To celebrate Physician Associate week, Breige Doone discusses her role at Northumbria
For the past year, Breige Doone has worked as a Physician Associate (PA) in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Northumbria Healthcare.
“This was not the path I envisioned myself taking when I was 16 years old, choosing my A-levels, but it’s been a fantastic journey which has led me to an amazing new medical career in the NHS.”
Breige began her career studying an undergraduate degree in BSc Diagnostic Radiography at the University of Liverpool and went on to study a postgraduate MSc in Physician Associate studies at Newcastle University Medical School.
“Those 2 years were really gruelling but all of my academic work made sense when I put it into practice during my placements at Northumbria Healthcare, which is how I ended up working at the trust. I fell in love with the Obs and Gynae speciality whilst on rotation and networked to see if there were any positions available for a PA to join the team, and voila, here I am.”
So, what does Breige’s day look like?
“I predominantly specialize in gynaecology: assessing, diagnosing, and managing acute gynaecology patients and those with problems in early pregnancy – my background in imaging helps a lot with this.
“I work alongside a fantastic team in the emergency gynae unit, and liaise with the on-call team to manage the case-load for the day. Being a member of this team has been an absolute joy, and I’ve been welcomed with open arms.
“I receive so much support from the department trainees and consultants in my role. They’re always willing to give advice or lend a hand for more complex cases.”
As well as Breige, there are four other PAs working within the trust; Becca Fraser, Georgia Davidson, Sam Kirby and Cristian Castaneda-Vicario, and there will soon be two new PAs joining them. The team also currently has four students training with them.
“It’s wonderful to be able to support and mentor students in their studies. It’s an exciting time to be part of this expanding profession, especially in a trust which is forward thinking and promotes a multi-disciplinary approach to medicine.”
“Being a PA has not been without its challenges. I often get asked questions such as ‘what actually is a PA?’ but I see this as an opportunity to promote the profession and provide clarity about my role and its remit.
“I’ve noticed that staff and patients alike have become more receptive to the role and understand the value that PAs can bring.”
PAs provide great support to medical and surgical teams by offering a sense of continuity during annual medical trainee rotations, as well as providing an extra set of skills and knowledge to help alleviate pressures felt in busy departments.
“Taking the chance on this new medical profession has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I practice medicine autonomously, develop and learn constantly and go home at the end of the day, knowing that I have made a real difference.
“I face daily challenges but am constantly rewarded by the caring and resilient nature of my patients, and the supportive team I get to be part of.
“I’m really lucky to have a job that I love and am so excited about the opportunities that being a PA at Northumbria and the wider NHS will bring in the future.”