Physician Associate Personal Statements: What are they after?

Careers, Specialist Applications

1st June 2021

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The medical profession has seen some considerable changes to how it approaches patientcare over the last few decades. In light of new technologies, budget cuts and shifts in societal perceptions, the medical field has somewhat vacated from a ‘Doctor knows best’ attitude to a position where greater emphasis is placed on patient involvement and patient-centred care. Equally, changing values and the growth of applied health professionals have allowed for the importance of multi-disciplinary teamworking to be seen. The standard inpatient will see many different professionals during their hospital stay and integrating different specialisms fuels the pursuit of a holistic approach that holds the patient at its core.

The Physician Associates post is one such profession that has developed in the healthcare field in recent years and offers an exciting career path for first-time students and those looking for a change in vocation. For those less familiar with the field, Physician Associates are medically qualified healthcare professionals who work in the multi-disciplinary team to support doctors and the delivery of care. The role encompasses a spectrum of responsibilities, from conducting physical examinations to performing diagnostic tests and delivering management plans.

In such a varied and interprofessional role, more and more opportunities are manifesting each year to train new Physician Associates in UK universities. Therefore, it is no surprise that the number of prospective students approaching us for support with their Physician Associate applications has swelled. But what are applications teams looking for? We have outlined a few top traits that are vital to the Physician Associate personal statement. As always, it is not just enough to write generic, unevidenced statements such as ‘I enjoy helping others’. Rather, it is vital to back up these points with experience, so we’ve outlined a few examples as well.

Values to Support Team Working

A fundamental part of the Physician Associate job is working in a multi-disciplinary team. Therefore, showing that you have the respect and skills necessary to work with a group of professionals is essential. Our experts are well-accustomed to tailoring examples of collaboration, communication, cultural awareness and respect for different ideas to your individual experience.

Examples: Inter-professional experience in the workplace; Team-based volunteer positions; Football and other collaborative sports

Academic Ability

Like most positions in the field, some evidence of medical or scientific knowledge is required. Where the bulk of your previous academic endeavours will be documented in the qualifications area of the application, it is important to highlight some specific examples of your knowledge that could be useful to the role. For example, if you have developed a foundational understanding of human anatomy through your Biology A-level or a knowledge of pharmacology through your degree then it is important to link this transferable knowledge to the Physician Associate programme.

Examples: Scientific or health-based A-Levels; Previous related degree; UCAT Test; Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Life Support (ALS) training; Workplace Health Certificate.

Placing the Patient at the Centre of Care

This is perhaps the most important value that applications teams are looking for. The patient should remain at the heart of everything you do as a Physician Associate. Being able to demonstrate that you understand this and have both practiced and excelled at this in the past could raise your personal statement to the top of the pile.

Examples: Healthcare work experience; Care home experience; Working with vulnerable populations; Meeting the needs of elderly relatives

Compassion and Empathy

Compassion and empathy are central to working as a Physician Associate. Such professionals have a responsibility to act as an advocate for patients and, to do this, being open to patient’s views and perspectives is key. Illustrating that you understand the value of responding to patient distress and anxiety with kindness and respect, using personalised examples, will show the application’s team that you have what it takes to thrive in this exciting profession.

Examples: Care work experience; Call service support; Previous responses to co-worker distress; Supporting friends

So, there you have it. If you need assistance with your Physician Associate application, then get in touch with one of our friendly team members. You’ll have the opportunity to work in partnership with our academic writers to create a tailored statement that is head and shoulders above the competition.