Meducate Opportunity Banner 1

Meducate Academy: Building New Initiatives For The Physician Associate In GP Practice

Meducate Academy has recently been involved with building a new initiative in collaboration with a GP Practice and health authority in the South of England. There has been much talk of building PA Academies around the UK and Meducate Academy have now put a package together from the ground up to help any organisation interested in doing this.

At this point, I can’t give too many details but suffice to say it was an extensive project, and we had to gather all of our resources to make it possible.

From administration to clinical teaching, from simulation to accreditation, and from recruitment to installation, we have finally put together what we think is the complete package for newly qualified Physician Associates who have got their first job.

It’s often been the case that once a PA has finished their studies and got themselves a job that things will go well. However, the feedback we have been getting is that this is not normally the case and that new PAs feel like they’re a little unprepared for moving into the workplace. It’s true to say that the employer often doesn’t have the time or resources to help and that’s where the PA Academy can fit in.

This involves some help from the employer (GP Surgery for example ) where they will release the PA one day a week for an initial period and then learn skills at the academy that will help them function at a higher level once in the workplace.

We include an example of what we have been working on below:

The Proposal

Meducate Academy will:

  • Format the proposed timetable for over 36 weeks.
  • Each session will last 3 hours and will involve the use of 2 Associate Clinical Educators (ACEs) and will cover the most common conditions encountered by Physician Associates in the first 3-6 months of working in a GP setting.
  • Produce an overall timetable outlining the basic schedule followed by a more in-depth breakdown of what we will teach to the PA in each session, including the learning outcomes for each session.

We will cover the following common conditions encountered by PAs in this type of setting which will include:

  • Chronic conditions
  • MSK
  • Diabetes
  • Contraception
  • HRT
  • ENT
  • Headaches and Dizziness
  • Co-Morbid Conditions
  • Triage
  • Telephone consultations
  • Note-taking/Referrals

We would also expect to discuss topics that might be in the public eye, such as changes in NICE Guidelines and Prescribing.

We will prepare this timetable in collaboration with Mr. James Ennis, Clinical Lead of the PA Programme at Chester University, who has over 10 years of experience working as a PA and as an academic teaching PAs.

Objectives

To create an Academy which will provide quality, continued professional development to PA Graduates in their first year of practice.

Achieve consistent 5-star ratings from GPs Practices and Graduates. These will be collated through several review platforms relating to the services offered through the Foundation Academy.

Aims

Create a syllabus of education that supports the PA in their first year in practice.

Develop a mentor/buddy system for each PA.

Create a feedback system that takes information from both GPs and PAs. This will allow for continuous development and improvements within the academy.

Seven Reasons for using Meducate Academy

1. References available from Senior Clinical Professionals.

2. Fully insured.

3. Supported by Prof Jim Parle and James Ennis Clinical Lead at Chester University Medical School.

4. Meducate Academy established in 2018

5. Created an Internal Accreditation and training programme for all the Associate Clinical Educators (ACE).

6. Create links with FPA and RCP regarding accrediting elements of the material for PA accessing CPD points.

7. Currently working alongside Orthopathways, assisting them in the development of software to help GP referral for MSK pathologies.

8. Intended affiliation with MSK groups such as Arthritis, UK.

Programme Outline

2 days in GP practice (or other)–Support offered–GP Educator

2 days at Foundation Academy–Support offered by GP Educators & ACEs (Associate Clinical Educators). This is based on 8 PAs in attendance. A typical day comprises 2 X 3 hr sessions. 

Meducate Academy will create the syllabus. This will be signed off by the relevant clinicians. The syllabus will be based on information supplied by experienced Clinical Leads PAs and the attendees themselves.

We are currently conducting research based on the experiences of PAs who have been working in their chosen speciality for over 5 years. Results from which will help us determine the direction of the proposed course.

We will also collate feedback from the PA students who wish to attend the Academy. This approach will allow us to create a tailor-made programme comprising Student Directed Learning Modules (SDLM) TM.

 Creation of a feedback loop for continuous improvement and development.

 Regular Assessment of students every 3 months over the period of a 12-month timetable.

So, as you can see we have put a lot of effort into developing this model. Naturally, it will be subject to evaluation and ultimately evolution. If you are a clinician who thinks that this might help you with your current group of Physician Associates let us know. Please contact: bobspour@meducateacademy.com. We would love to have a chat and get some of your expert guidance.

Meducate Academy – Five Years Of Providing Student Centered Medical Simulation

Meducate Academy has been providing student centered educational services now for five years. Five exciting years of ups and downs but mostly ups!

When we established the Academy in 2017 the world was a very different place, pre-Covid, when every thing looked brighter. We had established ourselves with two growing University departments. Wolverhampton had only just recommenced their Physician Associate Programme under the leadership of Gill Conde and Pete Gorman. It was going from strength to strength.

Meducate Academy ACES at The University of Chester Medical School
Meducate Academy hard at work at The University of Chester Medical School

Chester University was also using our Associate Clinical Educators across their programme under the guidance of their new Clinical Lead James Ennis. Things were going well and growing rapidly. Who could have guessed what would happen next.

The Pandemic came as something of a surprise to everyone and things started slowing down for most educational institutions. Some closed their doors and didn’t start up again until twelve months had passed and things for us looked bleak.

Simulation means being in front of students. Face to face interaction and hands on physical examinations which were the norm had all but ended for everyone.

Undaunted, we took the bull by the horns and started working online with history taking skills, and even had an attempt to run a pilot of online OSCEs. It was a creative time for us and our partners, and we learned a lot during that period. We adapted and improvised and came up with innovative new ways of teaching online and used a variety of different technologies to further our cause.

Once restrictions began to lift we were back to work but this time in full PPE, taking the students through the preparatory work on systems examinations in preparation for their OSCEs; and it worked. Students were keen to get back into the sessions and Chester and Wolverhampton Universities led the way. Whilst other Institutions were using mannequins, we were back at it. Cardio, respiratory, G.I. Cranial nerves, Neurological, and of course MSK examinations were being practiced almost as normal.

Teaching and support for the students was second to none and we were able to carry on almost as normal. It was for us a good time and now that the situations is getting back to normality we are being approached by a number of institutions to supply Associate Clinical Educators on their Programmes.

In the above video we listen to Bob (Founder and Director of Meducate Academy) and Senior ACE™ Mark Reynolds about what’s been happening and how Meducate Academy is shaping up for the next 5 years.

If you are a Clinical Educator and would like to take advantage of using ACEs as part of your clinical teaching, book now for a free consultation. Contact us via the form below or give us a call on 07870611850. Thanks again for reading this post.

James Ennis On The Use of ACEs & Roleplayers In Clinical Education


Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/ace/public_html/wp-content/plugins/slideshare/slideshare.php on line 162

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/ace/public_html/wp-content/plugins/slideshare/slideshare.php on line 165

 James Ennis Clinical Lead at The University of Chester Physician Associate Programme

James Ennis is currently Clinical Lead at The University of Chester Physician Associate Programme. He has worked with ACEs both as student Physician Associate, and also used ACEs when he was teaching at The University of Birmingham and latterly at Chester University. Here we have an overview of his contribution to the Meducate Academy ACE Online Conference 2021 in an abridged form. If this sparks your interest please watch the attached video and share the link with colleagues and friends.

“Today on the conference, I’m just going to quickly give you an overview of how we use Associate Clinical Educators at Chester University. This was quite a new concept to Chester and as I’ve recently moved from Birmingham up to the area, I decided to bring the Associate Clinical Educator role up with me. We consider the ACEs to be an integral part of the teaching team, and so I’m now going to talk about how we use them and where we use them. I’m going to give you some quotes from our students about their experience in working with ACEs on the course and more importantly a little about simulation and the ACEs themselves.

“I’d like to give you a balanced opinion on the role because there are some perceived threats, in my opinion about the use of ACEs and roleplayers. I want to talk about the future development too at some point. The main point that should come across is that the ACE can give accurate Hi-Fidelity feedback to both the teacher about the student and more importantly to the student themselves.

“Typically a roleplayer is used as a live patient often able to give feedback to the student in terms of their communication skills. The ACE does this and more. They can give  feedback on the physical examination skills themselves, both from the point of view of safety and technique. We’ve kind of gone away from the compartmentalisation of history taking and then  physical examination skills and we have looked at it more as a kind of an integrated model which is how clinicians truly consult. As well as that, we use the ACEs in specialist roles for example intimate examinations.

“We also use the all singing all dancing SIM Man. This is what we would typically think of with regard to high fidelity simulation. Of course we do use the Sim Men as well, particularly for emergency scenarios, but we also use the ACEs as part of a role play that would fit into the scenario and so the communication isn’t lost during the interaction.

“During the pandemic we also had to change the way we worked with ACEs and a lot of the work was carried out online. This also fitted in with the growth of online consultations that are now part of a clinicians responsibility. Of course this is useful for maybe online medication reviews but not for someone presenting with acute abdominal pain.

“To maintain balance of opinion I’ve captured a few of our most recent students/staff liaison minutes from meetings and these  are from our year two students. These are kind of common themes so I’ve just picked a few just to quickly touch on.  Looking at the completely comprehensively positive feedback from from students on the ACEs role and what they give to the student.

“Many students said that they find working with the ACE far less threatening, particularly when making the inevitable mistakes while performing physical examinations, and they were able to refine their technique with the ACE. However, I would like to  mention that it does say that mannequins and other types of simulation may be just as helpful.

“Now, what I would say is, I don’t see the ACE role completely dominating simulation in medical education. It’s very much used as an adjunct and that’s how we now utilise our ACEs. Also  the students obviously get quite twitchy around OSCE season assessment periods. Again, we found the ACE  to be  incredibly helpful, not just for improving students technique and examination skills but also in building their confidence.

“Again, as Professor Jim Parle mentioned previously, the students really responded positively to the ACE role in working on things that they find specifically difficult. One of the things I’d like to highlight is the MSK examinations. It’s one thing that our ACEs really cover in depth with our students. All of our ACEs are heavily trained in MSK examination technique as I’m sure Uzo will talk about in far greater depth in his talk.

“The student feedback has always been positive and more time with ACEs is constantly being requested. This is why we really are so keen on simulation with ACEs.

“I’m sure most of you haven’t used ACEs or simulated patients in any great detail, but you will find that they have had some push back from institutes, mainly because of  the financial burden and restricted budgets. The way we’ve worked around this, is I would far prefer to have the human factor in  simulation than simply by props and Sim Men, sometimes costing up to £80,000. Sim Men have their place, but I would prefer to spend our money towards the use of ACEs. I have  certainly not had any problems from my institute with  getting the financial backing, especially when we keep  getting such excellent feedback.

“We haven’t yet got a great amount of evidence on the  student and patient outcome from such interventions and that’s something I’ll come onto later.

“Another thing, although the ACE is highly trained they are of course not a substitute for a skilled clinician. They are always available to discuss and answer questions of a clinical nature and each supports the other. The ACE and the clinician work as a team.

“So, that’s just a quick overview of where I’m going with my research and I would invite anybody to contact me if they are interested in this subject. I’m constantly monitoring the impact the ACEs have on student performance, and therefore patient outcomes after training. Take a look at the slides I have provided and I am as always interested in any questions you might have.”


Click arrows to view PowerPoint slides of this talk by James Ennis