30 December 2017
Christina Reed is a physician associate working at the Royal Free Hospital (RFH). We asked her what it's like working here.
What do you do on a daily basis?
This is quite a new role in the NHS and I am the only physician associate at the RFH, so my duties are quite expansive. I work with a variety of teams including oncology, neuroendocrine tumour and haematology. I carry out the initial tests and bloods while also keeping an eye on them to ensure everything is ok during their stay. I can’t prescribe medicine, but work with my senior colleagues to ensure that everything is set up and ready for them when they see the patient. Should there be any problems, I am in the perfect position to assess them and determine whether these are procedural issues or something else – I’m usually the 'go to' contact for our patients on the ward.
What is the best part of your job?
I work with a great team of nurses and doctors who deliver world class care and help me in my role. As I do not rotate from my position like junior doctors, I often see our patients quite regularly. This means I’m able to build a relationship with them and can remember what issues or problems they are experiencing and prepare for these. As I know our patients quite well it is lovely to see them around the hospital where they come and thank me for caring for them.
What piece of advice would you give to anyone looking to enter this role?
I would say that the intensive training was probably the hardest two years of my life! You then go into your placement in the seventh week which can be quite difficult if you have no hospital experience. It is important for you to remember that although the training may be hard, you will be in a perfect position to make a difference and improve the lives of patients. Focus on your training during those two years – you won’t have any time for Netflix!
If you were not in this role, what would you be doing instead?
It would definitely be something to do with patient care; I previously worked as a dental nurse for eight years and enjoyed the communications aspect of the role. You do have some difficult conversations with people, but you can also give them a boost and make a real difference to their experience.
Physician associates are becoming more common in the NHS, how do trusts benefit from employing them?
The role offers a great deal of support to busy teams. Having an extra pair of hands on the wards makes things so much easier for other staff members and improves the quality of care we give to our patients.
Tell us something that not many people know about you?
I wear pink-tinted glasses just like Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. I notice people looking and they must think it’s a fashion statement, but in reality, they are prescription as I struggle to see through normal lenses!