November 4, 2013
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
The physician assistant career path has been newly introduced in the UK in direct response to the European Commission’s restrictions on doctors’ working hours. The main idea in starting this initiative is to develop qualified and trained healthcare professionals who are proficient enough to relieve the pressure on overworked doctors in hospitals, clinics and community services.
The idea has been borrowed from the US, where PAs were introduced almost forty years ago to meet the acute shortage of qualified physicians at that time. Today, this career path is an appealing option for graduates who are keen to pursue a career in medicine but without having to commit to a five-year rigorous programme that is necessary to become a full fledged doctor.
Becoming a physician assistant involves 2 years of intensive training, with studying for 46 to 48 weeks each year. In addition to significant theoretical learning, students also undergo 1,600 hours of clinical training during the 2 years.
Several of the topics covered during this time are similar to those covered in a standard 4 or 5 year medical program to become a doctor. However, a phys asst course focuses primarily on adult healthcare in hospital and general practice settings. The program does not cover specialty care.
In the UK physician associates programmes are currently being offered by only a few higher education institutions including St George’s Medical School at the University of London and the medical schools at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Birmingham.
Outstanding academic achievement, an interest in healthcare and excellent communication skills are three of the basic qualities that admissions authorities look for in potential students before accepting them to their Physician Assistant programme.
Physician Assistants work in all health care settings, including large hospitals, private clinics and rural healthcare facilities.
A Physician Assistant’s responsibilities include the following: