A Physician Associate is somebody who provides support to Doctors taking care of patients. Their range of tasks includes noting medical histories, analysing test results and diagnosing patients with the Doctor’s supervision.
The role is extremely varied: some Physician Associates may work in GP surgeries, or some may work in hospitals. Either way, you will have direct contact with patients.
The Physician Associate salary generally starts at £31,072 after training and can rise to £35,000 per year. A standard working week is roughly 37.5 hours.
Most Physician Associates will possess a Biomedical Sciences undergraduate degree – and then complete a Physician Associate degree. Currently, 29 universities in the UK run postgraduate Physician Associate Studies programmes. You can see these below:
|Anglia Ruskin University||MSc Physician Associate Studies|
|Brighton and Sussex Medical School||Postgraduate Clinical Diploma in Physician Associate Studies|
|Bucks New University||Postgraduate Diploma Physician Associate|
|Canterbury Christ Church University||PgDip Physician Associate Studies|
|Hull York Medical School||MSc Physician Associate Studies|
|Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry||PgDip Physician Associate Studies|
|Sheffield Hallam University||PgDip Physician Associate Studies|
|London, St George's University of London||MSc Physician Associate Studies|
|Birmingham||PgDip Physician Associate Studies|
|UCLan, University of Central Lancashire||PgDip Physician Associate Studies|
|Norwich, East Anglia||MSc Physician Associate Studies|
|Leeds||PgDip Physician Associate Studies|
|Manchester||PgDip Physician Associate Studies|
|Reading University||Postgraduate Diploma Physician Associate|
|Surrey||PgDip Physician Associate|
|Bristol, University of the West of England||MSc Physician Associate Studies|
|Wolverhampton||PgDip Physician Associate Studies|
|Worcester||MSc Physician Associate|
|Bradford||MSc Physicians Associate Studies|
|London, Brunel University||MSc Physician Associate Studies|
|Newcastle University||PgDip Physician Associate Studies|
|Sheffield||PgDip Physician Associate Studies|
|Swansea||PgDip Physician Associate Studies; MSc Physician Associate Studies|
|Liverpool||PgDip Physician Associate Studies|
|Aberdeen||PgDip Physician Associate Studies|
|Bangor, University of Wales||PgDip Physician Associate Studies|
These programmes usually last two years. The course structure will cover patient-centred learning approaches, clinical reasoning strategies for diagnosis and clinical practice. Most programmes will also usually involve weeks of clinical placements in primary care in the second year of study.
Entry requirements for Physician Associate courses vary from school to school – so double check these before applying! Brighton and Sussex Medical School require that applicants will possess a first or second class honours degree in Life Sciences, or another healthcare-related undergraduate degree.
The University of Manchester requires a first or second class honours degree in a relevant subject – in this, they include Biochemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, as well as Nursing, Midwifery and Pharmacy. Some universities also highly value relevant work experience, so it’s a good idea to try to undertake work experience as a Physician Associate before applying.
A career as a Physician Associate involves working across a wide range of areas in the NHS. Your day-to-day tasks can include diagnosing illnesses, developing treatment plans, managing patients with long-term chronic conditions, examining patients and analysing their test results. Physician Associates are unable to prescribe medicines or to conduct X-Ray scans.
Your work will largely focus on adult and general practice, rather than providing speciality care – and you will need to pass a recertification test every six years to demonstrate you possess this general medical knowledge. The two-year training at UK universities will include 1,600 hours of clinical training, and you will also spend 90 hours across the areas of mental health, surgery and gynaecology.
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