The physician associate role is quickly gaining popularity in Europe, with many aspiring students hoping to gain entry to very competitive PA schools!
Contrary to what the name suggests, the physician associate (PA) role has very much overlap with the current role of doctors!
Becoming a physician associate involves Undergoing an undergraduate degree in biomedical science or similar, then doing a 2 year masters degree.
This is 5 years in total, which is analogous to a doctors training.
It is slightly easier to become a physician associate than to enrol into a medical program, however due to growing interests amongst students, the PA role is quickly becoming just as competitive!
The attraction of the PA role is that students who already have bioscience degrees like biomedical science, biochemistry or biology, don’t have to undergo another 4/5 years in medical school to practice medicine.
The physician associate role allows you to practice medicine only after a further 2 years at university, and 1 year of internship!
The working schedule is also extremely more manageable than hat of a physician, with most PAs only working very sociable hours!
The pay is also extremely generous with most PAs making £27,000 to £35,000 only after a few years of practice!
There are some obvious drawbacks into studying to become a PA.
The main one being the “new-ness” of the role!
There is a sense of instability around the role, especially their interrelation with already established medical professions!
There is a very good breakdown of the physician associate role, and further details of how to become one!
The bottom line is that most people are rightfully concerned about the longevity of the role, and whether it will be widely respected and accepted by the public, and fellow doctors alike!
Doctors feel that while the role has the potential to lighten their burden and workload, it is far too similar to their role, and often duties of a doctor and a PA overlap!
This can cause tension in the future between doctors and physician associates.
It has actually been seen that some physician associates, after qualifying, go back to medical school to become doctors since they have seen that they can endure lots of the stresses during training, and are capable of doing the jobs of a doctor.
The application process
During the pandemic, the application process for PA school has changed slightly, however it typically either involves a 1 to 1 interview, or a presentation of some kind, followed by a panel interview.
With the growing number of applications, they may start introducing entry exams like the UCAT and BMAT, similar to what is already done with aspiring medical applicants!
Common question to look out for!
who will interview you
The physician associate interview panel will likely include at least one doctor, one physician associate, and possibly a second year PA student.
This is important because if you are aware of your interviewers, you are better prepared for the type of questions they will be interested in asking!
The students always usually ask about how you handle pressures of the course, the doctors are likely to ask you why you chose to study this course over medicine, and the PAs are likely to ask you about your knowledge of the role, and the future of the profession.
Some general questions
You are likely to be asked your motivation about studying PA role, why you chose this over medicine, and what makes you well suited!
You are also likely to be asked what you already know about the role, and why you think it is important that we have more physician associates, or why they are important in healthcare.
Lastly, you will be asked about what it takes to be a good physician associate, and where the role may go in the future.
Best Responses to give!
A written course will soon be released into the best responses you could give in each scenario, and more detailed questions they are likely to ask.
There is so much information to provide which will be far too overwhelming in 1 blog post which is why I’m doing it this way.
Once the course is active, a button below will take you to the signup page.
I have been to several PA interviews and been offered a place before, which has given me unique insights into the questions you may be asked!
Leave a comment below with your email to be notified of when the course gets released! The PA role is quickly getting as competitive as medicine so any extra advantage you get during applications is important!
The PA role is a very good opportunity to practice medicine without getting an often lengthy, pricey, and arduous medical degree so you should definitely strongly consider it!
It’s a cheaper option, and strangely very financially rewarding career, not to mention you get to practice medicine and change patient’s lives!