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    All sounds good. What about funding? Do you get tuition fee loans and living maintenance loans? Otherwise how would you be able to afford it?

    (Original post by bmd2)
    Yeah the course is great! Its new to the university so there are a few teething problems but generally everyone is really excited about it so the atmosphere is good.

    Not at all in my experience. We have placement in GP practices in the first year and I come across med students who haven't heard of the role (not many have) but seem really interested! From the doctors I've spoken to working with PA's, they love them! Junior doctors have short rotations so go to them with queries when they are new to the department (you would become fairly specialist) and they are another resource easing the demand.

    I did apply for medicine whilst on the course (I did my UKCAT before accepting the place so thought I may as well!). I have paid £5k of tuition fees which I will effectively lose now because I am accepting an offer for a GEM course. But, I have learnt so much in this time, got used to OSCE formats, PBL, clinical skills and got exposure in placements which i'm sure will help me with the accelerated course.

    The course structure varies between each university. For us, it is basically mon-fri 9-5. We study all of the 'ologies' to masters level (some very complex biomed!), do clinical skills, PBL, GP placements and pharmacology. We have to do a dissertation so have a module on research too.

    For more information on the PA role, I would look at NHS jobs and see what they describe for responsibilities etc. Basically you work as part of the medical team in a similar role to a junior doctor. You take your own case load, take a history, examine, diagnose and interpret tests. You create management plans and refer to the consultant for any advice, complex cases and signing off prescriptions. The role is still new so I think that it very much varies nationally and in different trusts. It is semi-autonomous (they wouldnt pay band 7 to just report everything back to a consultant). Rotas and shifts again vary depending on department just like a junior doctor. In A&E or MAU you can expect to work shifts, other wards maybe not!
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    (Original post by bmd2)
    I am currently on a PA course and also applied for medicine and secured a place half way through the programme! I completely get the stopgap idea. The course aims to get students to a "final year medic student" level by the end of the two years. You learn many of the same competencies as a junior doctor and the role will be so widespread in a few years for sure.
    I'd love to know how they achieve this when it takes even an accelerated GEM course 3 years to get to that standard...
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    (Original post by Bunicornaces)
    In what exactly?


    Why?According to your post, PA masters is great and makes you a "specialist".


    I assume this includes the clinical "ologies"? Even if it didn't, you don't really believe that, do you? Assuming you were speaking of basic sciences alone, you have just claimed that you study all basic sciences to masters level (e.g. biology, anatomy, histology, embryology, physiology, pathology, microbiology and others). Assuming you were speaking of both basic sciences and clinical subjects (e.g. gynaecology, ORL, surgery, neurology and others), you really think that your university is going to train all its students to masers levels in these subject areas, in 2 years?
    A specialist in whichever post you take. For example, a PA who works in cardiology for 3 years will become very good at being a cardiologist PA. Just like you get specialist nurses- you get specialist PAs. This is not to say the PA might as well be a consultant. They will become very good in the department they've worked in for a long period of time- that extends to any job, in any industry.

    I did weigh up whether to accept the GEM or stay on the PA post. Not because I wouldn't love to be a doctor but personal circumstances. I am a strong advocate of the PA programme and think it will be a great role, I think there are pros and cons to both. As a doctor it takes years to specialise, you can't change that specialism easily unless you start back at the beginning, the PA role is very different and there is that flexibility! Ultimately though for me it comes down to progression which isn't available as a PA and I have been in many roles where there is a ceiling and it is frustrating!

    Perhaps "all" of the ologies was taken somewhat too literally. We did cover each area of medicine and we were taught in masters level detail, but you're right, it is unlikely to have included absolutely every aspect of very ology- apologies for the wording. It is level 7. Biomedicine masters are usually taught in 1year, ours is 2years full time. We have less than 20 students on the course and not every course nationally is a masters- some are PGdip so I am talking about mine specifically. I DO believe it was masters level because they gave us access to undergraduate Biomed and there was a significant jump (not that i particularly understood either easily).

    Now, I am happy to answer questions for those interested in the course. I think it is great. The doctors I have met have all said how fantastic they think it is and there is no doubt it will excel over the next few years. What I am not happy to do is feel as if I have to defend myself against people who feel it necessary to be condescending. I will just ignore these comments and questions as I only want to help someone who appears to be in a very similar, nearly exact, position as me!
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    (Original post by Helenia)
    I'd love to know how they achieve this when it takes even an accelerated GEM course 3 years to get to that standard...
    "Aims"- I'm sure there are many areas not covered to anywhere near the same level. I agree that it is unlikely to be achieved. I know that in terms of patient management, there are a number of conditions that we are expected to have knowledge of, but not expected to be able to manage.
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    (Original post by acook59)
    All sounds good. What about funding? Do you get tuition fee loans and living maintenance loans? Otherwise how would you be able to afford it?
    So the university delayed the start date of the course for this very reason. We were originally signed up to do a PGdip, the student loans company then released that they would loan £10k for students wishing to study a masters, so they delayed it by 6months to change it so that more students had the opportunity to study it.

    It is expensive. £10k still means you would have to independently cover £8k for your fees alone. I know a lot of students applied for another 10k loan from an education service (I can find out which if you want) for further studying which they had no problem getting.

    We have been offered sponsorship from local hospital trusts with an agreement that they pay for your fees and you work with them for a period of time following qualification. This wasn't available for everyone though so better to have a financial plan either way.

    I saved before I started and worked weekends alongside- not ideal as it is incredibly intense but needs must!
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    (Original post by bmd2)
    We queried it as well, especially as the course is open to all students who have studied a clinical or science related undergraduate degree but not necessarily biomedicine- I have a social sciences background so it went way over my head! I showed my med student friend who also said they weren't studying it in anywhere near the level we were, but the module leaders insisted we just had to get on with it because it is a masters.

    Its probably because it is technically a higher level qualification (level 7 as opposed to level 6). All of our modules are masters level apart from pharmacology. Or in our university we were taught by the biomed department so they may have just seen "masters level" and not thought about what we actually need to know.
    What's the rationale behind needing to know postgraduate level basic science to be a PA?

    Is this actually documented anywhere or is it anecdotal/hearsay?
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    So were they able to get loans to cover the tuition fees and to cover living expenses? I'm not sure how you'd do the course otherwise!

    (Original post by bmd2)
    So the university delayed the start date of the course for this very reason. We were originally signed up to do a PGdip, the student loans company then released that they would loan £10k for students wishing to study a masters, so they delayed it by 6months to change it so that more students had the opportunity to study it.

    It is expensive. £10k still means you would have to independently cover £8k for your fees alone. I know a lot of students applied for another 10k loan from an education service (I can find out which if you want) for further studying which they had no problem getting.

    We have been offered sponsorship from local hospital trusts with an agreement that they pay for your fees and you work with them for a period of time following qualification. This wasn't available for everyone though so better to have a financial plan either way.

    I saved before I started and worked weekends alongside- not ideal as it is incredibly intense but needs must!
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    (Original post by Democracy)
    What's the rationale behind needing to know postgraduate level basic science to be a PA?

    Is this actually documented anywhere or is it anecdotal/hearsay?
    Not sure about whether it's needed as such. It's a postgraduate qualification, so I'm sure they can't teach you basic level science and then say you achieved a masters. To get the MSc you need 180 credits with at least 150 of them being M level and 30 can be level 6 (in ours this is pharmacology).
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    (Original post by acook59)
    So were they able to get loans to cover the tuition fees and to cover living expenses? I'm not sure how you'd do the course otherwise!
    Not unless they did it privately! Have to work alongside the degree or save up beforehand I guess!
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    (Original post by bmd2)
    Not sure about whether it's needed as such. It's a postgraduate qualification, so I'm sure they can't teach you basic level science and then say you achieved a masters. To get the MSc you need 180 credits with at least 150 of them being M level and 30 can be level 6 (in ours this is pharmacology).
    Lol.

    Basic science means preclinical sciences like anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, and pharmacology. The word basic here means it's the basis of medical science i.e. the fundamentals or the foundation, not that it's easy or rudimentary.

    So again, why would a PA student need to know preclinical medicine to postgraduate level to do their job, when a medical student i.e. future doctor needs to know it to undergraduate level?
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    So if you can get a career development loan and a graduate loan, about 20k in total, how am I gonna afford to eat and to live?
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    (Original post by acook59)
    So if you can get a career development loan and a graduate loan, about 20k in total, how am I gonna afford to eat and to live?
    Work weekends or save money beforehand- that's the only advice I have! As far as I'm aware, funding is poor for all postgraduate qualifications unfortunately.
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    That's so crap! Aside from graduate medicine I guess :-(
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    How did u fund ur PA course?
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    (Original post by bmd2)
    Work weekends or save money beforehand- that's the only advice I have! As far as I'm aware, funding is poor for all postgraduate qualifications unfortunately.
    Thanks for writing all of this down! It's really difficult to find first-hand experience of the course. Luckily, I've been saving ever since I graduated (after paying off my overdraft) so I'll be able to afford the first year as long as nothing drastic happens.

    I'm applying to the September '17/Jan '18 start and I'm currently writing my personal statement(s). Do you have a tips?
    If it's ok with you, would you mind taking a quick look at it when I'm done as well?
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    (Original post by acook59)
    How did u fund ur PA course?
    I saved beforehand so have eaten into my savings a bit (It was meant to be a deposit fund!).

    (Original post by neom)
    Thanks for writing all of this down! It's really difficult to find first-hand experience of the course. Luckily, I've been saving ever since I graduated (after paying off my overdraft) so I'll be able to afford the first year as long as nothing drastic happens.

    I'm applying to the September '17/Jan '18 start and I'm currently writing my personal statement(s). Do you have a tips?
    If it's ok with you, would you mind taking a quick look at it when I'm done as well?
    That's awesome news! It really does take that pressure off if you don't have to worry about finance too. Yeah of course, no problem. I used online resources for a good structure for my personal statement- most were American and lots of cheesiness, but helpful nonetheless. Make sure you check the university application process thoroughly, they may want you to refer to specific things in your statement. Get all of your experience in but make sure you refer to why it is relevant and what it has taught you. I cant think of anything else off the top of my head but if anything comes up then just message me and happy to look over it for you Can even send you mine if it helps?
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    Does it matter which university you get in to for PA? Does the universities league standing matter to you guys?
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    (Original post by vka94)
    Does it matter which university you get in to for PA? Does the universities league standing matter to you guys?
    I would suggest to study on a uni that already has a medical degree. I feel like they usually base the PA course on their existing medicine course and graduates are more likely to be taught as med students
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    Hi,

    For those doing a PA course, just wondering what made you decide to do that over Medicine?
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    (Original post by daisydaisy56)
    Hi,

    For those doing a PA course, just wondering what made you decide to do that over Medicine?
    To be completely honest, my thought process was that medicine is competitive- especially grad entry. I was limited to where I applied by my Alevels and didn't want to spend 2/3yrs applying and find myself still working as an emergency care assistant at the end of it all.
    The PA role is a great alternative- you are essentially doing a junior doctor role for a good pay rate (before I get jumped on like I have done in other threads- there are some differences especially in responsibility and being able to request X-rays etc. But you are taught to diagnose and manage a specific set of illnesses- not all)

    Pros: The training isn't as long (2yr masters), the role is flexible- you can stay in one department for years and decide to move to another very easily and not drop back to square one like you do as a doctor, less responsibility- this could be a pro or a con depending on the individual but as an emergency care assistant I can go home and sleep easy after a shift on the ambulance whereas a paramedic may worry about whether they should have discharged on scene etc. Good pay.

    Cons: No current progression- only PA to senior PA, less responsibility, the role of a PA is variable between trusts and not well understood or known by staff or public.. Yet! No current regulation (although this is due to be discussed by government this year).


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