Student insight - Alice Hobbs

"I studied Biomedicine in Edinburgh for my undergraduate degree, with an exchange year in the USA. This experience developed my interest in medicine. I realised quite early on in my degree that, despite being fascinated by research and developments in medical therapeutics, I didn't want to work in a lab and was best suited to a job where I could work directly with patients. I considered applying for a graduate entry medicine course, but after taking a gap year and then a four year undergraduate degree, I felt that I wouldn't want to spend four more years as a student. Part of the appeal of this course is that it’s two years and a large amount of this time is spent on clinical placements. I am able to enjoy working with patients and as part of a clinical team whilst learning. 

I started working in the NHS in Cornwall soon after I graduated. Plymouth University Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PU PSMD) is brilliant because it works closely with the hospitals and GP practices across Devon and Cornwall. This became apparent when I was able to secure sponsorship for my studies with a hospital in the South West.  

I am in the first cohort of students in the Physician Associate Studies course here at PU PSMD. The course builds on from undergraduate level, teaching us about the professional role of a Physician Associate as well as the medical and clinical skills required to work as part of a medical team in the NHS. I really enjoy the sessions we have when we are taught in the Clinical Skills Department of the medical school. Here I am able to practice in a safe environment and learn how to work safely in a clinical setting.

I am currently in the first phase of the first year. I spend Monday to Thursday at the medical school and on a Friday I go to my GP placement. Since my first week there I have been seeing patients - it’s a fantastic way to learn and develop my confidence. I am supported by the doctors and nurses there who are brilliant at teaching and encouraging me to develop and practice the skills I have learnt at university in the week. 

Teaching sessions are very interactive and we are able to learn from the past experiences of other students as well. Lecturers will often offer to provide extra teaching sessions if there is something that needs more time explaining. This course is designed to make us fully prepared for working as a Physician Associate. Each teaching week is based around one clinical scenario and we are able to work together to learn about the pharmacology, pathology, anatomy, physiology and clinical and professional skills needed to treat the hypothetical patient. 

The way that the course is delivered is designed to teach us the skills needed to find the best way to manage any clinical scenario we may come across while working, rather than didactically teaching us the information. This approach is ideal for studying medicine as it is continuously advancing. This course is a brilliant opportunity to study medicine and work with patients in a clinical setting. I expect that having a career in a new and developing role in the NHS will come with some challenges, but I believe the course and the university will allow for the best possible start!"