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Samantha was in the very first cohort of Physician Associates (PAs) at Reading, graduating from our PGDip programme in 2017. She is now thriving in two roles for the NHS, splitting her time between jobs at the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) and a local GP surgery.

Biomedical scientist to physician associate

During her school years, Samantha was interested in biology and the body, deciding to study Biomedical Science as an undergraduate. She was initially interested in the research side of her course, but that soon changed.

"Studying Biomedical Science gave me an understanding of organ systems and how they work, as well as human diseases and treatment. I really took an interest in the medical side of things, and towards the end of my degree I realised I wanted to be a lot more hands-on and patient focused."

Samantha researched the options open to her, and discovered the Physician Associate role. This route would allow her to integrate within a medical team, help diagnose patients and formulate management plans, and ultimately make a real difference in patients' care.  

"The PA role is an exciting new way to practise medicine. When I visited the University of Reading, I got a strong sense that the Department understood how to transform a science graduate into a competent healthcare professional. They were really enthusiastic and passionate about this new role in the NHS."

Partnering with local healthcare providers

Samantha and her peers were taught by various healthcare professionals - such as consultants and registrars - from the Royal Berkshire Hospital. These guest lecturers taught their specialities via lecture sessions, and used the students' hospital placements as the focus for problem-based tutorials. Samantha undertook her rotational placements in the RBH, where she became a key member of the medical team.

A career full of variety

Samantha now channels her fascination of the brain into three clinics at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. She runs a headache clinic, a nerve conduction clinic for patients suffering from nerve problems in the upper limbs, and a Botox clinic for patients with neuromuscular disorders affecting the face and neck.  

"The Botox clinic is particularly rewarding because it's very positive and you get to make such an improvement on patients' self-esteem and lives." 

Alongside her three days a week at the RBH, Samantha works with Dr Richard Perry - a GP and Lecturer on the PA programme - at his local Practice. She works autonomously to assess, diagnose and advise patients, with Dr Perry at hand as her mentor. 

"The advantage of how my job has moulded itself is that I'm able to get much more skilled in a specialty that I love like neurology, as well as keeping up with general practice knowledge. I love the variability of my role - I can see so much in one day."

Samantha's say

"If you're looking for a patient-facing role and want to get into the medical workforce, I think this is definitely a really exciting, valuable path to go down. The Physician Associate role provides endless job opportunities because you can make of it what you want."


Physician Associate

Our Physician Associate programmes at Reading have been developed in partnership with local NHS groups in response to the growing demand for this professional role in the NHS. 

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