient to help them become comfortable. My patients are my priority, and I always want to maintain their health and safety.

14. Describe The Technique You Use When Performing A Physical Assessment

When conducting a physical assessment, I use four techniques including observation, palpation, percussion, and auscultation. However, when conducting an abdominal assessment, I begin with observing, followed by auscultating, then percuss and lastly I palpate the abdomen. This is because percussion and palpation may alter bowel sounds.

15. Highlight Instances When You Can Order A Patient To Conduct X-Ray

I would request an x-ray to help me diagnose, monitor as well as treat many medical conditions. The purpose of requesting an x-ray is to view the inside of the patient’s body without making an incision. Some of the instances that I  would request a patient to perform an x-ray when I want to check for bone deformities, detect bone injuries, verify healing of bones, and verify healing after surgical implants, etc

16. What Would You Do To A Patient Who Refuses To Take Medication

I would calmly talk to the patient to understand the reason for not taking medication. If there is a real underlying problem, I would address it or direct the patient accordingly. Then, I would make the patient understand the reason for taking medication and why it is necessary for his/her health and well-being. With that understanding, I would encourage the patient to take medication and do follow up.

17. How Would You Handle A Situation Where A Patient Is Not Disclosing Important Information

I have encountered such patients. I once had a patient who was complaining about stomach pains. She had been accompanied by her husband. Each time I asked her a question, she would look at her husband before answering it. I realized that she wasn’t comfortable and since I needed her honest input to provide the right diagnosis, I requested the husband to excuse us so that we could have a private examination. In the absence of her husband, she told me everything that I needed to confirm. I realized what the problem was and provided proper care.

18. Sometimes, A Patient May Require A Lot Of Your Time Yet You Have Other Patients On Waiting. What Would You Do In Such A Situation?

This has happened many times in course of working as a physician assistant.  Recently, I had one whose condition seemed to worsen on a hectic day. Before attending to him, I first identified if there were life-threatening conditions in the hospital unit, and prioritized those. On the other hand, this patient had high fevers. I ordered a blood test on him and I ensured that his vitals were stable. Then, I tasked team members with obtaining blood cultures and administered time-sensitive treatments like insulin or antibiotics. Then we took care of the other needs like toileting or patients’ appointments.

19. How Do You Motivate Uncooperative Patients?

Regardless of the situation, I always maintain a positive attitude. In my opinion, being hostile to a patient only makes a patient become more defensive. I always ensure that I have eliminated confusion when handling an uncooperative patient. Over the years, I have discovered that patients are argumentative if they fail to understand what is being asked of them. No matter the situation, I explain the diagnosis, treatment procedures, and patients in a language the patient can easily understand.”

20. What Is Intramuscular Muscle Injection And When Do You Use It?

An intramuscular (IM) injection is a shot that delivers medication into a muscle.I use this injection when I am administering certain drugs and vaccines. I prefer using IM injection when I am not able to locate an appropriate vein and when I discover that a particular drug would vex the veins. I would also use this shot if I discover that the digestive system would depict pills as ineffective.

21. Describe How You Administer I’m Injection

When taking an IM injection,

  • I take a long needle that can get into the muscle
  • Identify the area to inject such as the Fatty area of the thigh or outer aspect of the upper arm
  • Insert the needle at a 90-degree angle to the skin with a quick thrust as I retain pressure on the skin around the site I am injecting using my thumb and index finger.
  • I do not do aspirations while performing the shot

22. In Your Opinion, Why Is It Important To Offer Patient Education?

I believe that patient education is an important aspect of healthcare practice due to the following reasons:

  • A patient education program reduces the provider’s liability
  • Patient education  upholds patient-centered care
  • It increases adherence to treatment and medication
  • The program makes patients to be attracted to the health providers as well as increases their satisfaction with the care they receive
  • The program ensures continuity of healthcare which help to decrease complication linked to the illness
  • The program increases compliance hence leading to a cost-effective and more efficient healthcare delivery system

23. What Process Would You Go Through If A Patient Requests The Release Of Their Medical Information?

I have gained a lot of experience in assisting patients to get their treatment records. However, the release of the medical record will depend on the system being used in a facility. For instance, the EMR system allows patients to gain access to their medical reports in person or online. A patient fills out their identification information on an official form to verify their request. In some cases, patients are required to pay for the processing costs. As a physician assistant, it’s my responsibility to refer patients to a medical records clerk for further assistance.

24. What Do You Do To Handle The Stresses Of Working As Physician Assistant?

I work well under pressure and I rarely get overwhelmed by pressure. I understand the potential stress of this position and I incorporate stress-reducing techniques into my life. I spend 30 minutes in the morning planning my day to keep myself organized. I also exercise every evening. I have also learned on managing my emotions that can emanate from seeing how patients suffer from illness. This way, I can keep my stress level down.

25. How Would Your Supervisor Describe You?

I think my supervisor would refer to me as honest, empathetic, and organized. I’m empathetic and I care so much about my patients and their well-being. I’m organized and I keep spreadsheets for all my job. I am honest in my decisions as well as provide opinions to my co-worker whenever they ask me anything.


These questions give you a snapshot of what to expect in a physician assistant interview. Use these questions and answers to prepare adequately for your next interview. You simply need to demonstrate to the interviewer that you have relevant knowledge and skills by answering every question correctly.