I’m Jamie Saunders and I live in Essex in the East of England. I’m a Physician Associate (PA) working in clinical haematology in central London.
Prior to this I was a Diagnostic Radiographer and specialised in interventional cardiology. I worked as part of the cardiac catheter lab team treating patients with coronary artery disease and complex cardiac electrophysiological arrhythmias. I also participated on the primary percutaneous coronary intervention, better known as PPCI, on-call team which treats patients suffering from STEMI, as well as out of hospital cardiac arrests (usually abbreviated OOHCA).
It was here that one of the Consultants suggested to me the idea of medicine. I had toyed with the idea of medicine a few times, but I couldn’t bring myself to 1. study a further 4-5 years and 2. work as an FY doctor, where you are placed in specialities without a choice (and I’m not the kind of person who enjoys life when it’s not something I’m particularly passionate about).
So instead of MBBS, they suggested to me that I might pursue a career as a PA. Initially I was sceptical about the role - no regulation, not a doctor, not a nurse, something inbetween. I believed that they were only there to complete discharge summaries and run around for doctors doing their admin and such things. But after some researching on the internet and talking to some already qualified PAs, I soon saw how amazing the role was (and how needed it was within the NHS).
I embarked on the 2 year MSc programme, studying in my home county of Essex. It was a tough and gruelling 2 years, possibly the hardest 2 years of my life to be honest with you. But I persisted and finally completed my course in the summer of 2017. All PAs have to pass the UK PA National Certification Examination, which is independent of the university you studied at and by some grace, I passed with flying colours in September 2017.
I was amazingly lucky enough to secure a position as PA in clinical haematology and have been working at a tertiary London teaching hospital since November 2017. I work as part of the haemato-oncology team, treating and managing patients with:
- Acute and chronic leukaemia
- Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Multiple Myeloma
I am also involved with the day to day care of general haematology patients admitted under us, which involves everything from immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) to thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP).
Well, I’ve rambled on for long enough and you know a bit about me. I’m always really happy to talk to anyone who is interested in becoming a PA, or those of you who are student/qualified PAs of course.
Best wishes, Jamie!