by Nic Colombo
In this new article from the Physio interview preparation series, we thought we could have a look at a specific question from a recent band 6 MSK interview and suggest elements for a possible answer, so you could see what sort of stuff interviewers are looking for.
NB: Be aware that this is only a single example of a question and its suggested answer, and depending on the type of job, the place of work, or even the interview panel members, you might need to adapt and/or provide other elements in your answer to get all the points.
The difference between Band 5 and Band 6 MSK specific questions:
The difference between MSK Band 5 and Band 6 questions will mainly be in the amount of details you give out in your answers. At a Band 5 level, the interviewer basically wants to make sure that you stay safe at all times and that you ask your senior if there’s anything you don’t know.
At a Band 6 / specialist level, you will need to demonstrate your autonomy and give out as much details about your clinical reasoning and referencing as possible. You’ll see that you’ll spend a lot more time per question and the interviewer will often ask a few sub-questions for each. Sometimes, there won’t be a right or wrong answer and interviewers will look for your reasoning first. You’ll feel drained by the end of it, but that generally means you’ve done well!
Of course, it's not all clinical - as a senior member of staff you will be required to supervise juniors. Your knowledge of the supervision structure of your trust and management of junior staff will be put to the test too. You'll also be required to know about the bigger picture: Quality Improvement, KPIs, research projects and more generally your role as a senior Physiotherapist within your Trust.
Okay, here's our question:
One of your senior colleagues thinks your band 5 is underperforming. How would you deal with the situation?
Remember, usually a Trust’s overriding concern is for patient’s safety, colleagues’ health, business continuity and reputation of said Trust. Keep this in mind when answering any questions about performance or safety concerns.
First you need to identify the issue. Issues on an individual’s poor performance may come to light by a variety of routes:
- Review of patient’s notes
- Concern expressed by a colleague (“whistle-blower”)
- Complaints from patients or relatives
- Investigation into an incident
- Performance review against agreed objectives or job competencies
- Annual appraisal
- Clinical audit
- Errors / mistakes
- Information from regulatory body
- Staff member themselves
If patient safety is immediately compromised, discuss the case with your manager and escalate as required. The decision of what constitutes a sufficient high risk to be suspended from practice / clinical duties will be decided by a Senior Manager (Head of Service for instance) with the advice from HR.
If patient safety is not compromised, aim to start escalation at a local, informal level first, and escalate only if this fails. For instance, you could start with informal feedback first, then feedback in protected supervision slots.
If your band 5 is still under performing, you will need to set formal goals and objectives to address the issue, with appropriate review dates in place.
If this fails, you will need to escalate to your band 7 who will aim to resolve the issue within the department, maybe by giving you extra support or modifying the supervision tree.
Only when this fails will the case be escalated outside of the department, via usually the Head of Department liaising with HR.
External and contributing factors should be considered, such as:
- Physical and mental health - Major life event
- Lack of supervision or CPD
- Insufficient induction
- Level of insight into limitations
- New issues vs exacerbation of long standing problem
- Change to job role / scope
- Staffing levels, team issues
- Bullying, equality and diversity problems
- Evidence of alcohol, substance use
Remember, the problem can also be coming from you: do you provide enough supervision opportunities? Have you considered the individual’s preferred learning styles? Do you provide too much / too little feedback?
Lastly, if the individual is not achieving standards because of a condition recognised under the Disability Discrimination Act, then all reasonable adjustments should be provided.
Find more questions and answers as well as reading lists and a whole bunch of tips and resources for your upcoming Band 6 MSK interview and future job in our Band 6 / Senior MSK pack:
Our Band 6 / Senior MSK pack is designed for experienced Band 5 Physios applying for senior positions within MSK practice. It includes interview questions and answers, key resources and top tips for the job, amongst others.
Bespoke guidance when you need it the most. If you feel like you need to talk face-to-face to one of our staff about your career plans, interviews, or anything else physio-related, we offer personalised skype calls and appointments with our Specialist Physios. This can take the format of mock interviews to help you prepare for your upcoming interview.
About the author(s)
Nic works as a Senior Physiotherapist both in a busy NHS hospital in East London and privately. Since he qualified, he has gained a large amount of experience assessing and treating various conditions, but also meeting and working alongside all sorts of healthcare professionals. He set up QualifiedPhysio with the idea of making available to future and new physios all the advice, guidance and resources he got along the way, to bridge that gap between Uni and their first job.