Physician Associate programme – Mark I’Anson

My name’s Mark I’Anson and I’m studying Physician
Associate Studies at the University of Birmingham. It’s part of the School of Health and Population
Sciences. A Physician Associate is part of the medical
team. They work with a team of clinicians, so throughout
the course we’re trained to undertake clinical examinations, take medical histories, learn
about different investigations that we would do and try and formulate a differential diagnosis. The course is very busy. I probably find myself doing maybe a 40 hour
week which is a mixture of problem based learning where, for a example, on a Monday we may come
in as maybe a team of six or seven students and we’ll be given a case and we’ll dissect
it and each go away and learn a particular area, for example the anatomy and physiology
of the pelvis. Someone else might learn different investigations
or a differential diagnosis and then we’ll all come back together and teach each other. That’s supported with lectures, so we might
have an anatomy and physiology lecture, or common problems, things like that and it’s
also supplemented with working with professional patients. So they will either simulate a clinical scenario,
we’ll take a history, we can do relevant examinations and they can also feedback to us from a patient’s
point of view as well. The faculty members generally facilitate our
problem based learning sessions so we generally build quite a good relationship with them. They get to learn us, we get to learn them,
they’ll teach us along the way. It’ll often be them that will also do our
lectures as well. On the Physician Associate Studies course
we have designated problem based learning rooms where we have plenty of space to work,
we have boards dotted around the rooms where we can make any notes or teach each other
things. We have a computer and projector so that we
can present presentations to each other; that’s generally how we do our PBLs. In addition to this we’ve got all our textbooks. Most of the core textbooks that are recommended
to us, we have our own copies that we can use in our PBL rooms, otherwise we have the
library resources where we can either use the online resources or we can rent them from
the library. We have a number of anatomical models in the
rooms as well. Once I’ve finished this degree my plan is
to go back to the North West where I’m from. There are some universities that are currently
interested in starting their own Physician Associate programme and I’d be quite interested
in going back to my local hospital and then somewhere down the line being involved in
education and teaching future Physician Associate students.

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