Physician Associates & Anaesthetic Associates
As a Physician Associate (PA) or Anaesthetic Associate (AA) you will regularly supervise and mentor students. You may want to develop this educational role by developing links with higher education institutes. This will bring career opportunities to develop your knowledge and skills in learning and teaching.
You may want to do a clinical or medical education qualification, to gain insight into educational theory and practice. Courses offer different levels of qualification, and at masters level will contain a research component, involving the development of research skills and conducting a small research project. The breadth of health care settings and disciplines in which PAs and AAs work mean there is a wide variety of clinical education research possible.
Developing a career in clinical education research would push the boundaries of these professions forward. As PAs and AAs are post-graduate qualifications, you will be eligible to access some of the pathways on offer by the NIHR to further your career in research. These include the pre-doctoral fellowships, which include fellowships for all, clinical academic fellowships and in practice fellowships.
These will allow you to continue to develop in your clinical areas at the same time as developing important research skills and knowledge. Projects are often clinically focused, increasing the profile of the role of PA and AA, and it is advisable to develop collaborative working groups in which such developments can take place. The roles of PA and AA are still often misunderstood in some areas, but through this would be showcased and brought to the forefront as being recognised as collaborative partners in clinical and educational research.
Although the current culture of these roles is purely clinical, PAs and AAs can bring a wealth and knowledge, experience and insight to clinical education and clinical education research, it just may need a change in the culture of the professions to see this as a career opportunity which will complement and enhance the current purely clinical facing role that the majority of PA and AA have.