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Masters Degrees (Physician Assistant)

We have 8 Masters Degrees (Physician Assistant)

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Physician Associates are healthcare professionals that support doctors in diagnosing and managing patient treatment. The PG Dip in Physician Associate Studies in Swansea is one of the first courses of its kind in Wales. Read more
Physician Associates are healthcare professionals that support doctors in diagnosing and managing patient treatment. The PG Dip in Physician Associate Studies in Swansea is one of the first courses of its kind in Wales. Developed as a collaborative venture between Swansea University Medical School and the College of Human and Health Science this integrated two year course will teach students the knowledge and clinical skills they require to pass the National Certification Examination and start work as a Physician Associate.

Key Features of the Physician Associate Studies Programme

Students will spend the majority of Year 1 of the Physician Associate Studies course undertaking university based theory and practical sessions with some early clinical exposure to the working environment . Teaching will be divided into four week blocks according to body systems and Anatomy and Clinical Skills teaching will be integrated into this structure. Teaching will be case based and will involve a combination of lectures, seminars, project work and small group learning.

Year 2 of the Physician Associate Studies course is largely spent on clinical placements, with students applying their learning in the care of real patients under the supervision of a clinically qualified mentor. Students will have to work towards an agreed level of competence at a range of clinical skills and must be assessed as safe and competent in those skills. The “Competence and Curriculum Framework for the Physician Assistant (2012)” prescribes, to a large extent, the range of clinical environments in which students will spend their placements.

Physician Associate Studies students will be provided with the opportunities to:

1. seek out and recognise the clinical applications of their theoretical learning
2. apply learning within the practice setting
3. reflect on practice to identify their individual learning needs
4. develop clinical reasoning skills
5. develop a range of practical skills
6. recognise, in practice, those principles, assumptions, beliefs and theories which shape that practice
7. work effectively with patients and where appropriate with carers
8. work within a clear understanding of the limitations of their knowledge and skills

The modular structure for Year 1 comprises two 40 credit modules delivered by Swansea University Medical School ( SUMS) and three modules delivered by the College of Human and Health Science (CHHS) with a combined value of 40 credits. The knowledge based module (Foundations in Clinical Medicine for Physician Associates) will be assessed by two summative Progress Tests. The “Physician Associate Clinical Skills” module will be assessed by Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE's). The CHHS modules are “An introduction to Sociology and Psychology for Physician Associates” ( 10 credits), “An introduction to Health Care Law and Ethics for Physician Associates” ( 10 credits) and “An introduction to Research, Evidence based practice and Reflection for Physician Associates” ( 20 credits) The CHHS modules will be assessed by a combination of essays, a research presentation and a reflective portfolio.

The modular structure for Year 2 contains two 40 credit modules delivered by SUMS. The “Foundations in Clinical Medicine” module will be assessed by two summative Progress Tests. The “Clinical Skills” module will be assessed by two OSCE's as well as workplace based assessments (Mini-CEX) and satisfactory completion of the learning log. The CHHS modules are” Public Health and Epidemiology for Physician Associates” ( 10 credits), “Learning,Teaching and Assessing for Physician Associates” (10 credits) and “Critical reflection for Physician Associates” (20 credits) The CHHS modules will be assessed by a combination of an essay, a presentation, a written narrative and completion of a reflective portfolio.

The Physician Associate Studies course is designed so that all examinations and assessments, including supplementaries, will be concluded by the end of August allowing students to be ready to sit the National Certification Examination for Physician Associates in early September.

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This intensive and exciting new programme provides all the essential skills and knowledge necessary to become a Physician Associate in the UK. Read more

About the course

This intensive and exciting new programme provides all the essential skills and knowledge necessary to become a Physician Associate in the UK. In addition, it provides the challenges of enhanced knowledge synthesis and research to produce academic clinicians equipped to lead and develop the profession.

The Department of Health's Competence and Curriculum Framework for the Physician Assistant (now Physician Associate) defines the Physician Associate as:

…a new healthcare professional who, while not a doctor, works to the medical model, with the attitudes, skills and knowledge base to deliver holistic care and treatment within the general medical and/or general practice team under defined levels of supervision.

Physician Associates (PAs) are part of a new and growing profession within the NHS. PAs work alongside doctors in hospitals and GP surgeries to provide safe and quality care to patients. PAs, under supervision of doctors, may obtain medical histories, perform physical examinations, carry out diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, request and interpret test results, diagnose illnesses and develop treatment and management plans.

The Physician Associate MSc programme includes over 1,800 hours of professional practice and will fully prepare you to practise in a wide variety of specialties and settings. Currently PAs work in General Practice, Emergency Medicine, and multiple Adult Medical and Surgical specialties.

Successful completion of the Physician Associate MSc programme provides eligibility to sit for the Physician Associate National Examination and join the Managed Voluntary Register.

If you are considering studying the Physician Associate MSc Programme at Brunel University London then you are committed to working jointly with the NHS to demonstrate the values and beliefs of the constitution.

NHS Values
Patients, public and staff have helped develop this expression of values that inspire passion in the NHS and that should underpin everything it does. Individual organisations will develop and build upon these values, tailoring them to their local needs. The NHS values provide common ground for co-operation to achieve shared aspirations, at all levels of the NHS.

Aims

The aim of the Physician Associate MSc programme is to prepare you as a medical professional who strives for excellence in clinical practice. To achieve this aim, the programme provides you with a strong scientific foundation and encourages the development of excellent practical and clinical reasoning skills. All of this is essential for you to treat patients safely and effectively.

The programme also provides you with the means to critically evaluate your own patient care – a skill which is vital to continuing evidence-based practice. A sound working knowledge of research methodology provides the basis for this evaluation process and also the tools to develop your own research interests at any stage of your professional career.

In addition, it helps develop vital communication skills and soundly embeds the essential core values of professionalism. Indeed, the Master's programme aims to produce highly professional graduates with excellent communication skills. Graduates are able to function as adaptable clinicians and fully interactive members of the multidisciplinary health care team within a changing health and social care setting.

Course Content

Our Physician Associate Master's course is an exciting and innovative modular programme, delivered full-time over two years.
Applicants should be aware that the programme is delivered over a period 45 weeks in Year 1 and 48 weeks in Year 2. In addition the course is intense, with significant contact hours. Students should expect to be studying on campus from 9am - 6pm five days a week. All students must be ready to assume responsibility for their own learning.

Clinical placements will start in the first term of Year 1 with weekly one-day GP placements. In Year 2 the majority of time will be spent on clinical placement in various practice settings. You should broadly expect to adopt the working patterns of the supervising clinician (clinical educator). Generally, you are expected to complete 42 weeks of clinical experience. You should expect to be working roughly a 40-hour week whilst on placement.

Compulsory Modules:

Foundations of Clinical Medicine (Year 1 & 2)
Personal and Professional Development for the Physician Associate (Year 1 & 2)
Applied Pharmacology (Year 1)
Principles and Practice of Evidence-Based Healthcare (Year 1)
Approaches to Research (Year 1)
Dissertation (Year 1 & 2)
PA Applied Clinical Knowledge & Skills (Year 2)

For the award of MSc Physician Associate, students must pass the UK Physician Associate National Certification Examination.

Work Placements

Clinical placements will include rotations in the following areas:

• Accident and Emergency
• Acute Medicine
• General Practice
• Mental Health
• Obstetrics and Gynaecology
• Paediatrics
• Surgery
• Electives

Whilst on placements you will be supervised by doctors and physician associates. You will be assessed on placement by your supervising clinician(s). The assessment score from clinical placement modules will contribute to your final degree classification.

All clinical placement modules are organised on the student's behalf by the clinical co-ordination team. This allows us to provide you with a balanced clinical experience both in terms of the specialties/patient groups you have worked with and the range of health care setting you have worked in. It is important that you are exposed to a variety of health settings, which are reflective of current clinical practice.

We are sympathetic to your needs when we assign clinical placements. However, we are unable to guarantee that any student will be located close to their home or term-time address and you may have to commute or live away from home for the duration of a placement or two. We do try to give special consideration to students whose personal circumstances fall within specified criteria, ie they have young children, are a main carer, or have a declared disability etc.

Teaching

A mix of teaching/learning approaches are used including: classroom based learning, problem/evidence-based learning, peer-assisted learning, clinical practice learning, independent learning, e-learning, assimilated learning in clinical labs, and the use of trained teaching associates for intimate examinations. Emphasis will be placed on active student participation, reflection and learning.

As a Physician Associate MSc student we expect you to come to us with specific academic skills and abilities. Your learning will rapidly become self-directed. We will build upon your ability to perform literature searches and critically appraise the evidence base and so prepare you for your commitment to continued professional development and lifelong learning after qualifying.

Assessment

Assessments will include single best answer/multiple choice questions papers and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) to begin early preparation for the National Examination. Other assessments will include written assignments, oral presentations, reflection papers, and a portfolio of evidence.

All modules must be passed in order to proceed through the course. Normally students will have two attempts at passing each assessment.

Special Features

You’ll study in purpose-built facilities in our multi-million pound health sciences building and you’ll share elements of your course with Master’s students from other health-related disciplines.

You’ll enjoy our campus university, where you’re never more than a ten minute walk from halls of residence, catering, social, sports and study facilities, lecture theatres, the Library and support services.

You’ll be taught by experts in delivering accredited programmes such as Biosciences, Occupational therapy and Physiotherapy.

You’ll complete 1800 hours of clinical placement during the course.

On successful completion of the Physician Associate MSc programme, you will be eligible to sit for the Physician Associate National Examination and join the Managed Voluntary Register.

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Physician Associate (formerly known as Physician Assistant) is a rapidly growing healthcare role in the UK, working alongside doctors in hospitals and in GP surgeries. Read more

Physician Associate (formerly known as Physician Assistant) is a rapidly growing healthcare role in the UK, working alongside doctors in hospitals and in GP surgeries. Physician Associates support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients. They are trained to perform a number of roles including: taking medical histories, performing examinations, analysing test results, and diagnosing illnesses under the direct supervision of a doctor.

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.

We also run a flexible MSc Physician Associate programme for those who already have their Postgraduate Diploma from a UK or Irish institution.

Please note: the British Physician Associate programme does not qualify you to work in the USA.

Course details

The University of Birmingham has been training Physician Associates (formerly Physician Assistants) since January 2008.  As one of the longest running programmes in the country, we are delighted to offer this opportunity to graduates to make a valuable contribution to the nation’s health. We work in partnership with hospitals and practices in the Midlands and beyond.

The development of the profession has been led by the Department of Health and has involved the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of General Practitioners as well as the profession itself through the former UK Association of Physician Associates (UKAPA) which is now the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians. University of Birmingham staff have taken a key role in the development of the programme at a national as well as a regional level in response to need identified by local healthcare providers. Successful completion of the programme will qualify you to practise as a Physician Associate in the UK.

Please note: the UK PA training programme does not qualify you to work in the USA.

The course 

The course leaders regard integration of theory and practice as fundamental to clinical learning.

  • This course is two, full time, calendar years in duration, each lasting approximately 48 weeks, plus an additional month. You can expect to be studying 50+ hours per week.
  • Theory is learned mostly through case/problem based learning and you will experience medicine in both hospital and community attachments.
  • The rich ethnic and socio-economic diversity of the 5.5 million strong West Midlands population offers unrivalled opportunities for clinical learning, with placements seeking to optimise this.
  • Right from the beginning, you will have contact with patients, as during the first term, students are placed for up to five days of clinical experience within a General Practice in either the West Midlands or beyond.  
  • This is followed by a fourteen-week hospital attachment in the second term, and a further few days of General Practice in the third term. Students will use the cases collected during the second term as the basis of their learning within the third term.
  • The second year continues the problem-based learning approach and integrates further learning and placements in Acute and Emergency Medicine, Child Health General Practice, Mental Health, Reproductive Health and Surgery.
  • Throughout the course, you will receive teaching in a variety of forms, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, group work, and bedside demonstrations. 
  • Simulation is fundamental to this course, using simulated patients (who will teach you communication and examination skills, including gynaecological and urological examination). Simulation aims both to prepare you for the clinical world and to train you in a safe, non-threatening environment.
  • Progression exams are undertaken at the nine months mark, and again at twenty-three months into the course. Students are required to pass both sets of examinations prior to entry into the National Assessment. 
  • Assessment types will include Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) paper(s), Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE), Case Write-Ups, Presentations and Professional Behaviour sign-offs. 

Regulation

All students will be registered with the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians. Graduates currently join a Managed Voluntary Register.

Learning and teaching

This is a very intense course with a large amount of knowledge and skills to acquire in a relatively short time. You will need to dedicate at least 50 hours each week to learning, much of it by yourself and with your learning set.

At the University of Birmingham we believe in very close integration between the theory learning (‘the hip is a ball and socket joints and the femur anatomy is as follows’ and clinical learning (‘when people fracture their hips it happens like this, they present like this, and your understanding of the hip anatomy enables you to understand why and how hips fracture’). You will also link theory and practice by learning, say, how to examine a hip on each other, on a simulated patient and (often) on a real patient before you see such a patient in a clinical environment.

Employability

Birmingham-trained Physician Associates have been very successful in the NHS jobs market with most of our graduates on NHS Agenda for Change Band 7 (starting at £31,383 p,a.) or higher.

Our graduates are working all across the UK (although about half have stayed in the West Midlands) and in a wide range of specialties including: general medicine, acute medicine, cardiology, paediatrics, breast surgery, trauma and orthopaedics, mental health, emergency medicine and General Practice. Many have also chosen to go into teaching and research (part-time while maintaining clinical duties), with five of our graduates currently teaching here at Birmingham.

The number of NHS Trusts and Practices seeking Physician Associates (and the average number working for each Trust/Practice) has increased rapidly throughout the last few years, and we would expect that number to continue to increase at a similar pace over the next few years.



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This is a top-up programme designed for students who have already graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Physician Assistant/Associate Studies from a UK or Irish university. This a flexible programme so you can work professionally while studying for your Masters. Read more

This is a top-up programme designed for students who have already graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Physician Assistant/Associate Studies from a UK or Irish university. This a flexible programme so you can work professionally while studying for your Masters.

Learning and teaching

You will identify a research project in liaison with a Birmingham academic. You will then be supervised through gathering the data and analysis and write-up and hopefully publication.

Employability

A Masters qualification for a PA is an important step into the higher echelons of the profession, especially for those aiming for leadership roles in the NHS or in academia.

Careers Support for Postgraduate Students

Careers Network – We can help you get ahead in the job market and develop your career

We recognise that as a postgraduate student you are likely to have specific requirements when it comes to planning for your next career step. Employers expect postgraduates to have a range of skills that exceed their subject knowledge. Careers Network offers a range of events and support services that are designed for all students, including postgraduates looking to find their niche in the job market. The Careers Network also have subject specific careers consultants and advisers for each College so you can be assured the information you receive will be relevant to your subject area. For more information visit the Careers Network website



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This programme is intended for existing health care practitioners or graduates with a science background who wish to work as part of the anaesthetic team. Read more

This programme is intended for existing health care practitioners or graduates with a science background who wish to work as part of the anaesthetic team.

The Physicians' Assistant (Anaesthesia) is a health professional who will expand the anaesthetic service and make operating theatres work more efficiently. You will work alongside other members of the anaesthetic team and under the supervision of your anaesthetist.

Course details

The programme will develop a practitioner role that enables the anaesthesia team to have more staff working differently. Presently in the UK only doctors who have had specialist training in anaesthesia can administer anaesthetics.

The PA(A) is a health professional who will expand the anaesthetic service and make operating theatres work more efficiently. You will work alongside other members of the anaesthetic team and under the supervision of your anaesthetist. 

The programme is studied over 27 months full-time which includes 24 months of academic study and clinical training, followed by 3 months of supervised practice. 

Students who have satisfactorily completed the 120 taught credits of the Postgraduate Diploma: Physicians’ Assistant (Anaesthesia) will have the option of transferring to the Physicians’ Assistant (Anaesthesia) MSc Programme. Award of the MSc will require the completion of an additional 60 credit Dissertation module, which would take the form of a research project of their own choosing. The MSc is self funded costing £1980 in 2014/2015 (subject to change each year).

Related links

For further information about the role of PA(A)s, training and entry requirements please visit the Royal College of Anaesthetists website: http://www.rcoa.ac.uk

Although they have very similar names the Physicians' Assistant (Anaesthesia) and the Physician Associate programme are very different programmes. If you are interested in joining the Physician Associate Postgraduate Diploma please visit the web pages for more information.

Learning and teaching

The programme is made up of 12 two-month blocks of teaching. Each block lasts for approximately 35 days to allow for holidays and is broken down as follows:

  • Directed self study – 70 hours
  • Small group teaching – 14 hours
  • Clinical skills teaching – 21 hours
  • Workplace experience – 140 hours

A typical week may consist of:

  • 1 2-hour tutorial
  • 2-3 days in the clinical area
  • ½ day clinical skills training
  • 1½ days self-directed study, e.g. working through the e-lectures

The blocks are as follows:

  • Block 1 – Introduction to clinical practice (1)
  • Block 2 – Introduction to clinical practice (2)
  • Block 3 – Introduction to anaesthesia
  • Block 4 – Physics in anaesthesia
  • Block 5 – The anaesthesia machine and monitoring
  • Block 6 – The heart and circulation
  • Block 7 – The airways and lungs
  • Block 8 – The kidneys, liver, endocrine system and blood
  • Block 9 – The brain and nervous system
  • Block 10 –Clinical history and examination
  • Block 11 –Management of life-threatening emergencies
  • Block 12 –Advanced practice

Employability

This programme is part of a structred training programme for the role of Physicians' Assistant (Anaesthesia) or PA(A).



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Pathologists’ Assistants (PAs) are “physician extenders” for anatomic pathologists. PAs perform delegated medical tasks under the supervision of a medically qualified pathologist. Read more
Pathologists’ Assistants (PAs) are “physician extenders” for anatomic pathologists. PAs perform delegated medical tasks under the supervision of a medically qualified pathologist. They perform initial examination, dissection, and gross description of surgically removed tissues, assist in dissection of bodies during autopsies, and perform intraoperative frozen sections. They possess highly standardized skills related to each of these procedures which allow pathologists to spend more of their time looking at slides.

The Master of Pathologists' Assistant (MDPA) program is a two year continuous course-based masters program that will include both in class work along side practicum components.

All students are considered full-time. Part-time status may be considered and must be approved by the Graduate Program Director.

History

The University of Calgary has launched a new Pathologists' Assistant (PA) M.Sc. training program as a specialization within the Medical Sciences Graduate Program starting July 2012. In 2015 the Master of Pathologists' Assistant program was fully approved through the University of Calgary and Alberta Government to start taking students in September 2016.

Career Prospects

After graduation, students are eligible to sit the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) PA board-certification examination.

The job market for board-certified PAs is excellent, with jobs available in Alberta and throughout North America.

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The aim of the Advanced Critical Care Practitioner programme is to develop a new professional able to safely fulfil a proportion of those roles currently only undertaken by medically qualified intensive care trainees in the National Health Service. Read more

The aim of the Advanced Critical Care Practitioner programme is to develop a new professional able to safely fulfil a proportion of those roles currently only undertaken by medically qualified intensive care trainees in the National Health Service

This new role is seen to be important in pioneering the shift of work, traditionally done only by doctors, to new, non-medically trained grades of staff. It also addresses the current workforce planning problems in critical care.

This programme allows students to extend their studies beyond the qualification required for registration (PG Diploma: Advanced Critical Care Practitioner) to an MSc, by satisfactorily completing a dissertation.

The programme is 27 months full-time which includes 24 months of academic study and clinical training, followed by 3 months of supervised practice.

Course details

Why study this course

Following on from the success of the Physicians’ Assistant (Anaesthesia) and other non-medical practitioner roles there has been renewed interest in the development of the role of Advanced Critical Care Practitioners (ACCP) from surrounding Trusts. This programme is fully supported by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine and its seven parent Royal Colleges.

Learning and teaching

The programme is made up of 12 two-month blocks of teaching. Each block lasts for approximately 35 days to allow for holidays and is broken down as follows:

  • Directed self study – 70 hours
  • Small group teaching – 14 hours
  • Clinical skills teaching – 21 hours
  • Workplace experience – 140 hours

A typical week may consist of:

  • 1 2-hour tutorial
  • 2-3 days in the clinical area
  • ½ day clinical skills training
  • 1½ days self-directed study, e.g. working through the e-lectures

Employability

This programme is part of a structured training programme for the role of Advanced Critical Care Practitioner (ACCP) It is fully funded by the individual NHS Trust that supports ACCP training.



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