Mehreen Shafiq

Subject Physician Associate
Course PGDip Physician Associate Studies
Country United Kingdom
Ask me a question

Any questions that you ask may be publicly posted on the feed below, but we will never publish your email address.

Thanks for asking Mehreen a question, be sure to check back soon!

Is voluntary work in a healthcare setting needed prior to applying for the masters physician associate course and, if so, how long should the placement be?


Not necessarily however it will benefit you, especially in the application process.

The more clinical experience you have in healthcare whether that be volunteering or paid work will make you a better candidate. Make sure you can explain why – what skills or experiences you had during that time that you could bring as a PA student/qualified PA.

You don’t need to do very long. In my personal experience I spent three days with a qualified Physician Associate working in secondary care (Neurology) and I was working part-time as a carer. Coupled with my undergraduate degree seemed enough to place in the PA course.

Hope that helps,


Hi Mehreen, how are most of the PA students funding the pgdip course and has it been a struggle financially for you? Also, what is the most valuable experience you undertook before applying to study this course that has been able to help you now? Thankyou.


I would strongly advise agaisnt starting the PA course without the correct funding.

I was thankful I had the money before starting the course and we were given £2000 bursary from Health Education.

Prior to the PA course I studied Biomedical science. I’m not sure if it did help. I noticed students who did Nursing, HCA had a lot more knowledge and experience. I wish I did a course with more clinical experience unlike biomedical science where I was stuck in the labs.


Hope that helps,


What advice would you give to somebody who is considering physicians associate or post grad medicine?


I think the first thing is to establish what it is that you would like to do.

Doing the PA diploma is different to the postgraduate medicine course.

Make sure you do your research into both, look at your own situation and circumstances and see what role is most likely going to suit you. I would certainly spend a day with a PA – see how they overcome prescribing, how they integrate into the MDT and what their roles are.

Hope that helps,


I really want to become a physician associate and I’m in my last year of A-Levels. Would choosing an ODP degree be a good base for this diploma? What would be the ideal undergraduate degree for a physician associate.



The entry requirement into the Physician Associate course must have a science, life science, bioscience or biomedical undergraduate degree. However registered healthcare professionals such as nurses, midwives or other allied heath professionals can become physician associates too.

The ODP diploma would therefore set you up to start the PA course.

As long as you do a science based degree/become a registered healthcare professional I don’t think it matters. There were students from all science backgrounds on my PA course although mainly Biomedical Scientists. I don’t think anyone had a greater advantage over another.

But go with something you’ll enjoy studying for the next 2-3 years and will set you up for the PA course.

Hope that helps,


What are the career prospects for PA? I am really interested in taking this course but worried there are no career prospects for me as I won’t graduate from my undergraduate until 2020. I fear by then perhaps there may be a shortage of jobs. What is your knowledge of the career prospects for PAs?

I’m currently in the process of applying for PA jobs. Almost everyday there is a new PA job appearing on the NHS website. I would highly suggest you register and subscribe on the NHS website so that you are notified each time a PA job is advertised.  This will give you some insight to the specialities requesting for PAs and also in what locations they are being advertised.

Personally I cannot tell you what the career prospect will be like in 2020, I’m hoping it will be even better than it is currently. I know right now PA jobs are soaring and hopefully they will continue to do so.

Hope that helps 🙂

Hi, I wanted to ask what Modules do you in the first and second term

Year one consists of three terms.

  1. The first term is University-based, with theory learnt mostly through problem-based learning, with additional anatomy, skills and simulation sessions and scaffolding lectures. Five GP Days also takes place during the first term block where we have the opportunity to take patient histories and examinations.
  2. A fourteen week hospital placement (Basic Clinical Medicine) will take place in term two.
  3. We then then return to University-based teaching in term 3, building on the cases seen at clinical placement.

Hope that helps,


Do you have any book recommendations for anatomy? I have looked at books like Moore etc and they are very complex. I like illustrated simple worded books :(. Any other good must have books?

I felt the exact same way when I initially started. But I’ve learnt starting simple is the best way, I really prefer the ‘at a glance’ books and the anatomy version is brilliant to start with. Also loil at clinical anatomy by regions edition 9 is great for Physician associates as it leaves out the jargon and gets straight to the point.

Hope that helps,


How do you make notes from slides? What do you do for revision, do you have any tools.

I make notes from powerpoint slides during lectures/seminars as I go. It helps me retain the information and then later on I will add to those notes because often there’s not enough time to do so during lectures.

As for general revision I think it’s important to make a good set of notes. Include all the relevant information and then continue to condense all of that information until you can put it on a flashcard.

One of the best revision technique I came across this year was making my own questions and quizzing myself. There are plenty of apps that allow you to generate your own MCQs. Or you can do them by hand and write a question on one side of a flashcard and the answer on the opposite.

Hope that has helped

What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering postgraduate study in your field?

Anyone thinking of doing the Physician Associate course certainly should! Although it is demanding one key piece of advice would be to ensure you keep a work-study balance. Learning certain parts of medicine in two years can be overwhelming and there’s no one to tell you when to stop, so it’s important to take breaks and do things outside of work.

Have you joined any clubs or societies, gone on any research trips or done any volunteering?

The clubs and societies at Univeristy of Birmingham are brilliant. I was able to partake in the MedSoc society where we assisted in feeding the homeless. I also joined the SurgSoc is where we went to Kings College London to experience some of the most fascinating cases in medical history at Gordon’s Pathology Museum. I recently joined the Headucate society where we go into different schools and educate children in regards to mental health. This just goes to show the variety of societies that UoB runs.

Was there a big transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study?

The transition from undergraduate to postgraduate has been a big jump. A lot of the studying is incredibly independent consisting of case based learning (CBL). Although this was difficult to begin with as my undergraduate was completely lecture based. It has certainly encouraged me to become an independent worker in addition to a critical thinker who will continue to use these skills lifelong.

What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?

I chose postgraduate as I wanted to focus more on medicine rather than biomedical science. The Physician Associate programme allowed me to do this. I also preferred the examination methods which were not just assignments and exams but included practical OSCE stations, MCQs, essays and case write-ups which I found interesting.

How will your degree prepare you for what you want to do afterwards?

The Physician Associate programme prepared me well to communicate with patients from the very beginning as we have placement in term one. This is then followed by a further fourteen-week placement in the second term. During this time I was able to use the skills I gained from simulation sessions such as venepuncture and cannulations and do these under supervision on placement. This made me more practical and definitely a part of the team looking after the patients on the ward.