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Situational Judgement Test / Professional Dilemma Paper

The Professional Dilemma paper consists of about 55 Situational Judgement test questions, and lasts 115 minutes.

This tests your response to various scenarios, and assesses whether you meet the core competencies in the National Person Specification.  It is a test of judgement NOT knowledge.

SJT papers have been used for many years as part of the recruitment process for the Civil Service posts across the world, the FBI, and the NHS Graduate Management Programme.

The competencies being tested are:

•  Empathy & Sensitivity: Capacity & motivation to take in others' perspectives & to treat others with understanding

•  Communication Skills: Capacity to adjust behaviour & language as appropriate to needs of differing situations

•  Conceptual Thinking & Problem Solving: Capacity to think beyond the obvious, with analytical and flexible mind

•  Coping with Pressure: Capacity to recognise own limitations and develop appropriate coping mechanisms

•  Organisation & Planning: Capacity to organise information/time effectively in a planned manner

•  Managing Others & Team Involvement: Capacity to work effectively in partnership with others

•  Professional Integrity: Capacity & motivation to take responsibility for own actions and demonstrate respect for all

You should also have a good knowledge of the GMC's Good Medical Practice (2006).

An example of the type of question you might get is:

You are called by medical staffing.  They ask if you can cover a night shift as a colleague has called in sick. You are unable to accept as you have made plans to go to the theatre.  While waiting to go in, you see the doctor who has called in sick in the line ahead of you. Rank the following 1-5, 1 being the MOST effective / best option, 5 being the LEAST effective / worst option:

  1. Inform your consultant of the incident the next day
  2. Discuss the situation with other junior doctors in your department the next day
  3. Do nothing - it is not your problem.
  4. Tell your colleague that you will cover for him if he pays for your ticket.
  5. Inform your co-worker that this is irresponsible and unethical, and that were it to happen again, you would be obliged to inform your consultant.

The correct answers are:

1. E - You are making your colleague aware that his actions are wrong, and allowing him a chance to explain himself / make amends.

2. B - someone else may have a useful suggestion as to how to approach this problem.  The problem affects everyone on the rota so it makes sense to discuss it together.

3. A - If you feel unable to tackle the situation yourself, by informing someone in a position of responsibility, it allows the problem to be addressed. 

4. C - this does not address the situation at all.  As his action affects you and all of your colleagues, it IS your responsibility to do something about it.

5. D - This is unethical - not only are you condoning his behaviour, you are asking for a bribe as well.

This question tackles 2 of the competencies: Managing Others & Team Involvement, and Professional Integrity.

Some questions will be focused on only 1 competency, others may cover 2 or even 3. 

This question is taken from the Emedica Stage 2 revision service, which has over 2000 questions covering both the clinical and professional dilemma paper (including 115 SJTs with feedback and explanations). You can find out more and signup HERE.

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