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Course content

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.

Visit the Physician Associate - MSc page on the Brunel University London website for more details!

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