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Physician Associate
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Diian · 29/10/2021 20:21

This seems to be a relatively new role in Healthcare. Does anyone know anything about integrated masters that Reading offers, or is it better to do a biomed degree then do a physician associate masters?

What is career progression like?

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nocoolnamesleft · 29/10/2021 20:26

It's sufficiently new that it's difficult to say what the career progression will be like, which is concerning. The biggest barrier at present is that the PA qualification/role does not give the right to prescribe (unless previously qualified as a nurse/midwife, when it is possible they may be able to prescribe from a limited range, due to the pre existing qualification). We've been hearing that "prescribing will be sorted soon" for a couple of years already.

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Norugratsatall · 29/10/2021 20:29

I suggested to my DD that she do this after she finished her biomed degree but she was reluctant- due to the worry over how far you can progress after this training. She's trained as an immunologist now.

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CraftyGin · 29/10/2021 20:30

My friend did a PA qualification at Reading. She was a dentist in a previous life.

The course was extremely hard going, especially into Covid. She now works in a GP surgery, basically as a GP, without the ability to prescribe. She spends double the time with each patient as she is very good at pastoral care.

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Adha · 29/10/2021 20:31

It’s an assistant role. Mostly working with or under juniors and can be very demanding . How about Biomedical first year and then going for the fast track medicine? Or cardiology technician?

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TheVanguardSix · 29/10/2021 20:33

I'm curious about this career choice because my ex-husband was a GP (recently retired) and I worked in a surgery for years (admin) and I've never met a PA. Although in the States, where I'm from, I'd met many a PA in the consulting room as a patient. It was more usual to meet a PA than a GP, in my own experience in California. And this is going back 20 years. I wonder if it will become more recognised here in the UK.

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Chilldonaldchill · 29/10/2021 21:14

We have several PAs (I'm a GP). They are variable. Some are amazing. They get specific patients triaged to them - they have less ability to manage complicated cases (their course is 2 years compared to 6 after all plus GP training of 5-6 years as well) and spot the red flags. But they are incredibly useful and, at a time where no one can recruit GPs , they are a godsend. The lack of prescribing is annoying but they are fully supervised anyway so it doesn't add a huge amount of extra time. I don't know how long the integrated masters takes but I value our PAs who were previously nurses or working in an allied HP role much more than the biomedical graduates if I'm honest - they're just further ahead with patient care and being able to take histories etc. However the others get there - just slower.
We say that our PAs are initially the equivalent of an average final year medical student and after a couple of years of fairly intensive support are fairly similar to an F1 or F2 (though they get paid more but then have no real career progression). Our first PA has been with us 3 years now so impossible to judge how much things will change over the next few years...

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tealasoldastime · 05/11/2021 10:33

The undergraduate programme at Reading was way over subscribed last year (UCLan's too). Doing a biomed programme at undergraduate and then a Master's is only one extra year of study and does allow for more options of places to study PA (plus the option to change your mind and have a good spring board to other professions). The role of PA is new in the UK but I would say career progression will be similar to other allied health professions within the NHS, PAs are never going to have the career progression of a doctor - and they are not doctors on the cheap! But I can only see the role becoming more important within the NHS. It's a really rewarding job and a very demanding degree at undergraduate and post graduate.

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