University of Sussex
uk-physician-associate-primary-care-education.pdf (179.78 kB)

UK Physician Associate primary care placements: staff and student experiences and perceptions

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-12, 07:30 authored by Rhiannon Hoggins, Wesley Scott-Smith, Michael OkorieMichael Okorie
Objective To provide an insight into the experiences and perceptions of physician associate students and primary care staff involved in primary care educational placements in the United Kingdom. Methods A qualitative study was conducted. Data were collected from focus groups and semi-structured interviews with eight first year Physician Associate students and six primary care staff in two general practice surgeries in East Sussex, United Kingdom. Recruitment was via purposeful sampling. Thematic Analysis was used to develop common themes. Results Three themes were identified: 'Perceptions of the Physician Associate Role', 'Interprofessional Working', and 'The Physician Associate Course Structure and Placements'. Staff demonstrated a lack of familiarity with the physician associate programme and there was a risk of unrealistic expectations. Overall, staff and students were positive about their experiences. However, students expressed anxiety over a large amount of learning in a short timeframe, the perceptions of others, and the reluctance of staff to train them in phlebotomy skills. In addition, students were unsure about their career aspirations for the future. Conclusions Participants were positive about their experiences however students expressed a number of anxieties, with a scope to improve interprofessional education. Staff demonstrated an overall lack of knowledge of the curriculum and physician associates in general leading to a risk of unrealistic expectations. Further studies on these themes with a larger sample size across relevant training institutions in the United Kingdom is required to explore this further.


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International Journal of Medical Education







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