Postgraduate study
A two-year intensive course to train physician associates to provide first contact medical care in general practice, emergency departments, medical and surgical assessment units and general hospital wards, acting under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner.
 
  
Qualification
MSc Physician Associate Studies (2yr)
Duration
2 years full-time
Entry requirements
2:1 or above in a life sciences subject; [OR 2:2 or above in any discipline AND satisfactory performance in the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) by exceeding section and total threshold scores as determined annually]
Other requirements
No offers are made without interview. This programme is open to home and EU applicants only (see additional requirements below).
IELTS
7.5 (no less than 7.0 in each element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
September 2020
UK/EU fees
£9,450 - Terms apply
International fees
Not applicable - Terms apply
Accreditation
At present, there is no national accreditation for physician associate courses. Graduates will be eligible to sit the National Assessment and apply for inclusion in the UK Physician Associates Voluntary Managed Register.
Campus
Royal Derby Hospital site
School/department
 

 

Overview

This is an intensive two-year course mapped to the UK national Competence and Curriculum Framework for Physician Associates.

Following the successful completion of the UK national assessment, students will be eligible for inclusion in the UK Physician Associates Voluntary Managed Register. The course content covers the knowledge, skills and behaviours required of physician associates in a fully integrated manner, based around clinical case scenarios which span all the core clinical conditions identified in the national curriculum.

Why Nottingham?

  • Study at a popular and well-established medical school with 50 years' experience of training future doctors
  • Learn alongside graduate entry medicine students at a purpose-built medical school on the Royal Derby Hospital site
  • Our course exceeds the nationally agreed minimum clinical placement opportunities (community medicine 180 hours, general hospital medicine 350 hours, front door medicine 180 hours, mental health 90 hours, general surgery 90 hours, obstetrics and gynaecology 90 hours, paediatrics 90 hours)
  • Graduates will be able to undertake first contact medical care in General Practice, Emergency Departments, Medical and Surgical Assessment Units and general hospital wards, acting under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner

Additional entry requirements

Health note

All students are required to have their immunity status for Hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, HIV and rubella checked on entry and offers are made subject to the results.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

The University and NHS are required to use the UK Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to help assess the suitability of applicants for clinical courses. Information held by the DBS will be considered on an individual basis and will be handled and disposed of securely in compliance with legislation.

 

Full course details

The two-year Physician Associate Studies MSc is designed to equip graduates for careers as Physician Associates. It is an intensive course with extended teaching semesters where lectures, seminars and workshops are fully integrated with clinical placements.

The first year of the course includes clinical attachments in general medicine, for example respiratory medicine, cardiology, gastrointestinal medicine and rheumatology, arranged over four modules.

For those students who are eligible to continue onto the second year of the course, this consists of a series of rotations through paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, general surgery, mental health, ‘front door medicine’ and community medicine (general practice), arranged over five modules.

There will also a Quality Improvement Project module which spans the second year and is assessed by dissertation. 

Clinical placements

Relevant anatomy, physiology, pathology and therapeutics are taught in conjunction with the clinical placements. Clinical skills training, including invasive procedures relevant to the Physician Associate role, are taught in both simulation suites and at the bedside.

Clinical placements begin after week six of year one (three days a week for the rest of the year), and continue throughout the course (at least four days a week in year two). As students develop knowledge and competencies, they will be embedded within the clinical teams in which they are based for their educational placements, gaining confidence and practical experience through supervised service delivery.

PGCert/PGDip

A fall-back award of a PGCert or a PGDip is available as a route for students who are unable or do not wish to complete the full MSc programme.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge

  1. Knowledge and understanding of basic medical sciences (anatomy, patho-physiology, biochemistry) that underlie the presentation of clinical disorders
  2. Knowledge of the epidemiology and risk factors of clinical disorders and health promotion strategies
  3. Knowledge and understanding of quality improvement science as applied to healthcare

Intellectual Skills 

  1. Plan, undertake and present a quality improvement project in a clinical speciality
  2. Critically review published literature that underpins clinical practice
  3. Ability to keep a focussed, written, reflective portfolio as a mechanism of improving individual clinical practice
  4. Problem solving and critical thinking

Professional and Practical Skills

  1. Clinical assessment, maintaining and delivering the management of general medical patients on behalf of supervising doctors, including practical procedures expected of Physician Associates in hospital
  2. Effective clinical history taking, physical examination, assessment and management of clinical disorders in surgery, paediatrics and obstetrics and gynaecology
  3. Effective clinical history taking, physical examination, assessment and management of clinical disorders presenting to hospital acute and emergency departments, including effective time and resource management
  4. Effective clinical history taking, physical examination, assessment and management of clinical disorders in general practice and psychiatry
  5. Competence in all the practical clinical procedures required of Physician Associates as detailed in the National Curriculum

Attitudes and Behaviours

  1. An understanding of the role of Physician Associates in the wider clinical workforce
  2. Professional behaviour, communication skills, and team working
  3. Practicing within a patient-centred and ethical framework

Assessment

Assessments will comprise various components - multiple choice questions and extended matching questions, practical objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs), assessment of log-books providing evidence of clinical competence, a portfolio of reflective practice and a dissertation.

 
 

Modules

Year one

1. Cardio-respiratory disorders, infectious diseases and biochemical disorders (30 credits)

This module covers the history of the healthcare workforce and how Physician Associates fit into the scheme.  It introduces students to case-based learning, clinical reasoning, reflective practice and portfolios.  As part of this module, students undertake a corporate induction programme at the Royal Derby Hospital, preparing them for their clinical placements.

This module also covers the anatomy, physiology and pathology of common disorders of the cardio-respiratory system.  It also provides a basic introduction to infectious diseases and biochemical disorders. Students work through a series of 13 clinical cases that illustrate the common presentations of diseases, their diagnosis and management.  They also learn how to take relevant medical histories, perform physical examinations and undertake appropriate clinical procedures. 

Three weeks of the module include a clinical placement (Clinical Placement 1), during which students spend three days each week in a clinical setting reinforcing their learning.

 
2. Gastrointestinal, renal and endocrine disorders (30 credits)

This module covers the anatomy, physiology and pathology of common disorders of the gastrointestinal, renal and endocrine systems. Students work through a series of 10 clinical cases that illustrate the common presentations of diseases, their diagnosis and management. They also learn how to take relevant medical histories, perform physical examinations and undertake appropriate clinical procedures.  Seven weeks of the module include a clinical placement (Clinical Placement 2), during which students spend three days each week in a clinical setting reinforcing their learning.

 
3. Genitourinary disorders, haematological conditions and disorders of the nervous system (30 credits)

This module covers the anatomy, physiology and pathology of common disorders of the genitourinary system.  It also provides a basic introduction to haematological and neurological disorders. Students work through a series of 10 clinical cases that illustrate the common presentations of diseases, their diagnosis and management. They also learn how to take relevant medical histories, perform physical examinations and undertake appropriate clinical procedures.  Seven weeks of the module include a clinical placement (Clinical Placement 3), during which students spend three days each week in a clinical setting reinforcing their learning.

 
4. Disorders of the musculoskeletal system, eye, ear nose and throat and skin (30 credits)

This module covers the anatomy, physiology and pathology of common disorders of the musculoskeletal system.  It also provides a basic introduction to disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat and skin. Students work through a series of 10 clinical cases that illustrate the common presentations of diseases, their diagnosis and management. They also learn how to take relevant medical histories, perform physical examinations and undertake appropriate clinical procedures.  Seven weeks of the module include a clinical placement (Clinical Placement 4), during which students spend three days each week in a clinical setting reinforcing their learning.

 

Year two

5. Community medicine: general practice, public health, travel, ageing and end of life care (20 credits)

This module begins with an introduction to year two of the Masters in Physician Associate Studies. It covers core topics in public health medicine, travel (including infections in returning travellers), ageing and end of life care.  It is designed to equip students for scenarios they will encounter in their clinical placements later in the year.This module also provides teaching in the community (primary, general practice) medicine. Students work through a series of clinical cases that illustrate the common presentations of diseases, their diagnosis and management in primary care. They also learn how to take relevant medical histories, perform physical examinations and undertake appropriate clinical procedures. Five weeks of the module include a clinical placement (Clinical Placement 5) during which students spend four days each week in a community setting reinforcing their learning.

Throughout year two modules, students will be working on their Quality Improvement Project.

 
6. Paediatrics (10 credits)

This module covers the clinical aspects of paediatrics required for Physician Associate practice.  Childhood growth and development, immunisation, health promotion and screening are placed in the context of the UK healthcare system.  Common childhood disorders of the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, urological and nervous systems are covered. Students work through a series of clinical cases that illustrate the common presentations of diseases, their diagnosis and management.  They also learn how to take relevant medical histories, perform physical examinations and undertake appropriate clinical procedures.  Six weeks of the module include a clinical placement (Clinical Placement 6), during which students spend 4 days each week in a relevant clinical setting reinforcing their learning.

Throughout Year 2 modules, students will be working on their Quality Improvement Project.
 
7. Obstetrics and gynaecology, and sexual health (10 credits)

This module covers the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of common obstetric and gynaecological presentations, including normal pregnancy and labour. Students work through a series of clinical cases that illustrate the common presentations of disorders, their diagnosis and management.  They also learn how to take relevant obstetric and gynaecological histories, perform physical examinations and undertake appropriate clinical procedures.  Six weeks of the module include a clinical placement (Clinical Placement 7), during which students spend four days each week in a relevant clinical setting reinforcing their learning.

Throughout year two modules, students will be working on their Quality Improvement Project.

 
8. Surgery (10 credits)

This module covers the clinical aspects of surgery required for Physician Associate practice. It includes the principles of surgery and anaesthetics, aseptic technique and “scrubbing for theatre”. Particular emphasis is placed on pre-operative assessment and general post-operative management.  Surgical specialities (ENT, trauma and orthopaedics, urology, breast, vascular and neurosurgery) are introduced. Students work through a series of clinical cases that illustrate the common presentations of surgical diseases, their diagnosis and management. They also learn how to take relevant surgical histories, perform physical examinations and undertake appropriate clinical procedures.  Six weeks of the module include a clinical placement (Clinical Placement 8), during which students spend four days each week in a relevant clinical setting reinforcing their learning.

Throughout year two modules, students will be working on their Quality Improvement Project.

 
9. Mental health (10 credits)

During this module, students will learn about psychiatric disorders that commonly present in medical practice. They will become competent in taking a psychiatric history and performing a mental state examination. The legal framework in which psychiatric disorders are treated will be discussed. Students work through a series of clinical cases that illustrate the common presentations of diseases, their diagnosis and management. Five weeks of the module include a clinical placement (Clinical Placement 9), during which students spend four days each week in a relevant clinical setting reinforcing their learning.

Throughout year two modules, students will be working on their Quality Improvement Project.

 
10. Quality improvement project research dissertation (60 credits)

This module spans year two and provides the opportunity for students to undertake and analyse a clinical Quality Improvement Project. An introduction to the principles of researching, undertaking and writing up a Quality Improvement Project will take place in year one and will be reinforced at the start of year two. Students will be paired with a qualified clinician who will help guide their work.  Students will be able to choose a project within their own specific area of interest.  Examples could include; audit and improvement of clinical care pathways, patient safety initiatives, processes to improve clinical effectiveness, development of alternative ways of working within the NHS. 

Front door medicine (emergency care, urgent care, medical assessment unit, ambulatory care) placements are interwoven throughout modules 6-9.

 

The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.

 
 

Fees and funding

Paying for your course

Financial support and highly competitive scholarships are available, and we encourage potential applicants to explore all funding possibilities. It is important that when you start your course you have sufficient funds, or an achievable plan in place to obtain funds, to cover both your tuition fees and living costs.

The government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The funding guide for prospective postgraduate students outlines the scholarships and various allowances that postgraduate students might be entitled to.

Support from Health Education England

Health Education England have agreed a single, national funding model for Physician Associates. Students will receive a training grant of £5,000 (subject to confirmation for 2020 entry) paid as £2,500 per annum. Students can use this payment against course fees, travel or similar costs incurred during the programme.

Additional costs

Please note: students may be required to pay an additional fee in order to undertake the National Assessment at the end of the course. This fee is set and charged by the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians, and is likely to apply to all Physician Associates students throughout the country. If students are required to repeat the National Assessment they may be required to pay a further fee for each attempt.  

 
 

Careers and professional development

Graduates of this course can sit the Physician Associate National Certifying Examination and apply for inclusion on the Physician Associates Voluntary Managed Register, meaning they are able to work as a Physician Associate in the UK. Becoming a physician associate is a highly attractive career path in healthcare and the profession is growing rapidly. 

Typical salaries for physician associates in the UK are in the region of £35,000 per annum (Royal College of Physicians 2019).

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2017, 95.7% of postgraduates from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The median starting salary was £28,625 with the highest being £76,001.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career prospects and employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

The Graduate Market 2013–2019, High Fliers Research

 
 

Related courses and downloads

Downloads and links

 

Related courses

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Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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