Meet the School of Health Sciences
In the School of Health Sciences, our focus is on patient care and establishing healthcare professionals with qualities that patients want to see: care, compassion, honesty, candour and understanding.
Why choose the School of Health Sciences?
By choosing to study your PGDip Physician Associate Studies with us, you’ll become part of a multidisciplinary team, get access to simulation suites to practise real scenarios, learn directly from healthcare professionals, be supported by a current student mentor, and begin your journey towards an enriching career as a Physician Associate.
Studying with us
In your first year, you’ll spend one day a week in a clinical placement in a primary care setting, at a doctors’ surgery in Surrey or Sussex. The remaining four days will consist of classroom teaching, including using our simulation facilities. In your second year, you’ll spend most of your time in a secondary care setting, in hospitals across Surrey and Hampshire, returning to Surrey for a full day of teaching every three weeks.
Throughout your course, you’ll be taught by guest lecturers who are consultants from the Royal Surrey County Hospital and Frimley Park Hospital. You’ll also benefit from educational sessions available in your allocated National Health Service (NHS) Trust, giving you an opportunity to expand on your knowledge and network with healthcare professionals.
Our PGDip Physician Associate Studies has a bespoke teaching timetable and small class sizes, ensuring you get more contact with our teaching staff.
Our facilities have recently undergone a multi-million pound investment, giving you access to the latest industry equipment including our Clinical Simulation Centre, consisting of two large wards, an operating theatre, a community flat and an ambulance bay. Here you’ll get to practise real scenarios using lifelike mannequins as patients, fitting cannulas, checking for heart murmurs, monitoring breathing and much more. You’ll also take your Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) here, which assess your clinical technique. These are mapped against the criteria used in the National Assessment for Physician Associates, which you will take once you graduate.
As one of our students, you’ll also get exclusive access to our independent clinical learning room. The room is set up each week with the necessary equipment required to practise the techniques you’ll be learning. And when you go onto a clinical placement, you can use your Trust’s facilities, which may include simulation suites.
Tutor support and expertise
In the School of Health Sciences, we have a clinical-led focus to our teaching, ensuring everything you learn is up-to-date and relevant to an NHS care setting. Our lecturers are all current healthcare professionals working in the NHS, including Roz Clegg, who has been a qualified Physician Associate for eight years. You will also be taught by a multidisciplinary team of guest lecturers, made up of local doctors, nurses, midwives and other healthcare workers.
Throughout your placements, you will have an educational supervisor, who is a senior clinician. They will guide you through you experience and feed into your evidence portfolio. At the beginning of your course, you’ll also be assigned a personal tutor, who will provide you with one-to-one academic and pastoral support.
On successful completion of our PGDip Physician Associate Studies course, you can take the National Assessment for Physician Associates, which will allow you to practise clinically in the UK. Since 2018, our students have had a 100% pass rate for the written element of the assessment.
All our alumni have gone on to work as physician associates in primary and secondary care settings, specialising in areas including acute medicine, emergency healthcare and neurology. Some of our first graduates from 2018, based in these settings, are now helping to teach clinical skills to our current students, sharing their experiences and knowledge of working as newly qualified physician associates.
When you join, you’ll be assigned a second-year physician associate student as part of our buddy system. They have first-hand knowledge of clinical placements and assessments and can give you vital feedback and support throughout your studies. When you move into your second year, we recommend you maintain your relationship with your mentor as they can give you an insight into the day-to-day life of a qualified physician associate.
Many of our current students also host informal sporting activities, giving you the opportunity to get to know your coursemates better.