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Trans-Atlantic partnership working in developing a UK physician associate programme: Reflections and lessons learnt

Lawrence, Fiona; Hobbs, Rex; Stevens, Alex; St. John-Matthews, Janice


Fiona Lawrence
Faculty Academic Director of Workforce Development & Educational Partnerships

Rex Hobbs

Alex Stevens

Janice St. John-Matthews


The Physician Associate profession is an emergent role in the modern UK healthcare system. There are currently 350 PAs working in the UK in a variety of medical fields across the primary and secondary care sectors. However the profession is set to grow rapidly in the coming years with the Government pledging at least 1000 Physician Associates in primary care by 2020 (Hunt, 2015). This has meant growth in UK Physician Associate education providers from three higher education institutes in 2014 to an estimated thirty in 2017 (FPARCP, 2017).

The number of qualified UK Physician Associate practitioners contrasts the 105,000 Physician assistants certified to practice in the US. Here the profession has existed for 50 years and there is over 170 accredited educational programmes. PAs in the US consistently report high job satisfaction and the PA Master’s degree is regarded as the most valuable Master’s degree in the US economy (Piemme et al, 2013).

This poster offers a unique perspective into how partnership working between Lincoln Memorial University, Tennessee and the University of the West of England, Bristol has supported the pedagogical design and delivery of a new curriculum. The poster also explores how links between the two institutes have been maintained including adjunct staffing, social media links and webinars.

It offers insight into how the partnership is evolving and how the “lessons learnt” from a country which has been developing this profession for five decades has supported stakeholder engagement and the cultivation of clinical placement provision for the UWE, Bristol programme.

Finally the poster highlights how the partnership has supported the first cohort of UWE PA learners understanding of the role of the PA within the multi-disciplinary healthcare team. This is important given that many of the other healthcare professions i.e. nursing, medicine, radiography, physiotherapy etc,, have a long tradition in practice and subsequently learners have a strong professional identity.


Lawrence, F., Hobbs, R., Stevens, A., & St. John-Matthews, J. (2017, September). Trans-Atlantic partnership working in developing a UK physician associate programme: Reflections and lessons learnt. Poster presented at HEA Networking in Healthcare Education, Cambridge, England

Presentation Conference Type Poster
Conference Name HEA Networking in Healthcare Education
Start Date Sep 5, 2017
End Date Sep 6, 2017
Acceptance Date Apr 5, 2017
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords physician associate, partnership, America, uk
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : HEA Networking in Healthcare Education