Real-life story - Kate Bascombe
Kate wanted to be involved in patient care but didn't want to become a doctor or a surgeon. Her university careers advice service made her aware of the physician associate role.
How I got into the role
After graduating from Edinburgh University I studied for my postgraduate diploma in Physician Associate Studies at St George’s University of London.
Once I qualified as a physician associate, I accepted a year-long internship at Hairmyres Hospital in Lanarkshire on the PARiSS (Physician Associate Rotation in Surgical Specialties) programme.
What I do
In October 2012 I got a permanent post in the St George’s Hospital Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) team. As an ENT physician associate I take part in all aspects of treatment and assessment for adults and children. I am also a teaching fellow on the St George’s physician associate course one day a week.
The skills I have developed during my two years as an ENT physician associate allow for flexibility in where I work. On the ward I support the team with note taking, examination, referrals and procedures. This involves everything from taking blood and inserting cannulas (plastic tube into vein) to performing fibreoptic nasendoscopes (nasal camera), inserting nasogastric tubes and inserting anterior nasal packs. In the operating theatre I am able to first assist, doing things like preparing patients for surgery, closing incisions from the muscle layer up, and inserting drains.
Once a week I have my own sub-specialty clinic in otology where I see patients with a range of conditions and needs. I also help train the new doctors and junior doctors in procedural skills required for clinics.
The best bits and challenges
I struggle to find one aspect of my job that I enjoy the most. It is very rewarding being a permanent member of a team and helping to provide continuity of care for patients.
The training I’ve received means I now have a varied role which is both exciting and refreshing. Every day of the week I do something different!
Life outside work
I am passionate about driving the physician associate profession forward. I have been an active member of the UK Association of Physician Associates board and then Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians since I was a student.
I also enjoy running, cycling, swimming and photography.
Career plans and top tips for others
This role offers an exciting, challenging and rewarding career at the forefront of the NHS.
If you are considering a career as a physician associate, get in touch with the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians and explore shadowing a working physician associate for a day.