17 Pediatric Surgeon Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a pediatric surgeon, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Few medical professionals are as revered—and as needed—as pediatric surgeons. These highly skilled surgeons care for children with congenital defects, cancer, and other diseases that require surgical intervention.

To become a pediatric surgeon, you must complete four years of medical school, followed by a five-year residency in general surgery and a two- to three-year fellowship in pediatric surgery. After all that schooling and training, you’ll be able to apply for jobs.

The interview process for a pediatric surgeon position may include a panel interview, during which you’ll be asked a range of questions by a group of people, or a one-on-one interview with the head of the department. You may also be asked to give a presentation or take a written exam.

To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a list of commonly asked pediatric surgeon interview questions and answers.

Are you comfortable working with children?

Interviewers may ask this question to determine if you have experience working with children and their families. They want to know that you are comfortable communicating with young patients and their parents, as well as other medical professionals who work with them. In your answer, try to explain how you feel about working with children and what makes it enjoyable for you.

Example: “I love working with children because they always make me smile. I find that the best way to communicate with kids is through play, so I often bring toys or games into the operating room to help ease their nerves. I also like to talk to their parents before surgery to learn more about their personalities and interests. This helps me personalize my interactions with each child.”

What are some of the most important skills for a pediatric surgeon?

This question can help interviewers determine if you have the skills necessary to succeed in this role. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a few of your strongest skills and how they apply to this position.

Example: “The most important skill for a pediatric surgeon is communication. I find that patients’ parents are often very nervous about their child’s surgery, so it’s important to explain everything thoroughly and answer any questions they may have. Another important skill is patience. Children can sometimes be difficult during procedures, but it’s important to remain calm and reassuring. Finally, precision is another essential skill because even small mistakes can lead to serious complications.”

How would you describe the relationship between a pediatric surgeon and a child’s parents?

The interviewer may ask you this question to assess your communication skills and ability to work with parents. In your answer, try to show that you value the opinions of parents and are willing to listen to their concerns. You can also emphasize how important it is for parents to be present during a child’s surgery.

Example: “I believe that parents have valuable insight into their children’s health because they know them best. I always encourage parents to ask questions about their child’s diagnosis and treatment plan so they feel comfortable with what we are doing. It is also very important for parents to be present during their child’s surgery. This allows them to see exactly what is happening and understand why certain procedures are necessary.”

What is the most challenging aspect of being a pediatric surgeon?

This question can help interviewers understand what you find challenging in your role and how you overcome challenges. When answering this question, it can be helpful to discuss a specific challenge you faced and the steps you took to overcome it.

Example: “The most challenging aspect of being a pediatric surgeon is when patients have complex medical histories or require multiple surgeries. In these cases, I work with other specialists to ensure that all aspects of their care are covered. For example, if a patient has a heart condition, I make sure they see a cardiologist before and after surgery. This helps me feel confident that my patients receive the best care possible.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to perform an emergency surgery on a child.

Interviewers ask this question to learn more about your experience as a pediatric surgeon. They want to know how you respond in high-pressure situations and whether you have the skills necessary to perform emergency procedures. In your answer, describe what steps you took to ensure the child’s safety during the surgery.

Example: “In my first year of practice, I had to perform an emergency appendectomy on a young patient who was experiencing severe abdominal pain. The parents were out of town at the time, so I called them and explained that I would need to perform the surgery immediately. I asked if they could call their local hospital to see if there was anyone available to assist me with the procedure. Luckily, another doctor was able to come over and help me with the surgery.”

If a child needed to have a limb amputated, what would be your primary method of pain management?

The interviewer may ask you a question like this to assess your experience with amputation procedures and how you manage pain in children. Use examples from your previous work or describe the methods you would use if you had not yet performed an amputation procedure.

Example: “I always try to avoid amputations whenever possible, but I have extensive experience performing them when necessary. In my experience, I find that local anesthesia is usually sufficient for most patients, although some require general anesthesia. I also administer oral pain medication after the surgery to ensure they are comfortable.”

What would you do if a child was in surgery and a team member made a mistake?

Mistakes can happen, and employers want to know that you are able to handle them in a professional manner. In your answer, explain how you would address the mistake with the team member and what steps you would take to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Example: “If I noticed a mistake during surgery, I would first make sure that the child was safe and then speak with the team member who made the error. I would ask them what they were thinking when they made the mistake so we could learn from the experience. Then, I would discuss how we could prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”

How well do you think you can handle the emotional stress of working with children?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your ability to handle the emotional stress of working with children. This is because pediatric surgery can be emotionally challenging, and you need to have a high level of empathy for patients. In your answer, try to show that you are empathetic and compassionate. You can also mention any specific experiences you’ve had in your career where you helped a child overcome an emotional challenge.

Example: “I think I am quite good at handling the emotional stress of working with children. Throughout my career as a pediatric surgeon, I have seen many different situations where children were suffering from various ailments. However, I always make sure to treat each patient with compassion and care. For example, when I was working on a case where a young girl lost her leg due to a dog bite, I made sure to explain everything we were doing to help her feel more comfortable. She ended up feeling much better after our conversation.”

Do you have any experience performing surgeries on infants?

Pediatric surgeons often perform surgeries on infants, and the interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience with these procedures. If you do have experience working with infants, share a specific example of how you helped an infant in need. If you don’t have any experience working with infants, explain that you are willing to gain the necessary skills if hired for the position.

Example: “I’ve performed several surgeries on infants, including one where I removed a tumor from an infant’s brain. The parents were very nervous about their child’s condition, but I was able to calm them by explaining every step of the surgery before performing it. During the procedure, I used my expertise to carefully remove the tumor while keeping the infant safe. After the surgery, the infant made a full recovery.”

When preparing for a surgery, what is the most important thing you need to do?

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you know how to prepare for a surgery and what steps are involved. Use examples from previous experiences where you had to plan ahead for a procedure.

Example: “The most important thing I need to do when preparing for a surgery is make sure all of my equipment is ready before the patient arrives. This includes making sure all of my tools are sterilized, organized and in place so I can focus on the surgery once the patient is in the operating room. Another important step is reviewing the patient’s medical history and test results to ensure I have all the information I need to perform the surgery.”

We want to ensure our patients have the best possible recovery. What would be your strategy for helping a child recover after surgery?

The interviewer may ask you this question to learn more about your bedside manner and how you interact with patients. Use examples from past experiences where you helped a child recover after surgery.

Example: “I always encourage parents to be present during their child’s recovery, as it can help them feel less scared or anxious. I also make sure that the patient has plenty of time to rest in between procedures. For example, if they have an appendectomy, I’ll give them plenty of time to heal before removing their stitches. This helps ensure they don’t experience any complications later on.”

Describe your process for preparing a child for surgery.

This question can help interviewers understand your bedside manner and how you interact with patients. Your answer should include a specific example of how you prepared a child for surgery, including the steps you took to make them feel comfortable and safe.

Example: “I always start by explaining what’s going to happen during their procedure. I also explain why it’s important that they stay still so we can complete the operation successfully. Then, I ask if they have any questions or concerns about the upcoming surgery. If they do, I take time to address those concerns and provide additional information as needed. Finally, I let them know that I’ll be there the entire time and will check in on them after the surgery is over.”

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their team. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate for this role. Focus on highlighting your most relevant experience and soft skills.

Example: “I am passionate about helping children lead healthy lives. I have worked in pediatric surgery for five years now, so I know what it takes to be successful in this field. My previous employer told me that my communication skills are some of the best they’ve ever seen. I also love working with kids, which is why I chose to pursue a career in pediatric surgery.”

Which pediatric surgical specialties are you most interested in pursuing?

This question can help interviewers understand your career goals and how you plan to achieve them. When answering this question, it can be helpful to list the specialties that interest you most and why. You may also want to include a specialty that you are not as interested in pursuing but would consider if offered the position.

Example: “I am most interested in becoming an expert in pediatric urology. I find the idea of helping children with urinary tract issues very rewarding, and I have always enjoyed working with patients who need surgery for these conditions. Another area of pediatric surgery that interests me is pediatric cardiology. I love working with children and their families, and I think being able to perform surgeries that improve heart health could be very fulfilling.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of post-operative care?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your knowledge of post-operative care and how you prioritize the needs of patients. Use examples from your experience to explain what you think is most important in ensuring a patient’s recovery after surgery.

Example: “I believe that communication with parents is one of the most important aspects of post-operative care because it allows me to address any concerns they have about their child’s health or recovery. I always make sure to speak with parents before, during and after surgery so that we can discuss expectations for their child’s recovery and answer any questions they might have. This helps ensure that parents feel comfortable asking questions and know who to contact if they need additional information.”

How often do you perform check-ups on children you’ve performed surgery on?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you are committed to the long-term health of your patients. They want to know that you care about their well-being after surgery and will follow up with them regularly. In your answer, explain how you plan to stay in touch with your patients’ families and ensure they have all the information they need to take care of their child.

Example: “I perform check-ups on my patients at least once a year for the rest of their childhood. I also recommend that parents bring their children back to me if they notice any concerning symptoms or changes in behavior. I believe it is important to maintain a relationship with my patients so that I can provide them with the best possible care throughout their lives.”

There is a new surgery that could help a child’s condition, but you aren’t sure if it’s safe. What do you do?

This question is a great way to see how you would handle new medical procedures and treatments. It also shows the interviewer that you are willing to do what’s best for your patients, even if it means not performing a procedure or treatment that could be beneficial.

Example: “I would research the surgery thoroughly before deciding whether or not to perform it on my patient. I would speak with other surgeons who have performed this type of surgery in the past to get their opinion on its safety. If they say it’s safe, then I would proceed with the surgery. However, if they say there are too many unknown factors about the surgery, then I would hold off until more information becomes available.”


17 Neuroscientist Interview Questions and Answers

Back to Interview

17 Nurse Administrator Interview Questions and Answers