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Practice Interview Question Thread

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kotoloper

Member
A close friend in one of your university classes tells you that his mother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. He feels overwhelmed by his studies and is considering dropping his courses to spend more time with his mother. How do you counsel your friend?

hey guys, had another go at an MMI question. Any feedback is appreciated :) Thanks in advance!

Firstly, I would assure him that it is justifiable that he is feeling overwhelmed and stress and it’s okay to feel this way after hearing such difficult news. I would ask him in what areas of university does he feel so overwhelmed with that he wants to drop out. Is it that we are nearing exams or are there several deadlines to meet. Or it could be that after hearing the news, he has been so busy with his mum that he has fallen behind on uni work and needs catching up to do. If these or anything similar is an issue, we can come up with a plan to tackle specific issues. This would include suggesting him to to and openly communicate with the faculty that he is having issues in his personal life and he needs extra support. If he feels uncomfortable, I would offer to help him and communicate for him. Maybe the faculty could give him a small break or push back his deadlines so he could spend more time with his mother without worrying about uni work. If he has the opportunity, I would suggest him to plan out what he wants and needs to do with mother to work around this issue and move forward. This may be planning what days he would spend time with her and there may appointments they need to attend. It would also be useful to know whether he has any family or family friends that would be willing to support his mother that could reduce his responsibilities so he can focus on university work.

My friend could get in touch with support groups that would be willing to guide his mother and provide her information about breast cancer. This could possibly save him time from researching or continuously asking for help and in this way, he can spend more time on uni work.

There is a possibility that my friend could be struggling to understand the course content and in that case I would definitely offer some sort of assistance whether it be explaining a few concepts or doing a normal group study session that could give him confidence.

Overall, I would once again reassure my friend that we can work through this together by breaking down everything into smaller aspects and working through them. I would suggest him to reflect again about his decisions and not necessarily take rash decisions such as dropping out of his uni course because there is a way out that would help him balance his uni work and personal responsibilities.
Disclaimer: year 12 student
I really like everything you've brought up honestly, I might be a bit useless from hereon out. Here's just a few points I noted when reading:
  • Universities offer a lot of support services, so make sure to mention that he can always go to them for help!
  • Remind your friend that his state of mind and mental health is extremely important! He’s feeling overwhelmed and stressed and facing a heavy emotional burden - I think you should emphasise to him that you are there to help or be an outlet for ranting, always there to listen, etc.
  • Along with the support groups, also just online forums like these which can connect the friend and his mother to whole communities which offer advice and support :)
  • Responsibilities generally include going along to doctor appointments, making food, taking care of them when they experience side effects - if he is the only available person in his family to undertake these responsibilities, he’s gonna need to stay with his mother a lot of the time - you’ve mentioned reaching out to family or family friends which is good, but if there’s no one, consider the implications - of course, I’m sure the university can offer support and has procedures to try to accommodate when students have to transition into being a primary carer
 

N182

Regular Member
A close friend in one of your university classes tells you that his mother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. He feels overwhelmed by his studies and is considering dropping his courses to spend more time with his mother. How do you counsel your friend?

hey guys, had another go at an MMI question. Any feedback is appreciated :) Thanks in advance!

Firstly, I would assure him that it is justifiable that he is feeling overwhelmed and stress and it’s okay to feel this way after hearing such difficult news. I would ask him in what areas of university does he feel so overwhelmed with that he wants to drop out. Is it that we are nearing exams or are there several deadlines to meet. Or it could be that after hearing the news, he has been so busy with his mum that he has fallen behind on uni work and needs catching up to do. If these or anything similar is an issue, we can come up with a plan to tackle specific issues. This would include suggesting him to to and openly communicate with the faculty that he is having issues in his personal life and he needs extra support. If he feels uncomfortable, I would offer to help him and communicate for him. Maybe the faculty could give him a small break or push back his deadlines so he could spend more time with his mother without worrying about uni work. If he has the opportunity, I would suggest him to plan out what he wants and needs to do with mother to work around this issue and move forward. This may be planning what days he would spend time with her and there may appointments they need to attend. It would also be useful to know whether he has any family or family friends that would be willing to support his mother that could reduce his responsibilities so he can focus on university work.


My friend could get in touch with support groups that would be willing to guide his mother and provide her information about breast cancer. This could possibly save him time from researching or continuously asking for help and in this way, he can spend more time on uni work.

There is a possibility that my friend could be struggling to understand the course content and in that case I would definitely offer some sort of assistance whether it be explaining a few concepts or doing a normal group study session that could give him confidence.

Overall, I would once again reassure my friend that we can work through this together by breaking down everything into smaller aspects and working through them. I would suggest him to reflect again about his decisions and not necessarily take rash decisions such as dropping out of his uni course because there is a way out that would help him balance his uni work and personal responsibilities.
Disclamer another med applicant.

Overall I like that you very concisely addressed a multitude of issues (something I'm still working on haha).

1.I think one aspect you can expand on is exactly 'how' you will counsel your friend, will you have a soft tone or loud tone when talking to him? What about your body language and non-verbal ques etc.

2. You talk very practically about the next course of action to take as well as hearing your friends problems, however I think you can expand on the more emotional side. Ask him how he is feeling, does he feel depressed, lost, etc. Sometimes it's better to just listen to all the things your friend is saying in silence. This could lead you to talk about active listening etc. You kind of touch on this at the start by saying it's justifiable to feel this 'way' but expand on what exactly he feels

3.For support groups you again talk very practically regarding university (which is good) but you could also discuss emotional support groups relating to depression and coping with bad news etc. (of course you would only bring this up with your friend if he shows very clear signs of depression or outright admits to it).

(woops Kotoloper beat me to it).
 

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cocodreams

Regular Member
Disclamer another med applicant.

Overall I like that you very concisely addressed a multitude of issues (something I'm still working on haha).

1.I think one aspect you can expand on is exactly 'how' you will counsel your friend, will you have a soft tone or loud tone when talking to him? What about your body language and non-verbal ques etc.

2. You talk very practically about the next course of action to take as well as hearing your friends problems, however I think you can expand on the more emotional side. Ask him how he is feeling, does he feel depressed, lost, etc. Sometimes it's better to just listen to all the things your friend is saying in silence. This could lead you to talk about active listening etc. You kind of touch on this at the start by saying it's justifiable to feel this 'way' but expand on what exactly he feels

3.For support groups you again talk very practically regarding university (which is good) but you could also discuss emotional support groups relating to depression and coping with bad news etc. (of course you would only bring this up with your friend if he shows very clear signs of depression or outright admits to it).

(woops Kotoloper beat me to it).
Yes! I think I should have mentioned about emotional side and depression - maybe I was being a bit more practical/thinking about the future. Thank you :)

Disclaimer: year 12 student
I really like everything you've brought up honestly, I might be a bit useless from hereon out. Here's just a few points I noted when reading:
  • Universities offer a lot of support services, so make sure to mention that he can always go to them for help!
  • Remind your friend that his state of mind and mental health is extremely important! He’s feeling overwhelmed and stressed and facing a heavy emotional burden - I think you should emphasise to him that you are there to help or be an outlet for ranting, always there to listen, etc.
  • Along with the support groups, also just online forums like these which can connect the friend and his mother to whole communities which offer advice and support :)
  • Responsibilities generally include going along to doctor appointments, making food, taking care of them when they experience side effects - if he is the only available person in his family to undertake these responsibilities, he’s gonna need to stay with his mother a lot of the time - you’ve mentioned reaching out to family or family friends which is good, but if there’s no one, consider the implications - of course, I’m sure the university can offer support and has procedures to try to accommodate when students have to transition into being a primary carer
Thank you! That's some really helpful feedback, especially with the support services :)
 

kotoloper

Member
Disclaimer: first time answering an interview question publicly, school leaver

Due to the shortage of doctors in rural and Aboriginal communities, it has been suggested that graduate medical programs preferentially admit bonded students who are willing to commit to a 1-year tenure in an under-serviced rural area upon completion of fellowship. Consider and comment on the broad implications of this policy for health and health care costs.

On the subject of this applying for graduate medical programs (as opposed to, I assume, undergraduate medical programs):
I think that a graduate medical student, being several years older than their comparable undergraduate counterparts, would have more life experience under their belt and be able to consider more wisely for themselves whether they are willing to commit to such a tenure. They may already have experience working away from their families, friends, and other support networks in the past, or have already relocated for their undergraduate degree, thus they are likely to have a better idea of whether this is an arrangement that would work for them or not. However, they would be several years older than a student who went through medical school by the undergraduate route, and by the time that they are subject to the tenure they may have a partner, children, older family members who they need to care for, etc, so this might not be a feasible lifestyle.

On the subject of preferential admission for these students:
This policy has some similarities to the Bonded Medical Places that are currently already in place (however I believe bonded students are not necessarily preferentially admitted, but they would get a place over students of similar academic/interview performance who did not stipulate that they would accept a bonded position). I have some reservations over the idea of preferentially admitting students who are willing to undertake this tenure, as I feel that it could be a bit predatory on those who are desperate to attend medical school and become doctors, as they may say that they are willing to undertake the tenure but afterwards face significant difficulties as doctors. (Actually I was not sure how to address this part of the question, can someone please give advice?)

On the subject of a 1-year tenure:
A 1-year tenure may be too short to have much of an impact on health in rural areas. There is already evidence of high attrition rates for medical professionals in rural communities, as well as a general under-serving of these areas. A 1-year tenure, especially if the doctor had no further plans to continue practising here, could mean that a certain area gets a different doctor every single year, arriving with little knowledge of the healthcare issues in that area, having to take over an entire caseload, and then leaving after only one year and transferring that caseload over to the next 1-year tenure doctor. While this could mean that certain areas could have a doctor, there are negative aspects to such a high turnover of doctors such as poor patient care and lack of good follow-up and preventative medicine being practised.

On the subject of this being after the completion of fellowship:
This is a big problem in this policy for me. Having to undergo a 1-year tenure after the completion of fellowship has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that the doctor has already practised for a few years and is experienced to some extent, so the quality of patient care would be better. They may also already have some experience working in a rural and under-served area However, the big disadvantage is that the imposition of this policy indirectly assumes that a doctor entering medical school (even as a graduate!) has a good idea of what they want to practise after graduation and internship/PGY-x years. This is not true as many students will be exposed to a huge variety of fields in medicine during their time in school, and have varied clinical experiences that hopefully can inform them as to what type of doctor they want to be in the future. However, having to practise in a rural under-served area will restrict the speciality they can go into in the future, as there are simply not the resources in these areas for some specialities. Another issue is that a doctor who has completed fellowship might cost much more to hire than a more junior one, and there are already issues with patients not being able to afford expensive medical care in a rural under-served area, so the patients might not be able to afford to see a doctor even if one is around.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a rural doctor?
Advantages:
- Variety of cases/patients
- Practise very independently
- You can develop a good relationship with your patients
- Rural lifestyle which may appeal to some

Disadvantages:
- Large patient population if you're the only doctor around for a great distance and they have no other option but to see you
- Independent practise can be a blessing but also a curse - you won't have as much support from more senior colleagues
- Lack of resources in these areas which can affect effectiveness of practise
- Likelihood of always being on call (as, again, people have no other option but to see you)
- Isolation from support networks


Do you think the approach will be effective and if so, at what expense? Discuss this issue with the interviewer.
I do not think that the approach will be as effective as hoped. Firstly, the 1-year tenure may be too short as it may be difficult after the 1-year tenure to convince the doctor to stay in this rural under-served area, and the turnover rate will be very high, thus affecting patient care and health outcomes. Secondly, making this 1-year tenure happen after fellowship might limit what specialities the future doctor can go into, which might dissuade graduate students from utilising this program particularly as they do not know what speciality they want to go into at the beginning/when applying to medical school. Finally, there is the issue of age, where graduate-entry medical students might not want to commit to such a tenure when at the age that they would have to do the tenure, they may have families to look after so it would not be ideal to have to move to an under-served rural community.

How would you improve the retention rate of doctors who train in rural areas?
- Increase the amount of resources (medical, financial, support services) available in rural areas. Not only will this support doctors more, but it will also lead to better healthcare outcomes in rural areas
- More publicity about the benefits of working in a rural area to medical students
- More clinical exposure so they have more experience working in these rural areas
Ultimately however it will be difficult to retain doctors in rural areas if they continue to be under-served as doctors will find they are not always able to provide the necessary care due to lack of resources, and due to the lack of support for doctors who work in these areas.
Disclaimer: year 12 student. Everything you've mentioned is great! Again, just a few things that came to mind - particularly, make sure you're hitting all points of the question!
  • On the topic of the preferential admission; students may not have the ability to commit to a 1 year tenure due to external factors such as family circumstances, economic factors, etc - this could discourage prospective students from applying who otherwise would’ve. Yeah I’m not too sure either haha. That being said, a graduate medical degree is 4 years, and things can change in that time!
  • Disadvantages also include a heavy burden on the sole doctor - we’ve had a question about this in the previous pages, you should take a read through - being the only doctor in a rural town can lead to overwhelming emotional and even physical stress; consider the doctor too!
  • Remember that this is a discuss question and therefore you should look at both the advantages and disadvantages - you’ve done the latter quite well, but neglected the former.
    • I.e. There are an abundance of rural areas which lack proper medical care and personnel - having one doctor, even just for a year, can have positive implications for the health of the town
  • When you say more publicity, this kinda sounds like you’re advertising rural areas - I’m imagining a bright sign with ‘COME WORK HERE’, which could potentially be deceiving. I think it should be more about education and of course exposure so that medical students are more willing to experience practicing in a rural area - of course, this is just my two cents
  • Also note the the question has asked about the implications of this policy on health care costs, which you’ve rarely talked about - off the top of my head I have nothing in my brain currently to contribute to this but just something to talk about
 

kotoloper

Member
My first MMI scenario, any feedback from anyone is appreciated (no matter how harsh).

A large portion of road accidents are caused by young drivers. A new idea is to image people's brains and only allow people to drive once their brains have matured.

a) Why do you think young drivers have a higher tendency to cause accidents?

There are a multitude of reasons why young drivers have a higher tendency to cause accidents as opposed to older drivers.
1. Lack of Experience- One of the more obvious reasons is young drivers are typically on the road for much less time than older drivers thus have less experience in handling high-pressure situations as well as general control of the car and not remembering or being used to road rule, all of which can contribute to accidents.
2. Social Factors- Many young drivers drive with their friends. Simple actions such as talking, playing games etc. can distract the driver of the car significantly where they pay less attention to the road and more attention to their friends. Also many teens may engage in reckless driving resulting from immaturity such as speeding or quick turns, as a way to 'impress' their friends and in most cases this reason coupled with a lack of experience can cause major accidents.
3. Alcohol use- For a skill such as driving where hand-eye co-ordination and awareness are a must drinking alcohol can be detrimental to road users. Generally teens and adolescents are prone to impulsive behaviour hence are more likely to drink and drive without considering the many life risking consequences this may have.
4. Night Driving- Again driving requires constant awareness of other cars, obstacles and traffic lights road signs etc. Less experienced drivers are more prone to missing these things especially in low light conditions where visibility isn't clear.

b) What do you think of the idea above?
I will assume in my response that all the neccesary science and research on determining how a brain could be rigorously defined as 'mature,' has been completed.
Positives:
- By only allowing people whose brains have developed to drive this pretty much counteracts the reasons for accidents mentioned before relating to immaturity of young drivers. This includes abstaining from drink-driving (e.g.. taking public transport instead of driving after drinking), and avoiding risky or impulsive behaviour.
-Not engaging in risky-behaviour also indirectly counteracts reasons relating to lack of experience. Rational drivers will try their best to avoid high pressure situations. For example a fresh P-plater could opt to take a road other than the motorway until they build more confidence driving by themselves, despite taking longer to reach the destination. Whereas a more impulsive person would opt to take the motorway knowing the risks simply to arrive at their destination sooner.

Negatives:
Most of the negatives for this idea include practicality and implementation.
Cost- Having to image EVERY upcoming road user would cost millions of dollars per year in Australia alone. Assuming individuals would have to pay this would greatly discourage upcoming drivers especially if their brain hasn't fully developed in which case they may need to do many of these expensive scans to obtain their drivers license. If the government pays for or partly pays for these scans, this will result in large amounts of government debt which could be spent on other causes.
Strain on Radiologists and Healthcare System- Having thousands of upcoming drivers come in for scans will lead to radiologists being overloaded with brain imaging. This can be problematic as individuals who may need a brain scan for medical reasons may be put on a waiting list or simply told to go to another clinic. Furthermore Doctors must intepret the scan which can greatly strain the healthcare system.
Time-Now if medical patients were given preference to upcoming drivers, then it might take weeks or months to simply get a learner licenses as the Doctor would give less preference to diagnose the image. Of course if medical patients were given the same amount of preference this could lead to less health-outcomes in patients which would also be detrimental.
Uncertainity- Since this is a new idea it is likely that very little research has been done to determine whether this idea would significantly reduce road accidents hence it would be a risk to compromise the health care system for a chance to reduce road accidents.

Overall whilst this idea seems appealing on paper and may reduce road accidents, the cost of implementating this idea would be too much with an uncertain outcome hence wouldn't be practical in my opinion.


c) What can parents do to help young drivers?
In my opinion parents are one of the most important means of support for young drivers, and can greatly reduce behaviour which could result in an accident.
1. Many young drivers imitate their parents driving hence it is crucial parents practice safe and respectful driving. Parents simply driving safetly behaviour can lead to upcoming drivers subconsciously trying to avoid any altercations or risky behaviour.
2. Also many parents are the first to teach their children how to drive. This is an opportunity to correctly teach new drivers existing road rules and overall safe behaviour when driving. Any new rules that have been changed from when the parents were driving should be learnt to ensure the driver has the most up to date knowledge of road rules. Parent's can also teach things which cannot be learnt theoretically and must be learnt hands on. For example giving way to a reckless driver trying to merging despite 'right of way.' It is also imperative that parents are calm and don't cause unnecessary stress.
2. Parents can also set 'ground rules,' for when the young driver can drive and also the amount of passengers they are allowed to take, once they are an independant driver. This can vary from driver to driver and also how mature they are. At the same time parent's musn't be too forceful as this may seem as 'controlling,' which itself may lead to reckless behaviour.

d) What are ways you could reduce the death toll?
Whilst I previously stated that imaging every upcoming driver is unpractical I believe similar ideas to this that are less costly can greatly reduce the death toll. The driving test could include more scenarios such as:
1. During the driving test simulate high-pressure scenarios in a safe environment. For example in a closed circuit simulate a rude or disrepectful driver and gauge the reaction of the driving student. This can allow examiners to assess the 'maturity,' of the driver and how they would react to that scenario.
2. Add a low light section of driving test (again in a safe environment). This allows examiners to guage the awareness of drivers much better than the current test.
3. In regards to drink-driving, the government could make it a law to have a breathalyzer built into cars such that only alcohol levels below the threshold will start the car. Again this idea could be very costly and impractical hence simply having more breath-tests (especially during the night) could be a more viable alternative.
4. Education- I believe it should be mandatory to attend regular road safety lessons and seminars before getting a learner license, as this will ensure drivers are practicing safe driving from day one.

Sidenote: I feel most of the ideas I have for 4 have already been implemented so went with some more daring answers. Is it a good idea to just say what has already been implemented or should I go with some other ideas like I have done here?

Also felt like I rambled on a bit too much how do I make my answer more concise?
Disclaimer: year 12 student whose brain is starting to fade after reading all these responses
I don't think you've rambled at all - remember that these prompts will go on for like 8 minutes and I think that it's great how in-depth you went and how many points you brought up! Below is just my brain vomit. I think everyone's doing amazing - keep it up!
  • In the lack of experience point I think you could just expand a little more here - I’ve recently started to learn how to drive (on my L’s) and let me tell you changing lanes is the scariest thing that I’ve ever had to do. Driving requires a lot of multitasking and hand-eye coordination - young and inexperienced drivers (like me) do not have the situational awareness that experienced drivers do, and could miss things such as speed limit signs, looking in mirrors when parking/changing lanes, etc. I don’t know how in-depth you could go but maybe just a little more expansion would be awesome!
  • Also phone distractions is a big one - young drivers are probably more likely to respond to texts and social media and stuff like that, especially in this age of technology
  • I think that along with your alcohol point you could also mention the other big causes of accidents on roads - sleep deprivation, drug use, etc - young drivers include students who may not get enough sleep due to study, teenagers who participate in recreational drugs as a social activity, etc.
  • A matured brain does not equate to experience - if we only allow people whose brains have matured to drive, they are still going to face the aforementioned issue of lack of experience, maybe just wanna mention
  • With a negative this is just my point of view but don’t young people need to have the experience of doing things that ‘adults’ are able to do? Just because our brains haven’t matured yet doesn’t mean we don’t have the capability to take responsibility for our actions. Lots of research suggest that most people don’t reach full maturity until like 25 - if a lot of individuals can’t drive until then, this can have huge implications for convenience in terms of their travel, if they’re not close to public transport or live extremely far away from the main cities.
 

N182

Regular Member
Disclaimer: year 12 student whose brain is starting to fade after reading all these responses
I don't think you've rambled at all - remember that these prompts will go on for like 8 minutes and I think that it's great how in-depth you went and how many points you brought up! Below is just my brain vomit. I think everyone's doing amazing - keep it up!
  • In the lack of experience point I think you could just expand a little more here - I’ve recently started to learn how to drive (on my L’s) and let me tell you changing lanes is the scariest thing that I’ve ever had to do. Driving requires a lot of multitasking and hand-eye coordination - young and inexperienced drivers (like me) do not have the situational awareness that experienced drivers do, and could miss things such as speed limit signs, looking in mirrors when parking/changing lanes, etc. I don’t know how in-depth you could go but maybe just a little more expansion would be awesome!
  • Also phone distractions is a big one - young drivers are probably more likely to respond to texts and social media and stuff like that, especially in this age of technology
  • I think that along with your alcohol point you could also mention the other big causes of accidents on roads - sleep deprivation, drug use, etc - young drivers include students who may not get enough sleep due to study, teenagers who participate in recreational drugs as a social activity, etc.
  • A matured brain does not equate to experience - if we only allow people whose brains have matured to drive, they are still going to face the aforementioned issue of lack of experience, maybe just wanna mention
  • With a negative this is just my point of view but don’t young people need to have the experience of doing things that ‘adults’ are able to do? Just because our brains haven’t matured yet doesn’t mean we don’t have the capability to take responsibility for our actions. Lots of research suggest that most people don’t reach full maturity until like 25 - if a lot of individuals can’t drive until then, this can have huge implications for convenience in terms of their travel, if they’re not close to public transport or live extremely far away from the main cities.
Thanks so much. Yeah I was going to include points 1, 2,3 but I knew I would go way past the 8 minute mark so so didn't want to beef up my answer too much. Also yes points 4 and 5 are true, for some reason I just equated maturity with experience.
 

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kotoloper

Member
Also would like to mention that the fact that I've given feedback doesn't mean everyone else shouldn't! Everyone can bring a new perspective and share lots of valuable insights :)

Added by LMG!: I completely agree with the above. Crow and I are currently mid-end of year exam preparation and are a little busy, but multiple people providing feedback would be great :D
 
Disclaimer: year 12 student. Everything you've mentioned is great! Again, just a few things that came to mind - particularly, make sure you're hitting all points of the question!
  • On the topic of the preferential admission; students may not have the ability to commit to a 1 year tenure due to external factors such as family circumstances, economic factors, etc - this could discourage prospective students from applying who otherwise would’ve. Yeah I’m not too sure either haha. That being said, a graduate medical degree is 4 years, and things can change in that time!
  • Disadvantages also include a heavy burden on the sole doctor - we’ve had a question about this in the previous pages, you should take a read through - being the only doctor in a rural town can lead to overwhelming emotional and even physical stress; consider the doctor too!
  • Remember that this is a discuss question and therefore you should look at both the advantages and disadvantages - you’ve done the latter quite well, but neglected the former.
    • I.e. There are an abundance of rural areas which lack proper medical care and personnel - having one doctor, even just for a year, can have positive implications for the health of the town
  • When you say more publicity, this kinda sounds like you’re advertising rural areas - I’m imagining a bright sign with ‘COME WORK HERE’, which could potentially be deceiving. I think it should be more about education and of course exposure so that medical students are more willing to experience practicing in a rural area - of course, this is just my two cents
  • Also note the the question has asked about the implications of this policy on health care costs, which you’ve rarely talked about - off the top of my head I have nothing in my brain currently to contribute to this but just something to talk about
Hi, thanks so much kotoloper! Yeah I agree hitting all parts of the question is important, I just didn't know how exactly to for some of them, so I might do a bit of research etc

Thanks a lot!
 

mic1234

Member
A close friend in one of your university classes tells you that his mother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. He feels overwhelmed by his studies and is considering dropping his courses to spend more time with his mother. How do you counsel your friend?

hey guys, had another go at an MMI question. Any feedback is appreciated :) Thanks in advance!

Firstly, I would assure him that it is justifiable that he is feeling overwhelmed and stress and it’s okay to feel this way after hearing such difficult news. I would ask him in what areas of university does he feel so overwhelmed with that he wants to drop out. Is it that we are nearing exams or are there several deadlines to meet. Or it could be that after hearing the news, he has been so busy with his mum that he has fallen behind on uni work and needs catching up to do. If these or anything similar is an issue, we can come up with a plan to tackle specific issues. This would include suggesting him to to and openly communicate with the faculty that he is having issues in his personal life and he needs extra support. If he feels uncomfortable, I would offer to help him and communicate for him. Maybe the faculty could give him a small break or push back his deadlines so he could spend more time with his mother without worrying about uni work. If he has the opportunity, I would suggest him to plan out what he wants and needs to do with mother to work around this issue and move forward. This may be planning what days he would spend time with her and there may appointments they need to attend. It would also be useful to know whether he has any family or family friends that would be willing to support his mother that could reduce his responsibilities so he can focus on university work.


My friend could get in touch with support groups that would be willing to guide his mother and provide her information about breast cancer. This could possibly save him time from researching or continuously asking for help and in this way, he can spend more time on uni work.

There is a possibility that my friend could be struggling to understand the course content and in that case I would definitely offer some sort of assistance whether it be explaining a few concepts or doing a normal group study session that could give him confidence.

Overall, I would once again reassure my friend that we can work through this together by breaking down everything into smaller aspects and working through them. I would suggest him to reflect again about his decisions and not necessarily take rash decisions such as dropping out of his uni course because there is a way out that would help him balance his uni work and personal responsibilities.
Hey all! Firstly, great answer from cocodreams here! I would assume that responses in this vein would be well received by an interviewer, although I’m curious to know if you would be marked down for responding differently. My initial reaction to this scenario would to be to make sure said friend isn’t just stressed by their mothers diagnosis and consequently falling behind etc, so dropping out seems like the easier option, but isn't really what they want. But if that isn’t the case and it is to spend more time with their mother, I would be inclined to support their decision to defer uni? Isn’t time with a potentially terminally ill parent far more important than studies? Uni will always be there, time with your parent may be limited...

Keen to hear any other thoughts/opinions on this, it may just be that I need to rewire the way my brain works if I do get an interview invite haha!
 

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Scorpion

Member
I absolutely agree with all of the feedback by kotoloper and don't wish to take away from any of that at all but I have a couple further points I'd like to add for these prompts (and I'll probably repeat some, sorry)

A close friend in one of your university classes tells you that his mother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. He feels overwhelmed by his studies and is considering dropping his courses to spend more time with his mother. How do you counsel your friend?

hey guys, had another go at an MMI question. Any feedback is appreciated :) Thanks in advance!

Firstly, I would assure him that it is justifiable that he is feeling overwhelmed and stress and it’s okay to feel this way after hearing such difficult news. I would ask him in what areas of university does he feel so overwhelmed with that he wants to drop out. Is it that we are nearing exams or are there several deadlines to meet. Or it could be that after hearing the news, he has been so busy with his mum that he has fallen behind on uni work and needs catching up to do. If these or anything similar is an issue, we can come up with a plan to tackle specific issues. This would include suggesting him to to and openly communicate with the faculty that he is having issues in his personal life and he needs extra support. If he feels uncomfortable, I would offer to help him and communicate for him. Maybe the faculty could give him a small break or push back his deadlines so he could spend more time with his mother without worrying about uni work. If he has the opportunity, I would suggest him to plan out what he wants and needs to do with mother to work around this issue and move forward. This may be planning what days he would spend time with her and there may appointments they need to attend. It would also be useful to know whether he has any family or family friends that would be willing to support his mother that could reduce his responsibilities so he can focus on university work.


My friend could get in touch with support groups that would be willing to guide his mother and provide her information about breast cancer. This could possibly save him time from researching or continuously asking for help and in this way, he can spend more time on uni work.

There is a possibility that my friend could be struggling to understand the course content and in that case I would definitely offer some sort of assistance whether it be explaining a few concepts or doing a normal group study session that could give him confidence.

Overall, I would once again reassure my friend that we can work through this together by breaking down everything into smaller aspects and working through them. I would suggest him to reflect again about his decisions and not necessarily take rash decisions such as dropping out of his uni course because there is a way out that would help him balance his uni work and personal responsibilities.
Nice work considering many reasons why your friend may be struggling at this time. I would suggest being more flexible with the options you provide your friend as your answer seems to insist that your friend continuing their full-time course load is the best option for them when more need to be considered:

1. Consider the nature of the cancer- is it terminal? If so, your friend spending time with his mother may take absolute priority over everything else at this time. While offering assistance with uni work is a good starting point, you should also consider the option that he drops his courses to spend time with her. You could accept that right now, he just wants to be with his mother, but also encourage him to think long term, which you have touched on. Consider the possibility that his mother's illness has made him realise he is not actually passionate about his course. Remember, it is his decision at the end of the day.

2. If his future goals still may involve completing the course, you could suggest options to him such as deferment of the course for a year or switching to a part-time course load. This could allow him to spend time with his mother in the short term whilst still ultimately continuing his course. Most uni courses offer these options to students.

3. Note that you cannot make the decision on what to do for him. Whilst you can gently encourage him to continue his studies in one way or another, remind him that you will be supportive of his decision no matter what.

4. You also mention 'personal responsibilities' at the end. I know you didn't mean this but spending time with his mother is likely not a 'responsibility' for him, but something he wants to do. I do like that you mentioned balance though and think you could have elaborated on the fact that he needs to continue other aspects of his life rather than spending every moment of every day with his mother, which could lead to poor mental health down the track. You could use this as an opportunity to remind him that you will still meet with him as his friend whenever it suits you both.

Disclaimer: first time answering an interview question publicly, school leaver

Due to the shortage of doctors in rural and Aboriginal communities, it has been suggested that graduate medical programs preferentially admit bonded students who are willing to commit to a 1-year tenure in an under-serviced rural area upon completion of fellowship. Consider and comment on the broad implications of this policy for health and health care costs.

On the subject of this applying for graduate medical programs (as opposed to, I assume, undergraduate medical programs):
I think that a graduate medical student, being several years older than their comparable undergraduate counterparts, would have more life experience under their belt and be able to consider more wisely for themselves whether they are willing to commit to such a tenure. They may already have experience working away from their families, friends, and other support networks in the past, or have already relocated for their undergraduate degree, thus they are likely to have a better idea of whether this is an arrangement that would work for them or not. However, they would be several years older than a student who went through medical school by the undergraduate route, and by the time that they are subject to the tenure they may have a partner, children, older family members who they need to care for, etc, so this might not be a feasible lifestyle.

On the subject of preferential admission for these students:
This policy has some similarities to the Bonded Medical Places that are currently already in place (however I believe bonded students are not necessarily preferentially admitted, but they would get a place over students of similar academic/interview performance who did not stipulate that they would accept a bonded position). I have some reservations over the idea of preferentially admitting students who are willing to undertake this tenure, as I feel that it could be a bit predatory on those who are desperate to attend medical school and become doctors, as they may say that they are willing to undertake the tenure but afterwards face significant difficulties as doctors. (Actually I was not sure how to address this part of the question, can someone please give advice?)

On the subject of a 1-year tenure:
A 1-year tenure may be too short to have much of an impact on health in rural areas. There is already evidence of high attrition rates for medical professionals in rural communities, as well as a general under-serving of these areas. A 1-year tenure, especially if the doctor had no further plans to continue practising here, could mean that a certain area gets a different doctor every single year, arriving with little knowledge of the healthcare issues in that area, having to take over an entire caseload, and then leaving after only one year and transferring that caseload over to the next 1-year tenure doctor. While this could mean that certain areas could have a doctor, there are negative aspects to such a high turnover of doctors such as poor patient care and lack of good follow-up and preventative medicine being practised.

On the subject of this being after the completion of fellowship:
This is a big problem in this policy for me. Having to undergo a 1-year tenure after the completion of fellowship has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that the doctor has already practised for a few years and is experienced to some extent, so the quality of patient care would be better. They may also already have some experience working in a rural and under-served area However, the big disadvantage is that the imposition of this policy indirectly assumes that a doctor entering medical school (even as a graduate!) has a good idea of what they want to practise after graduation and internship/PGY-x years. This is not true as many students will be exposed to a huge variety of fields in medicine during their time in school, and have varied clinical experiences that hopefully can inform them as to what type of doctor they want to be in the future. However, having to practise in a rural under-served area will restrict the speciality they can go into in the future, as there are simply not the resources in these areas for some specialities. Another issue is that a doctor who has completed fellowship might cost much more to hire than a more junior one, and there are already issues with patients not being able to afford expensive medical care in a rural under-served area, so the patients might not be able to afford to see a doctor even if one is around.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a rural doctor?
Advantages:
- Variety of cases/patients
- Practise very independently
- You can develop a good relationship with your patients
- Rural lifestyle which may appeal to some

Disadvantages:
- Large patient population if you're the only doctor around for a great distance and they have no other option but to see you
- Independent practise can be a blessing but also a curse - you won't have as much support from more senior colleagues
- Lack of resources in these areas which can affect effectiveness of practise
- Likelihood of always being on call (as, again, people have no other option but to see you)
- Isolation from support networks


Do you think the approach will be effective and if so, at what expense? Discuss this issue with the interviewer.
I do not think that the approach will be as effective as hoped. Firstly, the 1-year tenure may be too short as it may be difficult after the 1-year tenure to convince the doctor to stay in this rural under-served area, and the turnover rate will be very high, thus affecting patient care and health outcomes. Secondly, making this 1-year tenure happen after fellowship might limit what specialities the future doctor can go into, which might dissuade graduate students from utilising this program particularly as they do not know what speciality they want to go into at the beginning/when applying to medical school. Finally, there is the issue of age, where graduate-entry medical students might not want to commit to such a tenure when at the age that they would have to do the tenure, they may have families to look after so it would not be ideal to have to move to an under-served rural community.

How would you improve the retention rate of doctors who train in rural areas?
- Increase the amount of resources (medical, financial, support services) available in rural areas. Not only will this support doctors more, but it will also lead to better healthcare outcomes in rural areas
- More publicity about the benefits of working in a rural area to medical students
- More clinical exposure so they have more experience working in these rural areas
Ultimately however it will be difficult to retain doctors in rural areas if they continue to be under-served as doctors will find they are not always able to provide the necessary care due to lack of resources, and due to the lack of support for doctors who work in these areas.
I think you have considered one half of the situation in an extremely detailed manner so well done for that. I absolutely agree with your points about how this policy would impact the students involved. I believe an interviewer would expect much of the discussion to be student-centric (they are interviewing prospective students, of course), so this is okay, but you needed to make a greater mention of the needs of the communities. I'll split my feedback up into the paragraphs you have written as I like the way you've set it out:

1. This was good.

2. I think this point comes down to whether medical students should be admitted on the basis of their own merits or on the basis of the communities who most need them considering the current healthcare distribution. Both sides make valid points, and you have done well considering the impact this has on students. However, the students are not the only stakeholders in this situation. If medical students were admitted on a level playing field, it is likely that upon graduation, the vast majority would refuse to work in the underserviced communities. There are very valid reasons for this, and these graduates are not to blame. On the other hand, the healthcare system is currently doing a disservice to many of these communities which have just one, or even no doctors for hundreds of kilometres (as is the case with several Aboriginal communities around Australia, and no doubt other remote areas). Refusing people access to healthcare is a systemic inequality in itself, often resulting in much poorer outcomes for the people in such areas. (I personally disagree with the sentiment that the policy is 'predatory', as I believe it is ultimately an informed decision that must be made by prospective students, however this is an opinion rather than a criticism).

3. I agree with everything you said. You could also mention that the turnover rate of doctors may lead to a general mistrust of the healthcare system by the public, and an animosity towards each freshly-minted doctor who the community suspects will leave by the year's end. This could make the doctors more reluctant to continue with rural medicine, exacerbating the problem.

4. Also mention a positive of completing this after fellowship is that the doctor will be more independent and will not need the assistance of a consultant. This is huge in rural/remote practice as you can't always have a senior doctor guiding you through. Therefore, it may be more feasible for this tenure to be completed after fellowship than during the junior years. Also discuss what may happen if the student does not obtain fellowship, which many doctors do not. Are they still expected to fulfil their tenure?

5. You make good points here, but for the sake of practice I would recommend saying them aloud in sentences so that you get the feel of an interview setting.

6. Also discuss whether the net impact on the communities will be positive. Yes, the 1-year turnover is not ideal, but isn't it better than having no doctor at all? It is my belief that it will make some positive impact on the communities, and this is worth mentioning if this is also your belief.

7. Good, but why will these suggestions be effective? Anecdotally (from living in a low-income regional area- remote is a whole other story), throwing resources at such communities is often received as a way for city-based institutions to feel like they are helping solve a problem without actually making a meaningful difference. The rapidly-changing medical workforce also makes many community members feel like the healthcare system is 'neglecting' them (an exaggeration, but this is the attitude of many). As a result, healthcare advice is often neglected. My suggestion here (subject to my personal opinion, of course) would be to create community integration programs in which the doctor doesn't just work in the community but are actively involved in events there. This could encourage them to form valuable community ties and find the benefits of a rural/remote lifestyle. This is of course very idealistic and due to the high workload of the doctor, not always reasonable. There's no quick fix to the issue of workforce shortages in these areas, and this may be worth mentioning.

My first MMI scenario, any feedback from anyone is appreciated (no matter how harsh).

A large portion of road accidents are caused by young drivers. A new idea is to image people's brains and only allow people to drive once their brains have matured.

a) Why do you think young drivers have a higher tendency to cause accidents?

There are a multitude of reasons why young drivers have a higher tendency to cause accidents as opposed to older drivers.
1. Lack of Experience- One of the more obvious reasons is young drivers are typically on the road for much less time than older drivers thus have less experience in handling high-pressure situations as well as general control of the car and not remembering or being used to road rule, all of which can contribute to accidents.
2. Social Factors- Many young drivers drive with their friends. Simple actions such as talking, playing games etc. can distract the driver of the car significantly where they pay less attention to the road and more attention to their friends. Also many teens may engage in reckless driving resulting from immaturity such as speeding or quick turns, as a way to 'impress' their friends and in most cases this reason coupled with a lack of experience can cause major accidents.
3. Alcohol use- For a skill such as driving where hand-eye co-ordination and awareness are a must drinking alcohol can be detrimental to road users. Generally teens and adolescents are prone to impulsive behaviour hence are more likely to drink and drive without considering the many life risking consequences this may have.
4. Night Driving- Again driving requires constant awareness of other cars, obstacles and traffic lights road signs etc. Less experienced drivers are more prone to missing these things especially in low light conditions where visibility isn't clear.

b) What do you think of the idea above?
I will assume in my response that all the neccesary science and research on determining how a brain could be rigorously defined as 'mature,' has been completed.
Positives:
- By only allowing people whose brains have developed to drive this pretty much counteracts the reasons for accidents mentioned before relating to immaturity of young drivers. This includes abstaining from drink-driving (e.g.. taking public transport instead of driving after drinking), and avoiding risky or impulsive behaviour.
-Not engaging in risky-behaviour also indirectly counteracts reasons relating to lack of experience. Rational drivers will try their best to avoid high pressure situations. For example a fresh P-plater could opt to take a road other than the motorway until they build more confidence driving by themselves, despite taking longer to reach the destination. Whereas a more impulsive person would opt to take the motorway knowing the risks simply to arrive at their destination sooner.

Negatives:
Most of the negatives for this idea include practicality and implementation.
Cost- Having to image EVERY upcoming road user would cost millions of dollars per year in Australia alone. Assuming individuals would have to pay this would greatly discourage upcoming drivers especially if their brain hasn't fully developed in which case they may need to do many of these expensive scans to obtain their drivers license. If the government pays for or partly pays for these scans, this will result in large amounts of government debt which could be spent on other causes.
Strain on Radiologists and Healthcare System- Having thousands of upcoming drivers come in for scans will lead to radiologists being overloaded with brain imaging. This can be problematic as individuals who may need a brain scan for medical reasons may be put on a waiting list or simply told to go to another clinic. Furthermore Doctors must intepret the scan which can greatly strain the healthcare system.
Time-Now if medical patients were given preference to upcoming drivers, then it might take weeks or months to simply get a learner licenses as the Doctor would give less preference to diagnose the image. Of course if medical patients were given the same amount of preference this could lead to less health-outcomes in patients which would also be detrimental.
Uncertainity- Since this is a new idea it is likely that very little research has been done to determine whether this idea would significantly reduce road accidents hence it would be a risk to compromise the health care system for a chance to reduce road accidents.

Overall whilst this idea seems appealing on paper and may reduce road accidents, the cost of implementating this idea would be too much with an uncertain outcome hence wouldn't be practical in my opinion.


c) What can parents do to help young drivers?
In my opinion parents are one of the most important means of support for young drivers, and can greatly reduce behaviour which could result in an accident.
1. Many young drivers imitate their parents driving hence it is crucial parents practice safe and respectful driving. Parents simply driving safetly behaviour can lead to upcoming drivers subconsciously trying to avoid any altercations or risky behaviour.
2. Also many parents are the first to teach their children how to drive. This is an opportunity to correctly teach new drivers existing road rules and overall safe behaviour when driving. Any new rules that have been changed from when the parents were driving should be learnt to ensure the driver has the most up to date knowledge of road rules. Parent's can also teach things which cannot be learnt theoretically and must be learnt hands on. For example giving way to a reckless driver trying to merging despite 'right of way.' It is also imperative that parents are calm and don't cause unnecessary stress.
2. Parents can also set 'ground rules,' for when the young driver can drive and also the amount of passengers they are allowed to take, once they are an independant driver. This can vary from driver to driver and also how mature they are. At the same time parent's musn't be too forceful as this may seem as 'controlling,' which itself may lead to reckless behaviour.

d) What are ways you could reduce the death toll?
Whilst I previously stated that imaging every upcoming driver is unpractical I believe similar ideas to this that are less costly can greatly reduce the death toll. The driving test could include more scenarios such as:
1. During the driving test simulate high-pressure scenarios in a safe environment. For example in a closed circuit simulate a rude or disrepectful driver and gauge the reaction of the driving student. This can allow examiners to assess the 'maturity,' of the driver and how they would react to that scenario.
2. Add a low light section of driving test (again in a safe environment). This allows examiners to guage the awareness of drivers much better than the current test.
3. In regards to drink-driving, the government could make it a law to have a breathalyzer built into cars such that only alcohol levels below the threshold will start the car. Again this idea could be very costly and impractical hence simply having more breath-tests (especially during the night) could be a more viable alternative.
4. Education- I believe it should be mandatory to attend regular road safety lessons and seminars before getting a learner license, as this will ensure drivers are practicing safe driving from day one.

Sidenote: I feel most of the ideas I have for 4 have already been implemented so went with some more daring answers. Is it a good idea to just say what has already been implemented or should I go with some other ideas like I have done here?

Also felt like I rambled on a bit too much how do I make my answer more concise?
Overall, I would suggest saying your answer aloud and using full sentences to gain a feel for the interview setting. That being said, you touched on a lot of good points. I've just noted a few more according to the paragraph they would go in:

1. Good.

2. You could mention that while young people are more frequently engaged in risky driving behaviour eg. drink driving, many people detected as having 'mature brains' will also do the same and many young people with 'immature brains' will not. Another negative could be convenience. Research suggests that brains so not fully mature until a person is in their twenties, at which point many have moved out of home, are working and are independent of their parents. This raises questions such as; how are these people going to travel to work/other places? You could suggest public transport, but this is not available in many areas, and taxi services can become expensive. People may need to be dependent on their parents for longer, resulting in financial strain among other issues, and may struggle to move towns. This also raises inequalities with the age at which people can start driving and gaining that aspect of independence. This affects what work they can get, especially if that work involves long commutes or actually driving as part of the job.

3. Good.

4. In my opinion- go for the daring answers. They will show your creative and critical thinking much better than reciting things that are already in place, even if they may be less practical. To remedy this, you could discuss the limitations each suggestion would have in your answer. For instance, saying that the 'high pressure scenarios' could be costly to simulate safely, which could limit their implementation. I really liked your response to this one though, and your creative thinking shone through well.
Hey all! Firstly, great answer from cocodreams here! I would assume that responses in this vein would be well received by an interviewer, although I’m curious to know if you would be marked down for responding differently. My initial reaction to this scenario would to be to make sure said friend isn’t just stressed by their mothers diagnosis and consequently falling behind etc, so dropping out seems like the easier option, but isn't really what they want. But if that isn’t the case and it is to spend more time with their mother, I would be inclined to support their decision to defer uni? Isn’t time with a potentially terminally ill parent far more important than studies? Uni will always be there, time with your parent may be limited...

Keen to hear any other thoughts/opinions on this, it may just be that I need to rewire the way my brain works if I do get an interview invite haha!
I agree with you, but I also agree that continuing uni study is possible. It is important to consider both the points you discussed and the points discussed by cocodreams. Remember, even if you believe a certain outcome is favourable, the interviewers want to know that you can consider the options available and the pros/cons of each. You could write a response to this question and see how you go!
 

Sir

Member
Hey Guys

I'm going to have a go at this question. As usual, any feedback is much appreciated

You are a Yr 12 student who is going to do the finals exam starting tomorrow. You are also an average student, who has both passed and failed certain class tests and hence the finals exam will prove important if you pass Yr 12. On the morning of the exam, you get a call from your grandma, who says se is very sick and needs help. Your parents are also away overseas on a business conference and hence cannot help. As she lives alone and you are the only relative available, you feel the need to give your grandma company and provide her care. However, by doing so you will miss out on doing your exams and potentially failing the year.

1. What would you do next?

This is definitely an extremely difficult situation having to prioritize either my studies or the health and wellbeing of a relative. I believe before choosing to sacrifice either, I would first assess there are any alternatives available. I would begin by ensuring her immediate safety before undertaking any other action, whether it be potentially driving her to a medical center if necessary. If immediate medical attention is required I would accompany her there where the qualified doctors and nurses would be able to take care of her whilst I would be able to undertake the exam. Most exams only require a few hours, therefore I believe I would simply explain to her of my brief absence and reassure her that her health problems would be taken care of. However it might be the case she, despite being very sick, simply needs at-home attention and care without going to a medical center. In this instance, the conflict of interest is much more pronounced however I believe there are many potential caregivers that I could reach out to as an alternative simply for a few hours whilst I undertake these exams whether it be a trusted friend or even someone like a nursing home assistant. I believe in all of these scenarios I would apologize that I can't be there the whole time, however explain to her she would be in good hands.

2. Your parents come back to grandma‘s house and say that she should move to a retirement house as they fear her health will become unstable and become a burden in the future. What are the advantages/disadvantages of living in a retirement home?
Especially with the recent royal commission into aged care facilities, I believe living in a retirement home certainly has both advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include the fact that you have knowledgeable and experienced carers looking after you, therefore they would likely know how to deal with certain situations regarding the elderly like common health complications, special needs etc. Also living in a retirement home may mean they get access to interaction with other elderly individuals and also structured activities for enjoyment (from personal knowledge in going into a nursing home) that their children might not have the ability to organize. A disadvantage includes that they might not get personal attention like they would if their children were taking care of them, which encompasses things like access to their personal hobbies that might give them a better quality of life along with more regular attention with their children and grandchildren. Also, with the royal commission, there are still uncertainties surrounding the quality of life she actually receives, therefore making this a risk with no guarantee for duty of care. Finally, there is likely some financial benefit to not having to utilize the services of a retirement home which could be invested into other areas such as regular checkups for her health

3. What services could grandma have used to provide her better care from home?
I believe when the elderly at a certain point become dependent like the grandma in question, there are definitely some resources she can take advantage of. Firstly, she could use her immediate or any relatives present who she believes would be willing to take care of her. Through support like regular visits for her health and simply having company and social interaction, these would all be great ways to maintain her care. Along with this, she could also use local resources such as having contact with some medical centers which from my knowledge do provide home visits for those unable to leave, along with other communities that facilitate her with resources such as a support network. Finally, better care from home could simply be provided over the phone if need be with friends nearby or any other support services she requires whether it be health, entertainment or even enrichment related.
 

kotoloper

Member
Hey Guys

I'm going to have a go at this question. As usual, any feedback is much appreciated

You are a Yr 12 student who is going to do the finals exam starting tomorrow. You are also an average student, who has both passed and failed certain class tests and hence the finals exam will prove important if you pass Yr 12. On the morning of the exam, you get a call from your grandma, who says se is very sick and needs help. Your parents are also away overseas on a business conference and hence cannot help. As she lives alone and you are the only relative available, you feel the need to give your grandma company and provide her care. However, by doing so you will miss out on doing your exams and potentially failing the year.

1. What would you do next?

This is definitely an extremely difficult situation having to prioritize either my studies or the health and wellbeing of a relative. I believe before choosing to sacrifice either, I would first assess there are any alternatives available. I would begin by ensuring her immediate safety before undertaking any other action, whether it be potentially driving her to a medical center if necessary. If immediate medical attention is required I would accompany her there where the qualified doctors and nurses would be able to take care of her whilst I would be able to undertake the exam. Most exams only require a few hours, therefore I believe I would simply explain to her of my brief absence and reassure her that her health problems would be taken care of. However it might be the case she, despite being very sick, simply needs at-home attention and care without going to a medical center. In this instance, the conflict of interest is much more pronounced however I believe there are many potential caregivers that I could reach out to as an alternative simply for a few hours whilst I undertake these exams whether it be a trusted friend or even someone like a nursing home assistant. I believe in all of these scenarios I would apologize that I can't be there the whole time, however explain to her she would be in good hands.

2. Your parents come back to grandma‘s house and say that she should move to a retirement house as they fear her health will become unstable and become a burden in the future. What are the advantages/disadvantages of living in a retirement home?
Especially with the recent royal commission into aged care facilities, I believe living in a retirement home certainly has both advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include the fact that you have knowledgeable and experienced carers looking after you, therefore they would likely know how to deal with certain situations regarding the elderly like common health complications, special needs etc. Also living in a retirement home may mean they get access to interaction with other elderly individuals and also structured activities for enjoyment (from personal knowledge in going into a nursing home) that their children might not have the ability to organize. A disadvantage includes that they might not get personal attention like they would if their children were taking care of them, which encompasses things like access to their personal hobbies that might give them a better quality of life along with more regular attention with their children and grandchildren. Also, with the royal commission, there are still uncertainties surrounding the quality of life she actually receives, therefore making this a risk with no guarantee for duty of care. Finally, there is likely some financial benefit to not having to utilize the services of a retirement home which could be invested into other areas such as regular checkups for her health

3. What services could grandma have used to provide her better care from home?
I believe when the elderly at a certain point become dependent like the grandma in question, there are definitely some resources she can take advantage of. Firstly, she could use her immediate or any relatives present who she believes would be willing to take care of her. Through support like regular visits for her health and simply having company and social interaction, these would all be great ways to maintain her care. Along with this, she could also use local resources such as having contact with some medical centers which from my knowledge do provide home visits for those unable to leave, along with other communities that facilitate her with resources such as a support network. Finally, better care from home could simply be provided over the phone if need be with friends nearby or any other support services she requires whether it be health, entertainment or even enrichment related.
Disclaimer: year 12 student
Great response, you've taken a lot of things into consideration and its succinct :) Here's just another couple of things to think about.
  • Just logistically speaking, I’m wondering how far the grandma lives away from you - even if she lives close to your home, given that it’s the morning of your exam it is likely that you are at school already as exams start quite early (presumably). If it’s gonna take a long time for you to actually get to her, this may be not enough time for you to make a round trip and still be able to take the exam on time - this also goes for accompanying her to the medical centre. Of course, if the exam is in the afternoon, that gives you more time to work with.
  • You could also consider any past health problems she’s had - does she currently have an health issue which is known to the family and which you help her with regularly? This can help you assess the emergency of the situation - however, considering her age and vulnerable health, she probably doesn’t just need at-home attention and care. I’m assuming she knows that you have a final exam that morning, and so might refrain from calling you unless it is urgent; therefore, immediate care is most likely needed, in which case an ambulance would probably be the best option.
  • Reaching out to others is definitely an option, a little stretch to the nursing home assistant who most likely will not be available just like that for someone who’s not even a patient (I’m assuming) and has a heap of responsibilities, so neighbours and friends would make more sense!
  • Going off the prompt about how you feel the need to give your grandma care personally and thus seems like you are considering missing the exams, this is a clear internal conflict, but you should keep in mind that you are only a year 12 student, and the responsibility of your grandmother's help does not solely depend on you - missing out on doing the exams and rushing home is a bit rash, especially when there are alternative options like the ones explored already
  • After taking all these things into consideration, keep in mind that this is your final exam! You’d understandably be worried about your grandma’s health, but after taking the aforementioned actions, if she is not in a critical state and you can see her in a few hours after the exam, you’d want to calm yourself and get into a relaxed mindset so that you can smash out the exam!
  • Advantages for a nursing home would also include a lifting of a burden on the family who otherwise would have taken the role of primary carer, which is a heavy responsibility
  • Financial benefit as an advantage could also turn into a disadvantage - the cost of being in a nursing home could be a strain for some families
 

cocodreams

Regular Member
Hey Guys

I'm going to have a go at this question. As usual, any feedback is much appreciated

You are a Yr 12 student who is going to do the finals exam starting tomorrow. You are also an average student, who has both passed and failed certain class tests and hence the finals exam will prove important if you pass Yr 12. On the morning of the exam, you get a call from your grandma, who says se is very sick and needs help. Your parents are also away overseas on a business conference and hence cannot help. As she lives alone and you are the only relative available, you feel the need to give your grandma company and provide her care. However, by doing so you will miss out on doing your exams and potentially failing the year.

1. What would you do next?

This is definitely an extremely difficult situation having to prioritize either my studies or the health and wellbeing of a relative. I believe before choosing to sacrifice either, I would first assess there are any alternatives available. I would begin by ensuring her immediate safety before undertaking any other action, whether it be potentially driving her to a medical center if necessary. If immediate medical attention is required I would accompany her there where the qualified doctors and nurses would be able to take care of her whilst I would be able to undertake the exam. Most exams only require a few hours, therefore I believe I would simply explain to her of my brief absence and reassure her that her health problems would be taken care of. However it might be the case she, despite being very sick, simply needs at-home attention and care without going to a medical center. In this instance, the conflict of interest is much more pronounced however I believe there are many potential caregivers that I could reach out to as an alternative simply for a few hours whilst I undertake these exams whether it be a trusted friend or even someone like a nursing home assistant. I believe in all of these scenarios I would apologize that I can't be there the whole time, however explain to her she would be in good hands.

2. Your parents come back to grandma‘s house and say that she should move to a retirement house as they fear her health will become unstable and become a burden in the future. What are the advantages/disadvantages of living in a retirement home?
Especially with the recent royal commission into aged care facilities, I believe living in a retirement home certainly has both advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include the fact that you have knowledgeable and experienced carers looking after you, therefore they would likely know how to deal with certain situations regarding the elderly like common health complications, special needs etc. Also living in a retirement home may mean they get access to interaction with other elderly individuals and also structured activities for enjoyment (from personal knowledge in going into a nursing home) that their children might not have the ability to organize. A disadvantage includes that they might not get personal attention like they would if their children were taking care of them, which encompasses things like access to their personal hobbies that might give them a better quality of life along with more regular attention with their children and grandchildren. Also, with the royal commission, there are still uncertainties surrounding the quality of life she actually receives, therefore making this a risk with no guarantee for duty of care. Finally, there is likely some financial benefit to not having to utilize the services of a retirement home which could be invested into other areas such as regular checkups for her health

3. What services could grandma have used to provide her better care from home?
I believe when the elderly at a certain point become dependent like the grandma in question, there are definitely some resources she can take advantage of. Firstly, she could use her immediate or any relatives present who she believes would be willing to take care of her. Through support like regular visits for her health and simply having company and social interaction, these would all be great ways to maintain her care. Along with this, she could also use local resources such as having contact with some medical centers which from my knowledge do provide home visits for those unable to leave, along with other communities that facilitate her with resources such as a support network. Finally, better care from home could simply be provided over the phone if need be with friends nearby or any other support services she requires whether it be health, entertainment or even enrichment related.
Disclaimer: yr 12

Kotoloper has made some great points! So I'll just add a bit - maybe avoid suggestions that seem a bit impractical e.g. as a year 12 driving your grandma seems a bit odd and instead of using etc, either list more or avoid using etc because I think it may demonstrate to the interviewer that you are running out of options or are unsure (or maybe you might have done it just for making it easier to type on the forum haha I am not sure)

I really like how you referred to royal commission since it shows you are aware of ongoing events. You have also drawn upon personal experience which I believe enhances the quality of the question but am not sure if that's okay to do. I suppose it should be alright!

Good job!
 

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Had a go at this question (used speech-to-text so its basically verbatim), any feedback would be appreciated!!!!!

You are in your final year of undergraduate studies working on a team project. One of your teammates, John, fails to do his share of work and is jeopardizing the progress. The project carries a significant weight on your final result. What action would you take as a team member?
The main issue in this scenario is that John not doing his work is affecting the team’s progress, which could affect the final result of our project negatively. Before making any decisions on my course of action I would gather more information about why John isn't doing his work. I will approach John in private and empathetically ask him how he's feeling, and how he's doing. John may be going through something personal, which could affect his emotional and mental well-being leading to him not finishing his work. Because of this, it's important for me to be sensitive when asking him about his condition regarding the project. After doing so, I would ask John about how his progress on his work is going. If John is not completing his work because of a valid reason that's affecting his physical and mental well-being - for example if he's sick, depressed or anxious or something is going on with his family and personal life - then I would try to comfort him and assist him. I’d offer to assist him in anyway that I can, and I would explain the situation to the rest of the team and tell them that John has personal reasons for not completing his work. After this, I will talk to the supervisor and the rest of the team as a group, and we will decide where to proceed from here and whether or not to divide up John's share of the work. As this affects our final results greatly, the rest of the team may not be happy about this. However John is not currently capable of producing work to the best of his ability and it's important for the team to understand that as well.
If John does not have a valid reason - for example if he's just slacking off, lazy or if he takes issue with the rest of the team - then I would tell him that his actions are inappropriate as a member of the team. What he's doing is affecting the rest of us, which isn't fair to the other members of the team. If John remains argumentative and unwilling to complete his share of the work over the next few days, then I would tell the supervisor about the situation and leave John to be reprimanded by the supervisor. As a member of the team, there's only so much I have the authority to do, and I think it's wise to let the supervisor take over at that point as the supervisor has the authority to remedy the situation.

The team leader asks you to do John’s share of work because John is sick. What would you do?
If John was sick, then I think that would be a valid reason for not doing his share of the work; as such, I would divide up the work amongst the team as mentioned before, and explain it to the team. I would also try to calm the other members of the team down if they felt like they were being treated unjustly; if necessary, I will take a larger share of the work when dividing it up amongst the rest of the team. Although this is unfair to the rest of the team, it's not John's fault for getting sick and such he should not be blamed.

The project was submitted and your team won the Final Year Project Award. The Faculty Dean approached your team and John started telling the Dean about the project even though he did not contribute to the work at all. What would you do?
I would not interrupt John’s conversation with the faculty dean to correct him, because doing so would be rude and inappropriate. It might make me seem like I’m trying to claim the credit for the work that the team did; however, it is also inappropriate for John to take credit for something that he didn't do. After John's conversation with the dean, I would take him aside and ask him why he was taking credit for the work that he did not do. I would remind him that the team did the work in his absence. Even so, as the team has already completed the project and it is no longer working together, I would not react too harshly if John became argumentative and angry, as there's no point in raising conflict. At this point, there’s nothing to gain from informing the Dean of the truth, and as my supervisor would already know of the situation, there’s nothing else that needs to be done.
 

IQ ™

Member
Had a go at this question (used speech-to-text so its basically verbatim), any feedback would be appreciated!!!!!

You are in your final year of undergraduate studies working on a team project. One of your teammates, John, fails to do his share of work and is jeopardizing the progress. The project carries a significant weight on your final result. What action would you take as a team member?
The main issue in this scenario is that John not doing his work is affecting the team’s progress, which could affect the final result of our project negatively. Before making any decisions on my course of action I would gather more information about why John isn't doing his work. I will approach John in private and empathetically ask him how he's feeling, and how he's doing. John may be going through something personal, which could affect his emotional and mental well-being leading to him not finishing his work. Because of this, it's important for me to be sensitive when asking him about his condition regarding the project. After doing so, I would ask John about how his progress on his work is going. If John is not completing his work because of a valid reason that's affecting his physical and mental well-being - for example if he's sick, depressed or anxious or something is going on with his family and personal life - then I would try to comfort him and assist him. I’d offer to assist him in anyway that I can, and I would explain the situation to the rest of the team and tell them that John has personal reasons for not completing his work. After this, I will talk to the supervisor and the rest of the team as a group, and we will decide where to proceed from here and whether or not to divide up John's share of the work. As this affects our final results greatly, the rest of the team may not be happy about this. However John is not currently capable of producing work to the best of his ability and it's important for the team to understand that as well.
If John does not have a valid reason - for example if he's just slacking off, lazy or if he takes issue with the rest of the team - then I would tell him that his actions are inappropriate as a member of the team. What he's doing is affecting the rest of us, which isn't fair to the other members of the team. If John remains argumentative and unwilling to complete his share of the work over the next few days, then I would tell the supervisor about the situation and leave John to be reprimanded by the supervisor. As a member of the team, there's only so much I have the authority to do, and I think it's wise to let the supervisor take over at that point as the supervisor has the authority to remedy the situation.

The team leader asks you to do John’s share of work because John is sick. What would you do?
If John was sick, then I think that would be a valid reason for not doing his share of the work; as such, I would divide up the work amongst the team as mentioned before, and explain it to the team. I would also try to calm the other members of the team down if they felt like they were being treated unjustly; if necessary, I will take a larger share of the work when dividing it up amongst the rest of the team. Although this is unfair to the rest of the team, it's not John's fault for getting sick and such he should not be blamed.

The project was submitted and your team won the Final Year Project Award. The Faculty Dean approached your team and John started telling the Dean about the project even though he did not contribute to the work at all. What would you do?
I would not interrupt John’s conversation with the faculty dean to correct him, because doing so would be rude and inappropriate. It might make me seem like I’m trying to claim the credit for the work that the team did; however, it is also inappropriate for John to take credit for something that he didn't do. After John's conversation with the dean, I would take him aside and ask him why he was taking credit for the work that he did not do. I would remind him that the team did the work in his absence. Even so, as the team has already completed the project and it is no longer working together, I would not react too harshly if John became argumentative and angry, as there's no point in raising conflict. At this point, there’s nothing to gain from informing the Dean of the truth, and as my supervisor would already know of the situation, there’s nothing else that needs to be done.
Disclaimer: med applicant

I think you've raised some good points especially in the first paragraph where you're showing empathy to the team member and considering the root of the problem may be a personal issue. Here's my two cents:
  • I think it's important to consider that John himself may be finding the workload allocated to him being overwhelming, and possibly difficult to complete. As a result, when John sees that the rest of the group are doing their allocated work and making progress towards completing the team project in the final year of undergraduate, an insecurity or feeling of embarrassment may arise where he may possibly feel 'ashamed' of openly speaking up and expressing his difficulties in doing his work. The fact that they are in their final year of their undergraduate studies may mean there is more of a possibility that this is the case, as John may feel that his teammates 'expect' him to be able to cope with the project and carry his weight. In this case it is important that you reassure John that it is completely fine to have difficulties in the work as it is part of a project to make mistakes and encounter obstacles which may halt progress being made, and clarify to him that it is completely okay to speak up and that the group members would be happy to assist him or potentially reallocate the tasks of the project if it isn't too late into the group project. (considering closeness to the deadline and the nature of the tasks to be done)
  • For the second question, I think it also depends on the workload that was allocated to John. Keep in mind you still have to do the work that was allocated to you, and also now do the work that was initially allocated to John. While uncontrollable circumstances have led to John's inability to carry out the work he was given, having the work being shifted to you could have its implications. What if the workload is too heavy? There is the possibility that the pressure of completing your workload as well as John's could lead to mental fatigue, and the pressure that comes with having to complete it at the standard set by the marking criteria due to the project having a large impact on the final score can affect your emotional wellbeing. In this case it is important that you make these points clear to the supervisor, in that an alternative solution may need to be found which could involve pushing the deadline back (not sure how feasible this is), or more realistically spreading the workload of John across the team members. This would have to be done through a team meeting where open communication and responsibility is necessary to overcome this obstacle and complete the group project.
  • Another point I'd like to raise and this is mainly for the third question is that while John may be telling the Dean about the project, it doesn't necessarily mean he is taking credit for the work of the team. John was a part of the team and there would have been meetings at the start of the project where the work required to be completed was discussed among the team members and where the allocations for the work to be done would've happened. John could just be speaking about the efforts of the group and giving praise about the ability of his teammates to deal with an obstacle that had arose. Though I think it is a bit inappropriate to take him aside and 'ask him why he was taking credit for the work that he did not do'. This could come across as very confrontational and aggressive, and it may cause a back and forth argument with John that could be avoided. Alternatively, you could maybe just remind John that the team project was a collective effort made by members of the team and that undermining their importance to the completed project and their achievement of the Final Year Project Award is very inappropriate and unjust.
Hope you can take something out of this!
 
Hi guys :) had a go at this q using the voice typing thing so it does sound a bit dis-jointed ahah but any feedback is much appreciated!!

You work in a school which is located in a socially disadvantaged area, and notice one of your 15 year old students coming to class with bruises which they try to hide from you. Upon questioning, the student is defensive and claims the damage is self-inflicted. You suspect that the bruises are a consequence of domestic violence, even though you know the parents to be well educated. You also have a further suspicion that it is fuelled by substance abuse. By law, if you have a reasonable suspicion of child abuse, you must report it to the Department of Health and Services with a common result being the child forcibly entered into State care, at least for the duration of the investigation.

If you didn’t think you had a reasonable suspicion at this point, how would you investigate further?

The problem presented here is that i am working in a school in a socially disadvantaged area and one of my students, a 15 yr old, is coming to lass with bruises and when i question them about it, they claim that it is actually self inflicted although i have a suspicion that it is actually due to domestic violence. This is a difficult situation because if the child is going through something such as child abuse, that is a very serious concern and of course i would want to report that to the Department of Health and Services for the child’s safety but at the same time I cannot make any assumptions without knowing whether this is actually the case or simply something else could have happened. In order to report this case to the Department of Health and Services, I need to investigate further. It would be best to try and approach the child in a polite, non-confrontational way in private to initiate a general conversation with them and ask them how they are dealing with everything; schoolwork, family life and so on. If they are very closed off and do not want to speak to me, i would remind them that if they are going through something and needed any extra support, the school and myself can offer a range of support systems to help them with whatever they are going thorough and that there are always services such as counselling or even services not related to the school such as beyond blue. By providing them options of support, it lets them know that they are not alone and that in the case where he is going through something serious, there is opportunity to seek help. To investigate further I can also organise a time to meet with his parents to get some insight into the situation of the bruising on the child.

You find out eventually that, unknown to the father, the mother is a frequent amphetamine user, and that her drug fuelled violence have caused the student’s injuries. Do you think that entrance into state care is an appropriate outcome for this child, and why?
Before deciding on whether I think state care is an appropriate outcome for the child I would first need to find out a bit more about the living situation of the child. For example, If i find out that the father is capable of looking after the child and the parents are separated, then the child has the option of living with the father instead as it is known that the mother is a frequent amphetamine user and causing injuries to her child. However in the case the child’s living state is continually with the mother and there is no option to live with the father only, as the parents are living together, then I do think that state care is an appropriate outcome. Unless the mother can manage and stop her amphetamine usage, the violence will most likely continue and cause further injuries to the child which is increasing the risk on their life and negatively impacting them.

What are some positives and negatives of the state care/foster system for this student if they were to be admitted into foster care?
With the state care or foster system, the major positive would be that the child is no longer in the negative living environment that they were in with their birth parents and provides them with a new chance to start over again with a new family that has accepted them. Also they are no longer experiencing any violence or other negative impacts they could have faced with their previous family. However negatives could be that the foster family isn't the birth parents that they have grown up from birth so it is a very new environment. For example, in this case going into foster care at the age of 15 would be quite a drastic change and they may experience some difficulties adjusting to life at the beginning. Also there is the possibility that they may not like the living situation with their foster parents because it is something new and they could be feeling uncomfortable.

As a potential future doctor, do you think you should have no discretion in reporting of suspicions such as these?
In terms of the medical field, patient confidentiality is extremely important and it is up to the patient themself to make the major decisions regarding their treatment and they patient has the right to keep information regarding this private and confidential. However, if the patient appears to be at a major risk to not only themself but others as well and once the situation is evaluated, as a doctor if i feel that there are risks, there should be the option where confidentiality can be broken if i know it will maximise the patients safety. Translating back to this situation, i think i should have some level of discretion in reporting cases like these because in these cases it is quite common for the child to be very closed off and not admit themselves that they are going through something such as child abuse because they could feel threatened by the parents or embarrassed about it so it would be very difficult to get them to open up about it themselves. I think having that discretion in reporting certain cases like this is favourable.
What can be done to help the mother?
About the mother I know that she is a frequent amphetamine user and that her drug fueled violence is what has caused the child’s injuries. I would try to approach the mother in a calm and polite way and ask how she is going with everything, her family, work and so on. I can let her know that there are support systems such as counselling or Lifeline that offer online support. If she wants to remain anonymous for whatever personal reasons then these online platforms are a really good way for her to seek support.

With this prompt because there was 5 parts so i couldn't really go into much detail bc time limit (edit: i did speak a bit over 8 min here but i will keep a stricter limit next time). this might be hard to answer but; how am i meant to know how to pace myself and allocate the 8 minutes equally and not speak too less/too much because i wont know exactly how many follow up qs get asked right, im worried if it was something with 5 parts like this id end up rushing the last few but if it was a prompt with 3 parts i might finish too early.
 

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