Medical School Interview · Feb. 21, 2018
How to Approach the Role Play Interview
So, you’re almost there with your medical school interview preparation. You’ve done all the research into the NHS you can, you have mastered ethical scenarios, your mind is bursting with facts you can now see in your dreams. And yet, after all this preparation, there’s still one tiny ounce of doubt in your mind, about one very popular station in Multi Mini Interview (MMI) circuits, you will have to face whether you like it or not: The role play interview station.
Why are role play interview stations so popular?
MMI role play scenarios
There is no unexpected role play station
1. Breaking bad news
2. Explaining a concept
3. Gathering information/comforting someone
How to approach each type of scenario?
Breaking bad news in a role play scenario
- Use phrases like ‘I can imagine how difficult this must be for you’
- Give a warning shot before delivering the bad news: ‘I am afraid I have some unfortunate news’
- Check if the setting is suitable for the role player and if they would like additional support from friends and family before you break the news.
Explaining a concept in a role play station
- Give the information in small chunks
- Regularly check if the patient understands
- Do not use medical jargon
- Ensure the role player has opportunities to ask questions throughout the role play
Gathering information/comforting someone
- I = IDEAS (What do you think?)
- C= CONCERNS (Is there anything that is particularly worrying you?)
- E = EXPECTATIONS (What would you like to happen after this/what can we do for you?).
Ask open questions and repeat some of the information given to show active listening skills. When comforting someone, ask questions to clarify their feelings but don’t compromise your values, duties as a doctor or ethical principles in the process! Instead, acknowledge their issues but respectfully show them a different perspective.
Before the role play interview
- Who is the scenario asking you to be?
- Where is the scenario taking place?
- What is the scenario asking you to do?
How do you score points?
- Always introduce yourself
- Unless it’s obvious that you should not from the scenario
- Ask for permission to speak
- ‘Is this a good time to talk?’
- Show you understand how the person or patient is feeling at the time
- Ask open questions
- Tell me more’
- ‘Can you expand on this?'
- Display non-verbal communication skills:
- Maintain eye contact with the role player at all times
- Nod your head
- Repeat words to show active listening skills
- Sit with an open and confident body posture
- Say thank you at the end of each role play situation
Get further practice and join our MMI Circuits
Dr Rony Sanyal
Dr Rony Sanyal is a 2nd year of GP training. He attended Leicester Medical School and spent one year on the interview panel at Nottingham University. He also established and ran Situational Judgement Test courses in Birmingham and Nottingham. He is theMSAG's Online Interview Course Manager.