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Psychiatrist Interview Questions

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  1. As a psychiatrist, how would you treat a patient with depression? See answer
  2. How would you help a patient who is in distress? See answer
  3. How would you approach the care of patients who have multiple mental health issues? See answer
  4. What would you do if you disagreed with another psychiatrist about a patient’s care? See answer
  5. What would you do if a patient disagreed with your diagnosis or refused treatment? See answer
  6. How do you determine which type of medication to use when there are multiple options that treat the same condition? See answer
  7. You might meet with patients during both relaxed and tumultuous times of their life. Do you have experience communicating with patients while they’re experiencing psychosis?
  8. As a psychiatrist, you’ll have regular standing appointments with people that need mental health support. What would you do if a high-risk patient suddenly stopped showing up to their appointments with you and their therapist?
  9. If you thought a patient was ready to start transitioning away from a certain medication, how would you approach the subject with them?
  10. Do you have experience applying for samples from pharmaceutical companies and assessing the costs of various medications for your patients so you can prescribe an affordable solution?
  11. How do you stay up-to-date on updates in the DSM and other developments in psychiatric medicine?
  12. Are you comfortable working with court-ordered clients who see a psychiatrist as part of a mandated treatment plan?
  13. What is your process for performing an initial psychiatric assessment for someone who has no previous diagnosis?
  14. How do you diagnose patients with communication and cognition barriers?
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6 Psychiatrist Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

As a psychiatrist, how would you treat a patient with depression?

A:

Depression is one of the most common mental health issues that psychiatrists treat. This question helps you evaluate whether this particular psychiatrist would treat depression and other common mental health concerns in an effective manner. You’ll learn his or her views on particular medications and types of psychotherapy, and you’ll be able to decide whether the applicant’s approach is something that would suit the clients at your practice.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Understanding of the latest medications/psychotherapy approaches
  • Treatment approach that would benefit your patients
  • Warm, positive approach to patient care

Example:

“I would tailor the treatment to the patient’s needs. For some patients, I’d suggest just psychotherapy, and I’d use both medications and psychotherapy for others.”

Q:

How would you help a patient who is in distress?

A:

This question helps you evaluate whether the psychiatrist candidate has the necessary professionalism, empathy and warmth to help patients who can be extremely vulnerable. You’ll learn what types of patients and conditions this candidate may be best at treating, and you’ll be able to ascertain whether the applicant would be able to retain patients and attract new ones to your practice. You may also learn how quickly the candidate psychiatrist builds patient trust.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to be empathetic and professional
  • Ability to treat conditions commonly seen at your practice
  • Potential to attract new patients

Example:

”I’d help patients calm down, listening to their needs. I’d propose practical solutions and let the patients know that they aren’t alone.”

Q:

How would you approach the care of patients who have multiple mental health issues?

A:

Many patients have several mental health conditions at one time, and this question lets you evaluate whether the candidate has the necessary training and experience to treat patients with these kinds of complex needs. You’ll learn how the psychiatrist makes choices about which conditions/symptoms to prioritize, and you’ll also learn how he or she might adapt or combine different counseling techniques to treat multiple conditions.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Appropriate experience with complex mental health conditions/needs
  • Ability to prioritize the patient’s most urgent needs
  • Ability to combine different treatments

Example:

“I would evaluate which condition might be affecting the patient most severely and treat this first. I’d use medication, individual and couples/family therapy as needed.”

Q:

What would you do if you disagreed with another psychiatrist about a patient’s care?

A:

This question helps you evaluate whether the candidate would be a team player. You’ll learn how he or she might interact with other members of staff and whether the candidate has the capacity to prevent and resolve conflicts respectfully, effectively and independently. You’ll be able to determine much about the applicant’s work ethic, attitude and professionalism and decide if the psychiatrist would be a match with your existing team.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Appropriate knowledge of conflict resolution strategies
  • Ability to work well within your team
  • Ability to admit mistakes and collaborate effectively

Example:

“I’d try to understand my colleague’s point of view and collaborate to arrive at a solution in the patient’s best interest.”

Q:

What would you do if a patient disagreed with your diagnosis or refused treatment?

A:

Many patients that a psychiatrist sees may not be able to accept that they need help, and this question helps you understand whether the applicant can effectively and respectfully handle this situation. You’ll learn whether the candidate is able to propose alternative treatment methods for the patient and whether he or she is too forceful when recommending treatments for patients. You’ll discover whether the psychiatrist is dedicated to trying multiple treatments.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Willingness to try multiple treatments
  • Ability to clearly and compassionately explain various treatments
  • Dedication to patients with complex health needs

Example:

“I’d listen to the patient’s concerns and try to offer as many treatment options as I could. I’d respect the patient’s right to refuse treatment.”

Q:

How do you determine which type of medication to use when there are multiple options that treat the same condition?

A:

There are many pharmaceutical companies that offer different medications to address the same symptoms or disorders. Some people have to try multiple different psychiatric medications before they find one that suits their needs, so psychiatrists should be thoughtful when using medication in their treatment plan. A strong candidate should understand the importance of knowing a patient's medical history and common outcomes of different medications, then apply that knowledge to each nuanced situation.

Strong answers may include these elements:

  • An example situation with multiple medication options
  • Ability to listen to patient needs
  • Flexibility and adaptability

Here is one possible reply:

Example:

"Even though many medications target the same illness, they won't all be equally effective with every patient. I try to consider the side effects of each prescription, considering past outcomes when I prescribed medications to other patients. For example, nausea and loss of appetite is a common side effect of many medications used to treat bipolar disorder. If I had a client who had an eating disorder, a common co-morbidity of bipolar disorder, I would specifically look for an option that had fewer instances of nausea as a side effect to help support their holistic healing."

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