To celebrate Physician Associate week, Rebecca Fraser tells us more about her role
I qualified as a physician associate in 2018, having been part of the pilot cohort at Manchester University and have worked as a physician associate at Northumbria Healthcare ever since.
I work as part of the frailty assessment service where I assess elderly and frail patients who present into the emergency department. After assessing patients, I order appropriate investigations, and formulate a diagnosis and management plan. Working in elderly care I often need to take collateral histories from the patient’s next of kin and consider whether they require any adjustments or additional support to be safe at home. This requires close working with other members of the team including speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers.
When assessing patients in the emergency department, I always consider whether the patient needs to remain in an acute hospital for their treatment, or whether they would be suitable to be transferred to a community hospital, respite facility or if they can go home. If the patient is suitable for transfer I organise this in the early stages of their journey to limit environmental changes which can often be distressing for elderly patients and are known to contribute to the development of delirium.
As well as working in the emergency department, I also spend time working on our elderly care wards where I am responsible for assessing new patients, providing continuous medical reviews, completing ward jobs and caring for deteriorating patients.
As a physician associate I was able to choose which specialty I wanted to work in and I’m proud to work in a specialty that I love, and in a role where I feel I am really making a difference to patient care. I really enjoy being able to provide continuity of care to our patients throughout their journey with us.
I am keen to continue to develop my medical knowledge and skills and I am very interested in teaching. In my role as a physician associate ambassador, I enjoy promoting the profession and supporting newly qualified physician associates and students in their roles. I think the future is very bright for physician associates and we can support many specialities across health and social care.