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Masters Degrees (Physicians Assistant)

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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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Start your career early while saving a year of tuition through this combined degree program that awards a Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences and a Master of Physician Assistant Studies in just six years. Read more

Start your career early while saving a year of tuition through this combined degree program that awards a Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences and a Master of Physician Assistant Studies in just six years. During the pre-professional phase, you’ll begin where leading physicians, professors, and other health care practitioners all initiate their careers—by studying how living organisms function, survive, adapt, and evolve.

After you successfully complete the first three years of the pre-professional phase, you may transition to the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.

Admission

Thanks for your interest in the Life Sciences, B.S./Physician Assistant Studies, M.S. program.

The combined program will enable you to achieve B.S./M.S. degrees in six years. It includes a three-year phase of undergraduate courses and a three-year phase of graduate courses.



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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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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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