Guardians0111
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Hi

Could someone tell me more about the job role of a physician associate? What is the job like? Do doctors actually work alongside these PA's? (ecolier do you?)
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geekypepper
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Physician associates serve much needed role in the NHS but aren't widely used at present. They are significantly restricted in what they can do and there is zero career progression. It would be a really good role if you were planning on doing medicine afterwards. I've worked with a few PAs and generally they feel they have been misled by the universities into believing it's more than it actually is. However, if you're looking for a quick conversion course into a career... Albeit a fairly static one... Then it might be worthwhile
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Guardians0111
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(Original post by geekypepper)
Physician associates serve much needed role in the NHS but aren't widely used at present. They are significantly restricted in what they can do and there is zero career progression. It would be a really good role if you were planning on doing medicine afterwards. I've worked with a few PAs and generally they feel they have been misled by the universities into believing it's more than it actually is. However, if you're looking for a quick conversion course into a career... Albeit a fairly static one... Then it might be worthwhile
Right okay. I wanted to do medicine but I don't think I'm good enough to be a doctor so I thought this would be a good option after doing an undergraduate degree. What can the PAs do?
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geekypepper
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https://www.fparcp.co.uk/about-fpa/W...ian-associates

The information is all out there tbh, just need to Google it. Get some work experience and speak to some PAs and PA students - just contact the universities
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Guardians0111
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I've just found this though? "As an experienced physician associate you may be able to move into management, medical teaching or research. Many physician associates work in general practice or emergency care, though it could be possible to specialise in a specific clinical area like paediatric care or mental health."
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ecolier
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(Original post by geekypepper)
Physician associates serve much needed role in the NHS but aren't widely used at present.
Sure but there is a lot of scope for expansaion - it's still a relatively new profession after all. It's actually an advantage because it means there are currently vacancies everywhere.

They are significantly restricted in what they can do and there is zero career progression.
Getting better - there are plans for prescription courses and PAs to request imaging.

In terms of career progression - (internship) PAs will start on Band 6 in a hospital setting (for the first couple of years) and then move to Band 7.

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-prof...cian-associate

There is also scope of senior PAs to be involved in management or teaching, as @Guardians0111 said. That could significantly raised their salary and move theminto the Band 8s. Again, time will tell but I would expect them to be similar to senior ANPs and matrons who can move onto office-based roles.

(Original post by Guardians0111)
I've just found this though? "As an experienced physician associate you may be able to move into management, medical teaching or research. Many physician associates work in general practice or emergency care, though it could be possible to specialise in a specific clinical area like paediatric care or mental health."
I do work with PAs and teach PA students - as per your first message. PAs are basically similar to junior doctors - some are even on the SHO or registrars' rota. They are predominantly one-area-based, so constantly in a ward or in the GP.
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Guardians0111
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(Original post by ecolier)
Sure but there is a lot of scope for expansaion - it's still a relatively new profession after all. It's actually an advantage because it means there are currently vacancies everywhere.



Getting better - there are plans for prescription courses and PAs to request imaging.

In terms of career progression - (internship) PAs will start on Band 6 in a hospital setting (for the first couple of years) and then move to Band 7.

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-prof...cian-associate

There is also scope of senior PAs to be involved in management or teaching, as @Guardians0111 said. That could significantly raised their salary and move theminto the Band 8s. Again, time will tell but I would expect them to be similar to senior ANPs and matrons who can move onto office-based roles.



I do work with PAs and teach PA students - as per your first message. PAs are basically similar to junior doctors - some are even on the SHO or registrars' rota. They are predominantly one-area-based, so constantly in a ward or in the GP.
Thank you for this reply. Do PAs get to have pagers? I looked at their uniform and there doesn't seem to be a strict formal uniform, as in, for nursing they must wear a uniform but I can't find anything for PA's? Also, what clinical procedures do PA's get to do? Or is it very much like nurses where they can only give medications, take cannulas out, put/take out catheters etc? Sorry so many questions! Hope you're having a good day
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Guardians0111
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ecolier I also watched this video and this looks amazing. Once you do the master degree to become a PA, how do you specialise?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNBzgteWdGs (Neurosurgery )
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ecolier
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(Original post by Guardians0111)
Thank you for this reply. Do PAs get to have pagers?
Depends on the hospital, the department and the shift they are working.

I personally don't have a pager even when I am on-call! I just get a call on my mobile phone since the hospital switchboard knows my number.

I looked at their uniform and there doesn't seem to be a strict formal uniform, as in, for nursing they must wear a uniform but I can't find anything for PA's?
Again this depends on the hospital and the department.

With COVID-19 everyone has to wear scrubs in the hospital at the moment, but at our hospital even before this - the PAs have a uniform (like scrubs but it says "PA" on the front and back).

Also, what clinical procedures do PA's get to do? Or is it very much like nurses where they can only give medications, take cannulas out, put/take out catheters etc? Sorry so many questions! Hope you're having a good day
Junior doctor procedures. The RCP says:

PAs have trained in several core procedural skills, and have been assessed as competent to perform these at qualification. Some of these include:

> venepuncture and blood culture sampling
> cannulation
> arterial gas sampling
> catheterisation (male and female)
> peak flow examination
> urine dip stick.

Training pathway for extended skills

As part of mutual agreement between a PA and their clinical supervisor, PAs may be trained in a range of extended skills over a period of time. Information on extended skills being undertaken by UK PAs is collected annually by the FPA in its annual census. These extended skills include:

> ascitic drain insertion or tap
> backslab application
> lumbar puncture
> fracture reduction
> surgical first assisting
> joint aspiration/injection
> nerve blocks
> pleural tap
> incision and drainage of abscesses.

(Original post by Guardians0111)
ecolier I also watched this video and this looks amazing. Once you do the master degree to become a PA, how do you specialise?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNBzgteWdGs (Neurosurgery )
Most PAs do an internship job with rotations as I stated above - during this time you may be rotated to work at Medical Admissions Unit, Elderly care ward, Surgical wards etc. You can then apply to work in your preferred area (which may be out of the hospital, like GP surgeries) - that's your "specialising".

There is no further progression like junior doctor specialty training.
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Guardians0111
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(Original post by ecolier)
Depends on the hospital, the department and the shift they are working.

I personally don't have a pager even when I am on-call! I just get a call on my mobile phone since the hospital switchboard knows my number.



Again this depends on the hospital and the department.

With COVID-19 everyone has to wear scrubs in the hospital at the moment, but at our hospital even before this - the PAs have a uniform (like scrubs but it says "PA" on the front and back).



Junior doctor procedures. The RCP says:

PAs have trained in several core procedural skills, and have been assessed as competent to perform these at qualification. Some of these include:

> venepuncture and blood culture sampling
> cannulation
> arterial gas sampling
> catheterisation (male and female)
> peak flow examination
> urine dip stick.

Training pathway for extended skills

As part of mutual agreement between a PA and their clinical supervisor, PAs may be trained in a range of extended skills over a period of time. Information on extended skills being undertaken by UK PAs is collected annually by the FPA in its annual census. These extended skills include:

> ascitic drain insertion or tap
> backslab application
> lumbar puncture
> fracture reduction
> surgical first assisting
> joint aspiration/injection
> nerve blocks
> pleural tap
> incision and drainage of abscesses.



Most PAs do an internship job with rotations as I stated above - during this time you may be rotated to work at Medical Admissions Unit, Elderly care ward, Surgical wards etc. You can then apply to work in your preferred area (which may be out of the hospital, like GP surgeries) - that's your "specialising".

There is no further progression like junior doctor specialty training.
Thank you so much for all this information. What are your thoughts of being a PA for having a career? Would you recommend someone to become a PA?

Another thing I've thought of briefly is that becoming a pa takes two years in terms of the degree. Would it be beneficial to actually study medicine as it takes another two years? (and of course, you're only a junior doctor after gem but would it be better..)
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ecolier
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(Original post by Guardians0111)
Thank you so much for all this information. What are your thoughts of being a PA for having a career? Would you recommend someone to become a PA?
It's a good career choice and yes I would recommend it. Most of my PA friends are happy doing what they are doing - but some are consider graduate entry medicine.

Another thing I've thought of briefly is that becoming a pa takes two years in terms of the degree.
PA undergrad is 4 years. PA Masters is 2 years after you have done a 3 year degree.

GEM is 4 years but only available to degree holders.

Standard undergrad medicine is 5 years for most med schools.

Would it be beneficial to actually study medicine as it takes another two years?
It doesn't work that way - you can be a PA now and you'd still have to study 4 years in the GEM course to become a doctor.

There are plans for an "accelerated course" just for PAs and ANPs that may take a year off that, but these are just talked about and not concrete.
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Guardians0111
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(Original post by ecolier)
It's a good career choice and yes I would recommend it. Most of my PA friends are happy doing what they are doing - but some are consider graduate entry medicine.



PA undergrad is 4 years. PA Masters is 2 years after you have done a 3 year degree.

GEM is 4 years but only available to degree holders.

Standard undergrad medicine is 5 years for most med schools.



It doesn't work that way - you can be a PA now and you'd still have to study 4 years in the GEM course to become a doctor.

There are plans for an "accelerated course" just for PAs and ANPs that may take a year off that, but these are just talked about and not concrete.
How come they're considering GEM? Or just personal prefrences?

When I meant going onto GEM, I meant, instead of doing PA just doing GEM as PA takes two years post-grad and GEM is 4.

Do PA's do 12 hour shifts etc? I would really appreciate this, do you think you could give a rundown of a typical day for a pa from a perspective of your friends?
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ecolier
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(Original post by Guardians0111)
How come they're considering GEM? Or just personal prefrences?
Personal preference.

When I meant going onto GEM, I meant, instead of doing PA just doing GEM as PA takes two years post-grad and GEM is 4.
Oh right, you mean the difference I understand now. It's your choice, but I think some PA courses are part- or fully-funded (AHP bursary?) but GEM is also part-funded (I think you have to pay something like £3500 per year).

And of course, GEM is extremely competitive - without this competition problem I envisage most people would go for it!

Do PA's do 12 hour shifts etc? I would really appreciate this, do you think you could give a rundown of a typical day for a pa from a perspective of your friends?
They can do on-calls, but a lot of the PAs I work with do not actually do many on-call shifts as opposed to junior doctors. The advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) tend to do them - some have special titles like "night nurse practitioners".

A typical shift for a hospital PA is usually just 9-5 on the wards, or 9-9 if they are doing a long day or night (not as often as junior docs). As I said, they are usually based in one area of the hospital.

The work they do, depend on the specialty but it's mostly ward work (which can include clerking new patients, making a management plan, going around with the senior doctors to confirm said plan, requesting investigations, doing the basic procedures as I mentioned above, and doing discharge letters. They can't prescribe yet, and it's frowned-upon to write up a drug card for doctors to sign but some do it!)
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moonkatt
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Don’t think I’ve ever seen a PA outside of 9-5 though we’ve only a handful of them.
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Guardians0111
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(Original post by ecolier)
Personal preference.



Oh right, you mean the difference I understand now. It's your choice, but I think some PA courses are part- or fully-funded (AHP bursary?) but GEM is also part-funded (I think you have to pay something like £3500 per year).

And of course, GEM is extremely competitive - without this competition problem I envisage most people would go for it!



They can do on-calls, but a lot of the PAs I work with do not actually do many on-call shifts as opposed to junior doctors. The advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) tend to do them - some have special titles like "night nurse practitioners".

A typical shift for a hospital PA is usually just 9-5 on the wards, or 9-9 if they are doing a long day or night (not as often as junior docs). As I said, they are usually based in one area of the hospital.

The work they do, depend on the specialty but it's mostly ward work (which can include clerking new patients, making a management plan, going around with the senior doctors to confirm said plan, requesting investigations, doing the basic procedures as I mentioned above, and doing discharge letters. They can't prescribe yet, and it's frowned-upon to write up a drug card for doctors to sign but some do it!)
I guess you could do an undergraduate degree, then post-grad and become an AP. Say do it for ten years and then think about doing graduate entry medicine to further career progression? Or is that honestly a long old stupid route to think about?

Yes there is funding, the only issue is the undergraduate course I'm thinking of is already a masters so I would not get funding.

Even if it's competitive, it's not impossible. Right?

Thank you for the run-through of a typical day as a pa
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ecolier
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(Original post by Guardians0111)
I guess you could do an undergraduate degree, then post-grad and become an AP. Say do it for ten years and then think about doing graduate entry medicine to further career progression? Or is that honestly a long old stupid route to think about?
It's not stupid. I wouldn't call PA to doctor a career progression either - it's a different profession altogether.

Yes there is funding, the only issue is the undergraduate course I'm thinking of is already a masters so I would not get funding.

Even if it's competitive, it's not impossible. Right?...
Not impossible, and certainly easier if you apply strategically - however without the competition a lot more PAs will probably have done GEM instead!
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Guardians0111
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(Original post by ecolier)
It's not stupid. I wouldn't call PA to doctor a career progression either - it's a different profession altogether.



Not impossible, and certainly easier if you apply strategically - however without the competition a lot more PAs will probably have done GEM instead!
What ways can you apply strategically for gem?
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ecolier
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(Original post by Guardians0111)
What ways can you apply strategically for gem?
Depending on your degree classification, what degree you did, whether you did A-Levels, what your UCAT / GAMSAT scores are like etc.
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Guardians0111
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(Original post by ecolier)
Depending on your degree classification, what degree you did, whether you did A-Levels, what your UCAT / GAMSAT scores are like etc.
I know I haven't got the degree yet but just hypothetically:

Degree classification: 2:1

Degree: Masters in Nursing

A levels: Btec ( ) in health and social care DDD

GCSEs: are not the best.. mostly 5s and 6s

Sorry i'm probably wasting your time here.
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ecolier
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(Original post by Guardians0111)
I know I haven't got the degree yet but just hypothetically:

Degree classification: 2:1

Degree: Masters in Nursing

A levels: Btec ( ) in health and social care DDD

GCSEs: are not the best.. mostly 5s and 6s

Sorry i'm probably wasting your time here.
:lol: You are waaaay too early. Come back when you are in second year :rofl: A lot will depend on your UCAT and GAMSAT scores too!
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