We've had some great applicants this year. I'm continually amazed by the caliber of medical students considering our program. At some point I'll dedicate a post (or five) to all the great reasons why future family physicians should consider our program, but first I'd like to reflect on this year in interviewing.
I think I'm an okay interviewer. I have my standard list of questions I like to ask (which I'll get to later), but it's quite a challenge to balance all the conflicting goals - I need to asses if they'd make a good fit with our program, while probing their intellectual and emotional maturity, while putting them at ease. All within 20 minutes. It's quite the juggling act.
Some people are naturals at this. I am not. I just want to avoid awkward pauses.
Which brings me to my list questions. If you had the distinct pleasure (and how can it not be a pleasure) of having me as your interviewer for the PGY1 class for the O'Connor-San Jose Family Medicine Residency program you probably were asked a variation of one of these questions:
1. If you had a magic wand, what would you change about family medicine to make it more attractive to medical students?
When an interviewee answers 'money', I know they get it. If a student can't answer why the majority of their classmates chose to ignore your specialty, then they probably haven't been paying enough attention during medical school.
Bonus points: The student mentions the secret cabal known as the RUC.
2. Would you support independent practicing of nurse practitioners?
|Know what? None of us are wearing pants right now. |
That's right... you heard me.
Now lets start your interview.
I try to be opaque about my feelings on the subject. I don't wish to offend anyone who may have a spouse or a family member who is a PA or NP. I generally take the view that there's a lot in medicine and nursing that can be done by lesser trained (and less expensive) individuals. There are certainly things I do that can be done just as well by an NP, similarly I believe there are many nursing tasks that can be delegated to a medical assistant. Heck, if the data shows that it's safe and effective, let's forgo scope of practice restrictions and just hire some high school students to do our doctoring.
But I think this question gets at the very root of what it means to be a family doctor. Patients, nurses, our government (and even other doctors) are all telling us that our jobs can be done just as well by people with up to a fifth of our formal training. I want our residents to be advocates for our specialty. They should know the value we bring to patients and their families. And they should know what differentiates us from nurse practitioners.
Bonus points: They can tell me who many hours of clinical training a recent graduate from your average NP program has compared with a freshly minted family medicine grad. [Answer: 2.5-5k hours for NPs vs 20k hours for FPs]
3. What's the best part of the Affordable Care Act? What's the worst part?
At the very least, medical students should know what the ACA is and can give a one sentence summary. I get worried when they are unable to describe at least one good thing about the law. I'm not as worried when they can't come up with a negative... especially if they belong to AMSA. I kid. I kid.
Bonus points: When I ask the student who's going to take care of the 30 million newly insured patients, they look around the room and say, "You mean they expect us to take care of them?!" It works on so many levels.
So there you have it. For all you medical students applying in family medicine next year, study up... theses are high yield questions... and let's avoid those awkward pauses.