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9 Comments

  1. 1

    Raymond Bange

    While I am supportive of the potential role of Physician Assistants and speaking as a former senior academic who has battled with budgetary constraints and course funding issues, I must agree with Kim Webber.

    It is always a challenge to mount a new or modified course program in the face of existing demands and I applaud those who have the foresight and fortitude to drive change and innovation in health care and other fields.

    Reply
  2. 2

    Paul Roberts PA-S

    As a student of the program I cannot help but be disappointed – its a normal reaction. But looking beyond the emotive personal aspect, one has to ask why?
    Why now? The timing seems rather unusual with the Health Workforce Australia report not out yet and the first group about to finish and be looking for positions. It is too coincidental to not be a coincidence.
    Fiscal constraints are an ongoing serious issue for the university community, and unfortunately always will be. But other universities are commencing courses, they see it as a viable course.

    As for myself, how do I see the role of a PA? It is one that is almost self explanatory by its title – Physicians Assistant.
    It is the position of supporting a medical officer, of allowing that physician to time manage and to ‘work up to licence’.
    It allows medical practices to be more productive and have greater patient satisfaction, better outcomes and fiscal return.
    It does not undermine nursing roles – it is entirely different. The PA is a dependent role, and Nurse Practitioners are independent.
    Many of my fellow students are nurses – the PA role is a different avenue for them to pursue.
    As even the initials suggest – PA is a personal assistant, but as a medical model. Just as CEO’s perform to their capacity only with a good Personal Assistant, this is how I envisage a Physician Assistant will function and support their doctor.
    With as little as 20 students requiring clinical learning placements each year from UQ, its hardly a case of large numbers swamping the system. So the AMSA position somewhat confuses me. We are not a large number.
    And as more doctors qualify, we can assist their practices to flourish and grow. Assist them to succeed and provide more services to the public.
    The general profile of my class mates are mature adults with extensive & diverse clinical backgrounds. We are certainly not a threat to young new students first entering university. Again, there is not a large amount of us.

    It is certainly my intention to practice rurally, as this is where I see that I can make the greatest benefit. And it’s where I want to be. At my age of years and medical service, I am looking for a community appreciation and thus job satisfaction. I fail to see how I am jeopardising anyones learning path, post graduate career, or independent practitioner rights. It is unfortunate but I believe that Dr Webber is correct. Australian medicine is conservative in its culture and change will be hard. But hopefully evidence and patient care will prevail.

    Reply
  3. 3

    0mitch0

    I too am a PA student in Australia and this recent information does raise anxiety about the future. I personally do not feel this spells the end for the development of this profession and that this hurdle has been the experience of our colleagues (PA’s) overseas, with the inception of their respective programs.

    My motivations for completing this program have always been to work in a collaborative team of healthcare professionals to provide healthcare to the Australian people.

    I applaud UQ for pioneering the program in Australia and the other universities for taking the reins in training PA’s into future.

    Reply
  4. 4

    dcgnr

    I am a PA-S about to graduate and have found employment.

    I have nearly finished a year of clinical rotations in Townsville and have seen ample examples of where my employment would not only de-load an already busy health care provider, but also free up time for that provider to contribute to education of interns and medical students.

    The chief difference of a PA working for a doctor and an intern to rotate with them, is the doctor has no obligation to continue our education any further than what is necessary to assist in our work. The intern however is in that rotation to continue their education to progress into their chosen specialties. These are not conflicting roles but complementary ones.

    By not supporting the PA role in Australia UQ leadership has shown a short sightedness, as we will be facilitating the education of future doctors and not be in competition.

    I am currently in the US as a PA-S and being supervised by a PA. Lightening the load for the doctors in the ED by seeing the lower categorised patients.
    This is a medical model that is proven to work and UQ has proven that they are no longer the recognised or preferred university they used to be.

    JCU will lead the way and continue to champion the cause of rural Queensland.

    Deb O’Kane

    Reply
  5. 5

    Rod Hooker

    In who’s best interest has UQ served by closing down their PA program? I can’t help but wonder how Australian will train all the doctors they need for their population in the next 20 years. With doctor shortages looming both in Australia and worldwide, will the medical establishment keep inviting overseas trained doctors to fill their ranks? Such brain drain activity of taking a country’s best and brightest and bringing them to Australia is unpopular domestically and robs the exporting country of its intellectual investment. The PA development was Australia’s nobel effort to do something proven and meaningful for its citizens. Perhaps those citizens who voted against Australian having their own PAs should weigh in instead of medical students.

    Reply

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