A common PA school interview question that stumps many well-intentioned PA school interviewees is "Why did you choose PA over NP?"
This is a classic question that you must be prepared to answer.
Do you have an answer?
How to answer the PA vs. NP interview question without being offensive
Here is a clip from one of our recent mock interviews. It provides the perfect foundation on which you can construct your answer to this question.
"I took a pathway in healthcare that has led me to the PA track. It is a natural progression for me. I have a strong biology background, and I love the diagnostic aspect of medicine. The medical model inspires me, and I want to learn from that. I also work with PAs and NPs, and I understand the value of both of them, and I know what great clinicians they both are. But for me, I feel that I don't have that extensive RN training going into this, and I feel like the benefit of the PA training for me is that it offers a broader clinical foundation if I don't have the nursing background to draw from. It will provide me with extra clinical rotations and a more extensive generalist foundation in medicine that I am looking for at this point."
Tips to answering this question like a pro
- Talk about training because that's where PA stands out the most.
- Don't belittle the NP profession or focus too much on the medical versus nursing model. Be diplomatic, as in the example above.
- Remember becoming a nurse is no longer a prerequisite to becoming an NP due to all the direct-entry programs out there one technically earns an RN during the first year of many accelerated 3-year NP programs; one doesn't ever practice as an RN on the way to becoming an NP.
- Avoid overused catchphrases such as lateral mobility of flexibility in practice. Although there may be truth to this, it's not a good place to focus your time and attention.
- Make sure to mention prior experiences you have had with PAs and NPs so that the ADCOMS know that you understand the differences and can make an insightful comparison.
Practice makes perfect
Don't show up for your interview, hoping for the best. Practice your answers to this question with a friend or schedule a mock interview to practice answering under pressure.
View all posts in this series
- My PA School Interview: The Journey of a Lifetime
- The Top 46 Physician Assistant Applicant Interview Questions
- Use this Interview Hack to Get The Physician Assistant Job of Your Dreams!
- The Physician Assistant Job or PA School Interview – Email Etiquette
- The Physician Assistant Interview: Thank You and Follow-up (With Sample)
- A Look Inside Two PA School Interviews
- 5 Things I’ve Learned Going Into My Fourth Physician Assistant Application Cycle
- 300 PA School Interview Questions You Should Be Ready to Answer
- PA School Mock Interviews: Prepare with a Live, Recorded Video Interview
- Mock Physician Assistant School Interview With Taylor Hill Pre-PA
- Mock PA School Interview With Pre-PA Lily Boyle
- The Interview That Got This Pre-PA Into 5 PA Schools
- 101 PA School Applicants Answer: What’s Your Greatest Strength?
- Mastering Your PA School Interview: Tone Matters
- The Worst PA School Interview Question Ever!
- Why Choose PA Over NP? Here’s the Perfect Answer
- Don’t Make This Critical PA School Interview Mistake!
- 5 Best Ways to Give a Memorable PA School Interview
- 3 Things to Do the Night Before Your PA School Interview
- How to Prepare for the PA School Interview Day Essay