UK physician associate primary care placements: staff and student experiences and perceptions

Hoggins, Rhiannon, Scott-Smith, Wesley and Okorie, Michael (2018) UK physician associate primary care placements: staff and student experiences and perceptions. International Journal of Medical Education, 9. pp. 286-292. ISSN 2042-6372

[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (184kB)



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.


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 identify themes.


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.


Participants were positive about their experiences however students expressed a number of anxieties, with a scope to improve interprofessional education. Practice 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.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: education; general practice; physician associates; primary health care; students
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Division of Medical Education
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R735 Medical education
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Depositing User: Michael Okorie
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2018 12:49
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2018 12:50

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update