This programme of study, skills development and placement experience allows you to build upon a first degree in biosciences, life sciences or health sciences in order to function as a qualified physician associate.
The programme teaches you to assess, diagnose and manage medical problems competently, consulting with patients presenting with a variety of specified conditions on behalf of, and under supervision of, a senior experienced doctor.
By the end of the programme, you will be able to deliver holistic medical care and treatment to a standard defined by the National Examination for Physician Associates, which will enable you to work in either Primary or Secondary Care.
The programme consists of eight taught modules.
On successful completion of the programme, students will receive a Post Graduate Diploma in Physician Associate Studies, but will also need to sit a National Examination comprising a written paper and OSCE examination, set by the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians, in order to be able to practise in the NHS.
On passing the National Examinations, the graduate can be registered on the National Register (currently a Voluntary Register but awaiting accreditation and appointment of a Regulatory Body). The graduate can only work as a physician associate in the NHS if he/she is on this National Register.
Example module listing
The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
Physician associates support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients. As a physician associate, you might work in a GP surgery or be based in a hospital, but wherever you work, you'll have direct contact with patients.
You’ll be trained to perform a number of day-to- day tasks including:
To understand what a physician associate does on a day-to- day basis, Health Education England have produced this informative Day in the Life of a Physician Associate video.
This programme will be delivered through collaboration with Health Education Kent, Surrey and Sussex and engagement with Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), Canterbury and Christchurch University (CCU) and the University of Kent.
The majority of teaching, however, will be conducted by Surrey staff and local NHS clinicians. The four HEIs (including Surrey) may share facilities in areas of individual specialist expertise, although teaching will be conducted by Surrey staff.
Working with local NHS Trusts (primary and community care, acute, secondary care and mental health) will enable elements including work-based assessments and summative assessments (the clinical OSCEs).
The University of Surrey is part of the Surrey Health Partners Alliance, bringing together NHS Trusts in Surrey with the University to enhance learning and teaching, research and clinical practice.
The local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs, covering GP practices) and NHS Health Trusts (covering hospitals, community care and psychiatric care) are all represented fully within Surrey Health Partners.
Following successful graduation from this Diploma course, you will need to sit the National Assessment for Physician Associates, set by the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians, London.
Passing the National Assessment will allow you to be put onto the National Register for Physician Associates, so that you can practise clinically in the UK.
The predicted growth of the physician associate role across the NHS to fill an important resource gap indicates strong continued employment prospects for graduates. Physician associates will pursue a profession that is supported by the NHS and the Department of Health: over 30 hospitals currently employ PAs across the UK and the numbers are growing fast.
Health Education Kent, Surrey and Sussex aims to produce PAs who can work in primary as well as secondary care.
The overarching educational aim of the programme is to train graduates with a first degree in Biosciences, Life Sciences or Health Sciences, or suitable approved programme, to Post Graduate Diploma level, to function as a qualified physician associate (on passing the National Examination).
Physician associates will be able to:
This training includes the necessary knowledge, skills and professional attitudes needed to work to the medical model, demonstrating safe medical practice, medical competence, compassion, reflective and critical thinking in diagnostic reasoning and clinical management.
Graduates will be able to assess, diagnose and manage medical problems competently, consulting with patients presenting with a variety of specified conditions on behalf of, and under supervision of a senior experienced doctor.
They will be able to understand and demonstrate the principles of safe and effective prescribing.
Graduates will be trained to a standard defined by the National Examination for Physician Associates that will enable them to work as physician associates in the National Health Service, with appropriate accreditation and regulation once these have been decided and implemented.
This course is suitable for graduates with a life science degree or similar qualification. It enables you to build on your previous studies and gain a healthcare professional qualification.
Physician associates are a growing group within the UK and are seen as one of the solutions to recruitment challenges within medicine, particularly in general practice. There are excellent job prospects for qualified physician associates as the role continues to evolve in response to changing healthcare needs.
The course provides you with opportunities to develop expert medical knowledge and skills in taking medical histories, examining patients, providing a diagnosis, analysing results and developing management plans and pathways. The course meets the expectations of Competence and Curriculum Framework for the PA (DH 2006, revised 2012) (CCF).
Learning takes place in the classroom, in simulated clinical learning suites and whilst on clinical placement. We give you the unique opportunity to work with students on other healthcare professional courses, such as nursing and physiotherapy.
You complete over 1,600 hours of clinical placements during the two year course. You learn in general hospital settings in medicine and surgery, as well as specialised areas such as paediatrics and mental health, and in primary care in GP surgeries. You attend clinical placements within a month of starting the course, and placements are integrated throughout the two years so that you are able to apply theoretical learning to the real world of practice and the care of patients. Your first and final placement take place in the same GP surgery and you are able to maintain a relationship with your GP supervisor throughout the two years for mentoring and support. A final three month placement in general practice also provides you with an ideal environment to prepare for the National Examination at the end of the course.
After successfully completing the course, you are able to apply for innovative roles throughout the UK, joining a growing body of physician associates in rich and varied employment.
Full-time – typically two years
Starts January 2018. You are required to attend a compulsory study day in November 2017 (date to be confirmed).
The course meets the expectations of Competence and Curriculum Framework for the PA (DH 2006, revised 2012) (CCF)
The curriculum content is structured into modules which develop your skills in professional practice, clinical assessment and treatment and underpinning knowledge. Learning takes place in the classroom, in clinical simulation suites and in the real world of healthcare.
In addition you have access to online/distance learning resources to support and enhance your learning experience.
It is expected that graduates from this course will have access to a wide range of healthcare roles, working under the supervision of a medical practitioner. For example, there are physician associates employed in GP surgeries in the Yorkshire region, in medicine and surgery settings in acute healthcare and in specialised areas of medicine.
Typically, graduate physician associates are employed on band 7 in NHS posts and can progress to band 8. For more information about a career as a physician associate visit the NHS Careers website.
The 2-year PG Diploma program uses a multi-disciplinary, research-informed approach to teach clinical and basic science related to the human systems (cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, female reproductive, renal and genitourinary, the eyes, and skin) and diagnostics & therapeutics.
The scientific background is taught in the context of clinical placements in Community Medicine, General Hospital Medicine, Front Door Medicine, Mental Health, General Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Paediatrics.
Successful completion of the 2 year PG Diploma enables graduates to take the national certification exam, which is mandatory to register and work as a Physician Associate.
Students benefit from a strong exposure to clinicians and scientists with active research in medically related subjects.
The program is delivered by the Physician Associate Faculty that brings together clinicians and other experts from across the disciplines of primary and secondary medical care. The course content reflects the curriculum and learning requirements for the Physician Associate framework (PA CC 2012).
The Physician Associate programme at Bangor includes an integrated placement programme of work-based learning that will provide progressive experiential learning in a range of clinical settings to allow students to attain the standards of knowledge and understanding in clinical practice, including regulatory structures, professionalism and clinical competences expected of a Physician Associate. Placements will be grouped according to the following clinical subject headings and minimum periods:
During the course you will learn how to recognise and manage common and complex medical conditions as part of multi-professional team, to make independent and informed judgements on clinical problems and be trained to integrate knowledge and clinical practice. As a Physician Associate graduate you’ll be able to demonstrate outstanding interpersonal and professional skills when working with patients, carers and clinical multi-disciplinary teams in a multicultural environment. You will also have a comprehensive understating of I.T., record keeping and communication using a diverse range of media in evidence based practice and understand the importance of health promotion, disease prevention and inequalities in society and local communities.
The programme aims to give students a comprehensive knowledge of the concepts, principles and technologies used in clinical practice in the following areas:
On successful completion of the course, you’ll have gained the key knowledge related to practice as a physician associate, including major concepts related to the principles and theories associated with human anatomy and physiology, cell biology, body/system-drug actions and interactions, mechanisms underlying human pathological conditions and the basis of the clinical and technological methods used to diagnose and monitor these conditions. You be able to demonstrate the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment in the medical domain including history taking and consultation skills, and physical examinations tailored to the needs of the patient and the demands of the clinical situation. You’ll also be able to demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the needs of patients/clients, and decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts.
Teaching occurs via lectures, clinical placements, practical classes and group work including case centred discussions often delivered by academic clinicians who hold joint University and Health board contracts. Students benefit from a high number of contact hours that includes utilisation of our state-of-the art teaching laboratories and simulation suite at the hospital. Academic assessment includes placement reports, observed clinical skills, MCQ and written exams.