A physician associate is a clinician who is
not a doctor but is train in a way very similar to doctors, and we work as part of the medical
team seeing patients and assisting doctors with the workload. The role of physician associate
is fairly new within the NHS but it has been used in other places in the world for decades.
We take life science graduates and put them through a very intense two year programme
in which they train across the breadth of medicine. So my undergraduate degree, it was in human
biology. I knew about the physician associate role around 2007 and I really enjoyed the interaction
with patients. What really attracted me to physician associate
studies was the fact that I get to see patients and I get to provide them with care. The type of person who should apply to this
programme are those who have very strong inter-personal skills, you have to love working with patients.
You also want to have a challenge in your life everyday because everyday will bring
new challenges for a physician associate. The quality at St George’s is actually great.
There are so many different types of lecturers we have, we’ve got consultants, we’ve got
PAs and doctors. I find that’s really the best part. The physician associate course at St George’s
is the longest running course in the UK. Our faculty members are very dedicated to not
just the programme but also to our students, and helping them become excellent clinicians.
All students who train as physician associates in the United Kingdom must sit the UK National
Examination, this happens after the course concludes and every single St George’s student who
has sat this exam has passed on the first attempt. We start our placements early on in the course
and that’s a weekly basis. So I’m seeing my own patients, I have my own clinic. After
seeing each patient the GP supervisor joins us and then we discuss the management of the
patient and any improvements that I need to make, anything I have missed out, he’ll guide
me towards that. Well, now I’m a qualified PA, I think looking
back at it the second year really helped with the clinical placements that they put me through.
So we had a long, about 12 weeks in AMU and I think that prepared me for going into my
working environment in urology. If you have a life science degree and you
really want to be involved in front-line patient care, this could be the role for you. Looking back this is the best decision I made
and I think, studying at St George’s, if you want to become a physician associate is the
best thing you can do. There is no restriction on the branches of
medicine in which PA’s can be involved. So PA’s currently in the NHS work in over 25
different specialities, it really depends on where your interest lies. Currently there
is no shortage on the job front for PAs.