How to Ace Medical Ethical Questions During Interviews

Medical ethical questions are often the most challenging questions you could be asked during your interviews for medical school.

You shouldn’t answer an ethical question like “where do you see yourself in five years?” Or “What drives you?”

Fortunately, there are time-tested strategies you can employ to ace medical school interview ethical questions. With this guide, you’ll be fully prepared to answer any ethics-related issues that may come up during your med school interviews.

Cornerstones of Medical Ethics

Medical schools use interview questions about ethics to gauge an applicant’s capacity for moral deliberation. The interviewer will not assume that each candidate has the same “right” answer to a question posing a thorny ethical problem. Ensure that moral arguments support your solution.

Most people are aware of the four cornerstones of medical ethics, which are:

  • Beneficence(to do good)
  • Non-maleficence (to not harm)
  • Independence (recognition of the patient’s right to make decisions)
  • Justice(ensuring fairness)

When it comes to ethical dilemmas, you must show that you understand professionalism and ethics. Remember that your interviewer might not be seeking commentaries straight away.

When faced with an ethical conundrum, there may be more than one right way to act. Your interviewer is probably more interested in how well you grasp ethics than your views unless they state otherwise.

Medical Ethical Questions to Expect During an Interview

This article will discuss potential medical ethics interview questions and how to address them. Medical school interviews often focus on current events, so it’s crucial to keep informed.

Example 1:

“A cancer patient of 56 years of age has been undergoing chemotherapy for more than a year. There has been no improvement, and the patient is obviously in pain. The patient eventually requests physician-assisted suicide. “What do you do?”

The ethical quandary of euthanasia will likely surface in your school admissions interview. This discussion pits every primary moral principle against every other principle.

To practice beneficence is to do what is best for the sufferer, to alleviate their pain. The principle of non-maleficence commands us to avoid causing harm to the patient. Yet, this goes against beneficence and autonomy since doing so would violate patients’ right to decide for themselves.

Legal measures are the most accessible entry point for addressing this issue. Only a small number of nations and several states in the United States permit euthanasia. It’s possible that you can perform this surgery without committing a miscarriage of justice, depending on the location of your patient (the fourth pillar.)

After legality has been established, the patient’s mental alertness needs to be checked to see if they can make a rational decision. Keep your response focused on the technical procedure at hand, and unless specifically requested, refrain from offering your perspective.

Example 2:

You have a patient who is 14 years old. The patient admits to you that they engage in sexual activites, despite being underage. Do you discuss this with their parents even though doing so would violate patient-doctor confidentiality?

There are two primary considerations here. Nevertheless, you should think about the four cornerstones of morality.

In one sense, the patient’s wellbeing is in jeopardy because they are partaking in age-restricted activities that are against the law. But the patient has put their trust in you, and you don’t want to break that trust.

If you’re a doctor, you have a duty of beneficence to advocate for the treatment you think would benefit your patient the most. Here, that would entail recommending that the minor confides in their guardians about their sexual activity if they feel comfortable doing so.

Due to the potential for abuse, the young patient’s mental health is at stake. Doctors can counsel minors about birth control and sexual health without informing the parents. If the patient’s life is at risk, the parents or authorities may be notified, and the secret may be broken.

Tips for Studying Medical Ethics Exam Questions

Even if you can’t find out in advance what medical ethics questions you’ll be asked, there are things you can do to be ready. By reading the tips below, prepare for any ethical questions that may arise in your upcoming medical school interview.

1. Pay Attention to the Question

Take some time to formulate your answers in light of your reasoning. You are not expected to provide a comprehensive solution to a complex medical problem in such a short time. The interviewer wants to know how you react to a difficult moral situation.

Therefore, you should give comprehensive, expert, and well-considered replies. Because of the complexity of ethical concerns, you may need more time than usual to answer this question.

Maintain composure as you express your line of thinking using your understanding of medical ethics.

2. Master Your Knowledge of Medical Ethics

It would be best if you brushed up on your knowledge of medical ethics before going in for your interview. To demonstrate your preparedness, use terms like “consequentialism,” and “utilitarianism,” during your interview.

3. Practice with Sample Questions

To prepare for ethics questions, practice with sample questions. This can be done with a friend, a tutor, or even a member of your own family. It could be helpful to keep track of your responses, so they can be reviewed later for insight and development.

It’s essential to practice responding aloud to hypothetical ethical dilemmas as part of your study time. It’s not uncommon for candidates to feel worried or overwhelmed when confronted with ethical concerns during the interview process. If you’re nervous about your next interview, practicing answers aloud can help.

Wrapping Up

When responding to medical ethical questions, it’s essential to give a complete analysis in light of the four ethical pillars. As a doctor, you’ll face many difficult moral decisions throughout your career, including the kinds you might be questioned about in an interview.

However, you have already committed to becoming a doctor, so aim for perfection by learning, preparing, and working hard.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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