How do Physician Associates fit into the team where you work?
Physician Associates have been working at George Eliot Hospital (GE) since July 2011. The PA’s role at GE is difficult to compare to the medical model and can overlap with that of the HO, SHO, or registrar (sometimes all three). The level you work at depends both on the experience or ability of the individual PA and the skill mix requirements of the team. We have both clinical and organisational responsibility. All Physician Associates at GE are employed at Band 7.
We work on four month rotations in various specialties including emergency medicine, gastroenterology, respiratory, endocrine ,cardiology, elderly care and stroke. This rotational approach serves the purpose of exposing the PA to all specialist areas and also serves to showcase the profession to the various consultant lead specialists.
Are there plans to recruit more Physician Associates?
It seems so far we have impressed as the trust currently employs five PA’s and is planning to recruit a further three to work in medicine. Serious interest has also been expressed by surgery and paediatrics and we understand they intend to recruit PA’s in the near future.
On a personal level, how have you found working as a Physician Associate?
My role is challenging and exciting on a day to day basis as I don’t know what challenges each day will bring. The longer I have been in the trust the more experience I gain and the more responsibility I have been given. In truth more responsibility than I expected but in a good way. Times are tough in the NHS but this provides a vital opportunity for PA’s as we are seen as one of the answers to current problems that are faced. In short I would recommend working both in the profession and at GE Hospital. If you are flexible and robust individual you will excel.