Clinical Competencies

Before commencing their placement all students undergo a clinical competency assessment at the Trust in the following:

  • BLS
  • Venepuncture
  • IV Cannulation
  • Male Catheterisation
  • Hand hygiene

By the time they start their first placement, students will have been trained (tested in simulation or using simulated patients) on the following skills:

Specific procedural skills:

  • Handwashing
  • Vital signs (T0, pulse, heart & respiratory rate, BP, capillary refill, AVPU) & document on NEWS chart
  • Record and interpret a 12-lead ECG
  • Take samples of venous blood
  • Perform immediate first aid and give basic life support (students have completed resuscitation council accredited ILS training)
  • Measure blood pressure by auscultation using a manual sphygmomanometer
  • Evaluate GCS, apply NEWS
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of nutritional assessment
  • Perform urinalysis using the dipstick method
  • Drawing up and injecting a drug using ANTT
  • Measure peak flow

Consultation and Examination skills:

In addition to being able to take a full history, students will be able to perform the following general examinations:

  • Cardiovascular
  • Respiratory
  • Abdominal (plus hernia and rectal)
  • Musculoskeletal/locomotor (shoulder and knee)
  • Neck triangles
  • Cervical spine, thoracic and lumbar spine
  • Peripheral Nervous System – upper and lower limb
  • Cranial Nerves
  • Ear, nose and throat.
  • Lymph node

Test and Investigation Results:

Students will be able to interpret the following test and investigation results for the material that they have studied at University:

  • Full blood count
  • HbA1c
  • Haematinics
  • Lipid profile
  • Urea and electrolytes
  • Liver function tests
  • Thyroid function tests
  • Blood gas analysis
  • Chest and abdominal X-Ray evaluation
  • CT Pulmonary Angiogram (with some theoretical knowledge of ventilation-perfusion scans)
  • Cardiac troponin, D-dimer assay, clotting screen etc.

Communication Skills:

  • How to take a history using the Calgary-Cambridge framework
  • Exploration of ideas, concerns and expectations
  • Explaining the PA role to patients and colleagues
  • Exploring negotiation and safety netting
  • Pain assessment
  • Handing over information using SBAR
  • Documentation of a structured history from a patient

Other skills which the student PAs could receive training for, during clinical placement include (but not exhaustive):

  • Perform ‘near patient’ (BM) glucose testing
  • Undertake venous cannulation
  • Take a sample of arterial blood from the radial artery
  • Demonstrate the use of an inhaler (in Asthma/COPD)
  • Perform basic spirometry
  • Administer oxygen therapy
  • Assess fluid status and administer fluids