Intended for healthcare professionals

Student Meet the Multidisciplinary Team

Jeannine Watkins is a physician associate

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 16 October 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m3858
  1. Declan C Murphy, academic foundation year 2 doctor12,
  2. Anna Harvey, BMJ editorial scholar3
  1. 1Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  2. 2Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3London
  1. Correspondence to: D C Murphy murphy.declan.1994{at}

Jeannine Watkins, a physician associate in London, explains what her job involves

What is a physician associate anyway?

Physician associates are healthcare professionals who are trained as medical generalists. The role was first introduced in the United Kingdom in 2003, with the first UK physician associates graduating in 2007.

“Our main role is to support the medical team and redistribute the workload to improve team flexibility, skill mix, and patient care,” says Watkins, continuing, “we enable the workload to be shared appropriately within the team and help to ensure that healthcare professionals are involved in relevant tasks related to their clinical competency and experience.”

And how are physician associates different from doctors?

Physician associates provide continuity in a clinical area where junior doctors often rotate for training. “We bring stability to the team,” says Watkins. The benefit of a physician associate to a team is that …

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