Physician Associate (PA) students and members of staff involved in the programme at UCLAN participated in a Grand Round presentation to draw awareness to the developing role.
The Grand Round was set up to highlight the role of the Physician Associate (PA) students at the Trust. We welcomed our second cohort of first year students and the third cohort of second year students recently.
A mixture of those were involved in presenting at Grand Round by sharing their experiences and their previous roles before studying to become a PA. The students were joined by Dr Harriet Preston, Dr Liz Haslett and Jane Rutt-Howard from UCLAN University.
PAs are a new role within the Trust. Only in the last two years we have been hosting students who are studying at UCLAN University, and join us on placement.
From 2018, there will be qualified PAs working at the Trust. In August, there were posts advertised to PAs who will be qualified next year. The interviews will be taking place in October, and there will be posts in the emergency department, care of the older person, orthopaedics, stoke medicine and child health.
The talk was mainly presented by Dr Preston, palliative care consultant and Trust lead for PAs.
Her role includes overseeing the PA programme here at Blackpool, to make sure that the PAs get a good experience here during their placements.
Harriet said:” It is important to raise awareness of the role, providing them with support when needed but also supporting their supervisors and maintaining close links with UCLAN and Health Eduication North West (HENW). This is why we decided to put on a Grand Round featuring the PA students.
“I will also be involved with the recruitment of our first qualified PAs. We are very excited to be able to recruit six PAs to the following areas (Care of the Older Person, orthgeriatrics, stroke, Emergency Department and Child Health.) Therefore it is really important that other staff are aware of the role as the hope is they will be working alongside six PAs next spring and hopefully many more to come in the future.”
Jane Rutt-Howard joined us from UCLAN to support her students and answer any questions. Jane is a nurse by background and specialised in Cardiology. After a short time in Primary Care, she obtained a job at UCLan in February 2016 to join the PA team in the School of Medicine.
Jane said: “There are approximately 25-30 students per cohort, with one cohort a year. The programme at UCLAN has been running for 20 months and we are awaiting our first graduates in January or February 2018.
“A lot of interest continues and we hope it will grow as our newly qualified PAs show the North West area what their potential role looks like.
“It is very important to keep spreading the good word about how PAs are anticipated to fit in and complement the current Multi-disciplinary team. We need to continue to raise the positive profile of a newly introduced role into the NW NHS workforce”.
One of our second year students Emma Hoyle said she wanted the opportunity to present student’s experiences together and to be a representative for the students.
She said: “I come from a background of working with people in a GP environment, and I also become involved in teaching in a health related role. I really wanted a role more patient facing where I could be involved with disease and diagnosis.
“I found presenting at Grand Round very nerve-racking, but I was very proud to stand up and talk about our experiences as students and tackle some common themes.
“I wanted to share the PAs point of view and where we fit into a multi-disciplinary team (MDT). It was also important to share the misconceptions some people have about our role. Being able to present these to an audience will help to raise awareness of our role, and show people what we can bring to a team.
“In the future, I hope to develop and improve my clinical skills and competence. When I am qualified, I would very much like a role in an acute setting within a hospital.”