My experiences of being a Physician Associate student
10 June, 2021
Dear reader, my name is Benjamin Gregoriou and I am a final year Physician Associate (PA) student at Newcastle University. My background is in Biomedical Science and I am interested in working in mental health.
A career in mental health is something I have considered as psychiatry has always piqued my interest and the recent exposure I have gained in mental health has opened my eyes to the varied possibilities and opportunities working in mental health can bring.
I have had the opportunity to work in various healthcare settings from primary, secondary and community care, all of which had mental health as a common theme. Mental health has certainly left an impression on me and further reinforced my passion for psychiatry. I believe I can bring continuity and a new perspective on caring for perhaps the most vulnerable of individuals.
I have found mental health to be a really interesting, intellectually stimulating and rewarding specialty. I have already developed interests in old age psychiatry, specifically dementia and delirium. This has transpired because of a combination of clinical placement experience and a personal, familial connection.
I thoroughly enjoyed my mental health placement in and around Newcastle. Every single member of staff was very welcoming and wanted to get to know me as a person as well as my role, regardless of any previous experience they had with PAs.
There was so much to get involved in, with numerous sub-specialties from child and adolescent psychiatry, to working age psychiatry, to old age psychiatry. Seeing patients from their homes to the bedside helped me recognise the impact PAs can have on confused, agitated patients, allowing us to make a positive difference to their medical care.
The future for PAs looks bright! I hope to see the profession gain regulation from the GMC in the near future and progress towards standardisation of PA courses. I also hope PAs will be able to prescribe independently following regulation to further broaden our scope of practice. I hope this will allow us to enhance care to our patients and allow us to further support our colleagues. I hope to see many more prospective PAs choose mental health as their chosen careers.