Physician associates – poster competition success 

This year, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) regional poster competition 2021 launched a programme of 14 poster competitions across all UK regions and nations and welcomed submissions from physician associates (PAs) and PA students.

We’re delighted to announce that a PA student and qualified PA were among the winners and those highly commended.

RCP Eastern regional poster competition 2021

Elizabeth Hickman, FPA student member, was announced the winner of the RCP Eastern regional poster competition after the judges were left extremely impressed by her poster and presentation. Here, Elizabeth shares more of her winning poster submission with us.

Elizabeth HickmanWhat was the topic/theme of your poster?

The title of my submission was ‘Could the use of an age-adjusted D-Dimer reduce the number of unnecessary radiological interventions carried out within the trust?' The study aimed to review the effects of implementing an age-adjusted d-dimer threshold to improve the diagnostic accuracy of VTE’s in patients over 50 years old. In March 2020, NICE updated its VTE guidelines regarding the assessment and management of VTE's in adults. As per the new guidelines, it had been highlighted, that patients aged 50+ should be having an age-adjusted D-dimer threshold calculated to assess their eligibility for radiological interventions. Due to the serious nature of VTE's (venous thromboembolism), and the potential consequences of missing one, I decided to carry out a retrospective study of patients presented to the emergency departments with clinically suspected VTE's. The objective was to assess the safety aspects and cost-effectiveness of the implementation of this new guideline.

It was relieving to find that the use of an age-adjusted threshold could reduce the number of radiological interventions being carried out, whilst improving the specificity of the d-dimer blood test, proving the threshold to be both safe and cost-effective for the trust.

How do you feel about winning and what are your future plans?

As a student PA, I am extremely happy to have been entered into a competition alongside our colleague Doctors. I am thrilled to have ultimately won. This is a great personal achievement and shows the wider healthcare team how PAs are contributing to quality improvement services within the NHS. Upon successful completion of my PA national examinations, I am excited to begin my new role as a PA in ambulatory care.

South West Poster Competition

Beth Norman, FPA qualified PA member is the lead PA at Yeovil District Hospital. Beth was the lead author of her poster, which was highly commended by the judges. Beth shares some insight into her submission with us.

What was the topic/theme of your poster?

Beth Norman

The title of my submission was ‘‘Surprise’ Ward-Based Simulations: a means to increase fidelity and inter-professional engagement?’ Medical emergencies are often unexpected, requiring full participation of each member of the multidisciplinary team (MDT). In situ simulation involves an MDT approach to a scenario that is undertaken in a ward setting, promoting experiential learning, and allowing ‘real-time’ delivery of care. We designed a teaching curriculum of in situ simulation sessions in acute medicine, aimed at all members of the MDT. These sessions covered a range of topics from cardiac arrests to seizures and falls. Some of these sessions were ‘surprise’ in nature so the MDT were unaware a simulation was about to take place. This allowed staff members to manage a simulation on the ward as they would in real life. Feedback from this project was very positive. All staff enjoyed the MDT aspect of the sessions and thrived when undertaking the simulations in their working environment, instead of a simulation suite. Many members of the MDT undertake simulation as part of their training, but these sessions are usually comprised of members from one profession. This is very different from the reality of working as a member of the MDT and how an emergency is managed. 

The sessions usually take place in a dedicated simulation centre, which is different from the busy environment of the ward. Due to Covid-19, most of our trust teaching sessions had been postponed and all mandatory training had moved to an online platform. These sessions were developed in response to all the above, with the aim of creating a simulation curriculum that increased fidelity and inter-professional engagement. I am, proud that we achieved this goal.

How do you feel about winning and what are your future plans?

I’m very proud of this project and for being highly commended by the RCP. I would like to thank Dr Helen Yandell and Dr Sarah Waters, associate specialists in acute medicine, and Leigh Beard and Gustavo Gomez, from the medical education team at Yeovil District Hospital for their hard work. We have continued this project in acute medicine at YDH and plan to roll this out to other wards in the trust.

While the RCP regional poster competition has now closed, the FPA virtual annual conference is now inviting abstract submissions from FPA members. Abstracts can be related to any topic, including projects, clinical practice, patient care, and research. Entries from qualified PAs and PA students are welcomed.

To submit your abstract, visit the FPA annual virtual conference website, which will be available soon. The deadline for submission is Sunday 31 October 2021. Successful applicants will then be invited to the next stage – submitting a poster.